July 25, 2014

Brooklyn’s First Carnegie Branch Gets a Reprieve, but Fate Remains Murky

The Pacific Library Branch of the Brooklyn Public Library (photo by Norman Oder)

The Brooklyn Public Library’s (BPL) first Carnegie Library, the Pacific Branch, has been spared from sale and demolition after all—but perhaps only for a brief while. Then again, new political leadership in the city may make a difference, regarding not only this building but libraries in general. Council Member Letitia James, who represents the area […]

For Brooklyn PL, Planned Sale of Branches Promises Opportunity, Provokes Concern

Liu at rally

BPL, one of three systems in New York City and the country’s fifth-largest library (by population served), has suffered consistent underfunding of capital needs, with its 59 locations facing a $230 million backlog of deferred maintenance, barely dented by the $15 million annual allotment of capital funding.

Their solution: sell two aging libraries that occupy valuable land, and work with real estate developers to include libraries in residential towers. It’s not uncommon for urban libraries to consider mixed-use buildings, though few face the real estate froth characteristic in Brooklyn.

NYPL, Brooklyn Merge Technical Services

NYPL automated sorter

The New York Public Library (NYPL) and Brooklyn Public Library (BPL) will integrate their tech services departments, the libraries announced last week, saving BPL $2 million per year and NYPL about $1.5 million.