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one of the strongest issues to arise from the raid is the treatment of the 5,000-volume People's Library housed at the park. The Bloomberg administration originally claimed that the library was intact and ready to be reclaimed, but that assertion has unraveled, and it now appears that the self-proclaimed free-speech mayor is in the awkward position of having presided over the destruction of thousands of books.
For many, the People's Library was one of the most remarkable institutions to arise from the occupation of Zuccotti Park. Its generous lending policy and catholic scope -- George Orwell shared space with Ayn Rand and J.K. Rowling -- made it one of the most tangible symbols of the sort of collaborative, open-source movement the occupiers were trying to build.
Librarians, like the other occupiers, were given only 15 minutes notice before the eviction, and so didn't have time to remove the library. At the press conference, they told of rebuilding their library with new donations after the eviction -- only to have their new collection taken by police again, the books placed in the trash and smeared with old food.
Instead of cash damages, the librarians are asking the city to replace books that have been lost or damaged. They're also asking for a promise that this sort of destruction of a working library will never happen again. Thirdly, and perhaps the greatest stretch, they're asking the city to provide a space for the library going forward.