A Closer Look at Two Threatened Libraries

As we reported yesterday, the City has agreed not to sell the Pacific branch of the Brooklyn Public Library to developers and move the branch into the BAM South apartment building Two Trees is putting up in Fort Greene. The New York Times took a closer look at the fate of that library and the Brooklyn Heights branch that is also threatened with a sale to developers. “It has become clear that the neighborhood highly values that branch and its historic building,” a spokesman for the library told the Times in a statement. “B.P.L. is committed to working with elected officials and community stakeholders to develop an appropriate plan for the Pacific Street building through an open community process. The plan will acknowledge the needs of the library and the community. This plan could include maintaining some or all of the Pacific Street building and continuing to provide library service and programming for children in the community.” It is still possible that in the future the library could be sold and demolished, but thanks to the new agreement, the City Council would have to approve it. Another possibility is that the library could be gutted while leaving the facade intact. The building is the first Carnegie library built in Brooklyn. Meanwhile, over in Brooklyn Heights, the library still plans to sell its Cadman Plaza branch, which is only 52 years old, to a private developer. The plan calls for the developer to include a library in any residential tower.
A Deal Spares a Brooklyn Library, for Now [NY Times]
City Council Gives Thumbs up to BAM South [Brownstoner]
Brooklyn Library Testing Ground for New Funding Model [Brownstoner]

5 Comment

  • it’s always the most interesting buildings that are slated for demolition. When one thinks of the thousands of crap buildings in the Boro that no one would miss it is ironic that these two libraries, beautiful and interesting in their own ways, are the ones chosen to vanish. Oh well.

  • The BPL statement, if looked at carefully, doesn’t really say anything new – and is chock full of escape clauses. In the Heights, their idea of an “open community process” is a hand-picked group of “friends of the library” who have been selected because of their support of the BPL plans to sell the Heights Library. And the still necessary approval process (through ULURP) would be in place regardless of the recent “agreement”.
    People who want to support the Pacific Branch can go to http://www.savethepacificbranch.org for ideas about what they can do right now. Nobody who supports the Pacific Branch is breaking out the champagne just yet. An amazing number of local residents still have no idea about the BPL plans – it is important to keep the pressure on local officials and the BPL so the community value of the stays “clear” to them.

  • Thanks for covering this story.

  • This plan is still a pig, no matter how much lipstick they try to camouflage it with. The plan, basically, is to sell off public property for some quick bucks. And who would hire a librarian to negotiate money matters with a ‘developer’? This is a poorly planned give away by hungry library reps who are not creatively looking for workable alternatives to simply selling out our heritage for a mess of pottage. The first choice is to make sure the public’s stake in these properties is strongly defended. Right now that is not at all clear.

    • Actually, rather than the present situation, I think I would prefer if librarians were the one negotiating with the developers. Librarians care about books and libraries and have something they believe in to defend. Instead, it is newly anointed “library” strategy staff that has come over from the Mayor’s EDC. . . in other words the developers are negotiating with their own hand-picked representatives working in collusion to make sweet real estate deals. The new “library” officials are really just running what is becoming essentially a real estate company.