Brooklyn Heights Public Library Going For Broke: Closing? Relocating? Selling?

As part of a systemwide shakeup, the Brooklyn Public Library has announced that branches will be moving, downsizing and/or consolidating, as the system shifts to digital media and services.

Among the targets is Brooklyn Heights’ Cadman Plaza branch, according to a report late Tuesday in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. It is confirmed that the branch’s business library will abandon the borough’s Downtown business district, while the Brooklyn Heights branch will be temporarily relocated (at the least)—while the building they share may be sold to a developer.

Library spokesperson Jason Carey told the Eagle’s Mary Frost:

“The Brooklyn Heights/Business Library branch has become extremely costly to maintain and difficult to operate. In fact, last summer we were forced to close the branch entirely or early on 30 different days (because of its kaput air-conditioning system). All told the branch is in need of $9 million for repairs, funding we do not currently have given our limited capital budget for work throughout the borough.”

Carey says the library is considering “whether it would make sense to work with a developer on a project that would include a new library at this location,” while “any project would involve an interim service location during construction.”

Further, a “library insider” told the Eagle that the city-owned two-story library building would likely be sold by 2017 “to a developer who will put a library on the first floor.” (Photo: BDE)

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  • Teddy

    First newspapers & magazines, now libraries, the latest victim of the digital age. Oh well, you can’t beat the convenience of the living room couch.

  • anony

    yo, that library is NASTY. it’s not a regular neighborhood library – have you seen how filthy it is? what people do to/in that facility? no thanks, i’ll buy and sell books on amazon.

  • Militant Vegetarian

    The Brooklyn Heights Public Library is a good library, with high-quality new acquisitions, and any disruption of service constitutes a real loss to the community. It cannot be overestimated — simple reading and writing skills are best enhanced with actual books. Leave it to modern society to “prioritize” in all the wrong directions. Anyway I hope the new “developer” really does include a library on the ground floor of the proposed new construction. Still, it seems a waste to cause all of this upheaval, as “developers” are paving over the entire planet, entombing a once-living Earth under our very feet.

  • epc

    That lot is just about the right size for a high–rise luxury condo building, with a smaller but building–subsidized library in its base.

  • Wiley E.

    Looks about the right size for another CVS pharmacy.

  • AnnOfOrange

    The Center for an Urban Future: Branches of Opportunity, a just released report states:
    New York City’s public libraries are serving more people in more ways than ever before, and have become an increasingly critical part of the city’s human capital system; but they have been undervalued by policymakers and face growing threats in today’s digital age. As reported on WNYC, overall library use in NYC is up 59%. The libraries where use is down are those in poor physical condition or not located conveniently. Bloggers who care should express their support directly to the Brooklyn Public Library at Grand Army Plaza.

    The full report can be downloaded as a pdf:

  • Brooklyn Girl

    The place is nasty. A new library would be fantastic. I used to take my kids there, but the children’s room is overrun with lazy nannies ignoring their charges and completely disregarding the rules – diapers changed on tables, food everywhere. It’s horrible.

  • Emily

    I love to read and can’t afford to buy books every time I want a new one…I use this library almost every week…what are people in this area supposed to do now?

  • WillowNabe

    I have to agree with Brooklyn Girl. The place is a dump. Since when has it been OK for children to run screaming through a library?
    I love libraries and used to go several times a week. Now I order my books online. The problem is there are not enough of the “new” books and sometimes it takes 3-4 months to get a book.
    I have used libraries on Long Island, Providence, RI and Brooklyn and this is by far the absolutely worst.

  • WillowNabe

    Sorry, should read absolute worst!

  • PS 8 parent

    I’ll miss this branch, especially the children’s room. But the building is obviously in terrible shape. Brooklyn Heights needs a new library branch as well as an interim location while a new branch is being constructed.

  • NYLADY156

    This is a great library for me. I take the train from Wall Street pick up a book, sit for a half hour and head back to work in Manhattan. I will be sorry to see it go. Unfortunately New York City consistently does a lousy job of maintaining facilities.

  • HenryLoL

    It is the WORST library I have ever been in. It is just amazing how city-run organizations are always hellish.

