BK Public Library CEO Promises New Cadman Plaza Branch Would Be ‘Patron-Pleasing’

Brooklyn Public Library CEO Linda Johnson is taking opponents to task by promising that a potential replacement branch for Brooklyn Heights’ ailing Cadman Plaza Library will be “a light-filled facility full of patron-pleasing technology.”

The New York Daily News reported last week that the proposed smaller facility—with 15,000sf, about half the size of the current branch—would be “better appointed and more conducive to the kind of learning we’re doing today,” according to Johnson. “We hope people’s objections are going to disappear when they have a better experience” in the new library.

The smaller branch is part of a plan announced in February to sell the city-owned building to a private developer who will demolish the 50-year-old facility and construct an apartment tower with a library branch inside. Nearly 8,000 opponents have signed petitions objecting to the library’s fate put into the hands of a private developer.

Its sale is expected to raise as much as $100 million for Brooklyn Public Library, which faces $230 million in repairs throughout its 60-library system. The new Brooklyn Heights branch would be built in about four years, pending City Council approval and a public bidding process to sell the property. The building, constructed in 1962, was last renovated 20 years ago.

A new Heights library will be an open space with few walls, Johnson says, with “space that’s flexible to accommodate new technology we don’t even know about. It will have space for community gatherings, spots where patrons can work together—and room for the branch’s book, DVD and film collections.” Serving neighborhood kids and seniors will also be a top priority.

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  • gc

    Looks like we are losing both a library and a hospital so that the underlying institutions (BPL and SUNY) can generate $$ from the real estate sales.

    What can we do to protect these vital community resources from these scavenger tactics?

  • Andrew Porter

    The Daily News reported that our branch will be open only 8am to 1pm Monday – Friday, due to the failed A/C and expected summer heat. See:


  • Eric

    “Nearly 8,000 opponents have signed petitions objecting to the library’s fate put into the hands of a private developer.”

    Anyone know where I can find the petition?

  • lauren

    Thanks for the link, Andrew. While I understand that they need to protect the well-being of employees and patrons from the heat, it is unfortunate that the new hours will be so limited. For people who work or have other commitments during the day, it will be difficult, if not impossible, to get to the library during the new hours this summer. As a very regular patron, I’m dismayed to learn this. Does anyone know if they will operate the book mobile again during other hours?

  • lauren

    Eric, I believe the petition is at the bottom of the page on this site: http://citizensdefendinglibraries.blogspot.com/2013/02/action-steps-you-can-take-including.html

  • bb

    Don’t we have any local politicians willing to help us save these two vital resources?

  • HenryLoL

    8000 signatures… What BS. What a fake. So sick of all the wanna-be, wish it were 1968ers… You could not find 800 people who think this library is good for the community. There is a reason why westchester and long island libraries are so nice — they are not run by NYC.

  • carlotta

    I’m curious to know how Ms. Johnson has specific information about how the new Cadman Plaza library will fit into the proposed new building when ostensibly there has not even been a “bidding process” of the building. Brooklyn Heights has four high end condos and possibly a fifth rising up with, as far as I know, no new schools in the area. With space extremely limited, especially in the public school, will the children in this proposed high rise be home schooled? Are we to lie down as the real estate moguls of NYC take over our communities with their ideas of “the kind of learning we do today”? Help up prevent our library from closing. Help us receive funding due to our libraries so that our Brooklyn branches can continue to foster learning in all it’s approaches to our community. Join us Friday http://pol.moveon.org/event/progressiveaction/137618

  • PS 8 parent

    I don’t want “patron-pleasing technology.” Well, except for air-conditioning. What I want is books and reasonably functioning computers with which to access the card catalog. And space to sit and work with the books, and more space for a children’s book collection so I can bring my kid with me sometimes.

  • MonroeOrange

    HenryLol…nothing fake about it…some of us actually care about our community and resources with in it….even if you don’t

  • lil mama

    You’re not losing the library, there will be a new one built. the building is old and needs major renovation.

  • lil mama

    Sorry to say, you’re one in a million. Technology is needed. Amd the building needs serious repairs

  • lil mama

    Its a possibility, Staff has to agree on it

  • lil mama

    no book mobile this year!!!! Honestly

  • lil mama

    no book mobile this summer

  • Moni

    People who think a library is unnecessary amaze me. People who think that a library’s “technology” is more important than books are just plain stupid. Serious scholars need books, as do folk who read for pleasure. Saying we don’t need libraries is like saying we don’t need museums. Maybe next we will opt for online museums where we can view merely pictures of art & artifacts. Maybe we can do without all that floor space at MOMA or the MMA, sell most of it off to condo developers, but of course retain some space for a few special exhibits and lots of dandy computer rooms.

  • maestro

    I like the readings. Will the “community gatherings” include those?

  • Andrew Porter

    Most of BH consists of “old” buildings. Isn’t that the whole point of the neighborhood?

  • gc

    How long will we be without a library if they close the old one and start work on a new one (months, years)??

  • sue

    The board of the brooklyn public library needs to be fired.

    The bureaucrats are working to protect their inflated salaries not our library. Lets start a movement to throw out the board and their flunkies

  • mykel

    interesting. no one seems to know or they’re not saying.

  • Lori

    Really old buildings were built better and last longer; those built during the time the library building was built are not worth saving.

  • phinatti

    That’s refreshing. It’s the worst branch in all of NYC. Poorly run, poorly ventilated. Smells like homelessness and third world people chronically on the phone. Just a disgrace.