  • Martin L

    I’m a regular user. I, too, have been upset by the lax enforcement of regular library rules: abuse of the children’s library; sleepers at the work tables; homeless folks complete with smelly carts dominating other tables. Not to mention the apparent need for crummy signs saying “NO CARD PLAYING.”
    But let’s not kill this valuable service when what’s needed is a modernized library facility with more computers, more constraints on the customers and, of course, repair and replacement of the outdated HVAC systems.
    Looking past the obvious offenders, it is still clear that many serious folks from the projects are using the computers to do homework, job related stuff, job hunting. They, of course, will lose the most while unimaginative library leadership looks for and finds a quick money fix from a developer.
    So, unless there’s a large-scale, coordinated push-back from dedicated public library believers and those who depend on the free services, here comes another sky-robbing, money-making, huge condo for Walentas, Zell, or their ilk.
    We are looking at the self-suffocation of over-development not progress for free libraries, Brooklyn or the City.

  • Carlotta

    If the personnel would control the kids and not allow hanging out at the library, the room wouldn’t be a dump.
    I order books from the library online and pick them up at the Cadman Plaza branch and never have to wait long for them. I’d hate to see this neighborhood without a fully functional library. Moving into the digital age does not have to mean forsaking books.

  • Carlotta

    @Martin L

    How do we start this push back? I’m in.

  • Gerry

    @ WillowNabe – I had graduated from Boston College and the London School of Economics.

  • brklynmind

    I haven’t been in that Branch in some time but I don’t really understand how this Branch could turn ‘nasty’ and disgusting in such a short time. The Branch was closed for years in the early 90’s for years while the entire thing was redone. And since that makeover (probably completed circa 1996) the building had many periods of limited hours.
    I just don’t get it.

  • Gerry

    This library has become a dump.

    Twen years ago before Internet it had been used more by business and industry in the area the weak economy and changing times with technology have not helped the Cadman library.

    We would like to see a new library and middle school built on this site and have spoken to a few dignitaries and officals about an idea for this.

    Families with young children are forced to make a decision when PS 8 is completed private school or the suburbs.

    I have my oldest son on the waiting list for Fairfeild County Day School in FFD, Connecticut in the likely event no middle school is built.

    This would be a good location for a new school and library

  • Moni

    It’s a disgrace that our neighborhood doesn’t have a decent library and I have to agree that the one we have is nasty. However, the answer isn’t to simply order books online. I also agree with Martin L that a good library facility is desperately needed for people who need to peacefully reead, study, research, write, job hunt or whatever in reasonable comfort and privacy. I hope an improved facility emerges, and maybe some of us might think of volunteering to help manage such a library better than it’s being managed now.

  • WillowNabe

    So, are you moving???

  • Gerry

    @ WillowNabe – we think about that move all the time and look at homes in Farifeild County often maybe when the right situation comes up we will move up near Westport, CT.

    You missed a few blog posts we have had this idea brewing for over a year now.

  • Gerry

    @ Moni – agreed its a disgrace.

  • Andrew Porter

    GenryLoL: The Brooklyn Public Library is NOT a “city-run organization”, any more than the YMCA is.

  • stuart

    Is this where the a.c. never works and someone was stabbed while watching porn on a library computer? sounds charming. The site is very valuable. A new residential building would be ideal there, perhaps with a new state of the art library on the ground floor?
    Brooklyn Heights is uniquely endowed with great mass transit connections. This is where residential density should be maximized. this site should be better utilized. This is not 1959. Young people actually want to live in Brooklyn now, and this would be an ideal site to accommodate apartments, increase the tax base, and benefit everyone. Density is not something to be feared. It is a good thing. Desolation is what should be feared. Many U.S. cities are proof of that.

  • Gerry

    @ Andrew Porter thats HenryLOL and NOT genryLOL get with the program wake up and smell the coffee I swear some people…..

  • Wiley E.

    k-stuart. Enough already. Take a hike. You are not the solution, but the problem with today’s Brooklyn. Too many obnoxious, selfish people stealing the community’s air, sunlight and services. Schools are overcrowded, libraries are underfunded, police are understaffed, hospitals services are overwhelmed – because real estate developers don’t pay community taxes. New residents are depleting the community’s fabric.

  • Gerry

    @ Wiley – obnoxious, selfish people in Brooklyn?

    We need these people.

    It had been the mass exodus to the suburbs in the 1950s that created the problems that Brooklyn has recovered from in the last decade.

    If a residential building did go up here (we feel it should be a middle school and public library) it would be VERY easy for the tenants to get a cab to Manhattan 24/7 you can get a cab on Clinton Street.

  • j

    Oh no! Where will all the homeless people go to masturbate?

  • HenryLoL

    Um, yes it is. In a sense. It’s a non-profit, but funded by City and State. Also private donors — but clearly not enough of them. Anything the City touches is garbage.