Community Group Continues Robust Push Against Cadman Plaza Library Closure

Citizens Defending Libraries, the Brooklyn Heights-based organization formed to oppose the sale and potential destruction of the Cadman Plaza building, continues to communicate its message in the community. On Saturday, the group was out in force in front of the branch, encouraging locals to sign its ongoing petition (8,300 signatures to date, with a goal of 10,000); and on Sunday, it hosted a “Progressive Community Building Event” to continue building momentum and discuss strategies.

Group Organizer Carolyn McIntyre writes, “News is surfing about more libraries being closed and sold off. We need to make NYPL and BPL accountable and let them know the libraries need to stay public, for ALL people! Help us get the word out and protect our most trusted public resource.”

She adds on CDL’s webbie, “It is deeply troubling that our public library systems are on the front line of every budget fight. Libraries are the lifeblood of our communities and are an increasingly rare public space. Every year, we must fight to ensure that library hours and services are not reduced. Libraries are a beacon for young people, immigrants, seniors and business in our communities.”

Councilwoman Letitia James and a representative of State Sen. Velmanette Montgomery have both participated in the group’s meetings. For more information, email Backpack362@aol.com.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/michaeldd.white Michael D D White

    Steve Levin was at tonight’s meeting and our representatives have also met with other elected representatives including John Liu and Senator Perkins and we are in the midst of scheduling a meeting with the Brooklyn Borough President’s office. We have well over 8,500 signatures on our petition (with signatures on line and also hard copy).

  • HenryLoL

    This is absurd. Most people do not even know what they are signing… This library is dirty, discusting, and is a holding pen for homless. I dont know a soul that would bring their kids there — or go there themselves. Housing on CPW is a good thing and a brand new – and more manageable – library will play host to the people in the BH community. We have to move forward, people.

  • ltap917

    I will be leaving Brooklyn Heights in a few weeks as we are retiring out of state. I did a lot of research into the towns that we were thinking of moving to. One of the most important things for me was close proximity to a library and a hospital. It seems as though BH will be losing both. I use the library regularly. As for LICH, unfortunately I was in the ER twice in the last 5 months and I was most grateful that they were there.
    A new library will not remedy the homeless situation that you refer to.
    The library on Cadman Plaza does not seem to cater exclusively to the people of Brooklyn Heights as people come from all over to use it. The nannies bring the kids to the library every single day. The parents of these children might not take them to the library but that certainly does not stop the nannies from doing so!

  • martinlbrooklyn

    There were three excellent letters in the NYTimes on Saturday, all of which criticized the BPL sell off. There should be a link to the NYTimes on the BHB.
    Meanwhile, the vicious complaints about the condition of the library should be directed at the forces which shrunk the budget of the Branch. Less money means less security and more mechanical problems. The cure is not to sell off and tear down the otherwise fine public building; the cure is to bring the budget back up so that this valuable community resource can be maintained at a proper level.

  • Reggie

    It seems to me disingenuous for CDL and BHB to imply that there are 8,300 signatures in opposition to what BPL proposes for the branch library. The petition statement is very general, essentially, ‘Do you support libraries.’

  • Jonathan

    Actually Reggie, the Citizens Defending Libraries petition [http://signon.org/sign/save-new-york-city-libraries?source=c.em.mt&r_by=6817161] is *very* specific in opposing the insider real estate deal planned for the Cadman Plaza library building [and others], while proposing policy reforms that protect the public interest:

    [Headline]
    Save New York City Libraries From Bloomberg Developer Destruction

    [Excerpts]
    Bloomberg’s plan would … demolish [the] Brooklyn Heights Art Deco style building, housing 62,000 square feet of library space replacing it with only 15,000 square feet of space in a developer’s high rise. The removal of the Brooklyn Business Library from Brooklyn’s central business district in downtown
    Brooklyn, the hub of commerce, transportation, and next to universities is a travesty…

    We need to immediately halt real estate deals that involve selling any more branches to private developers until the libraries have been properly funded and until the needs of the public’s library system are the first priority.

    … There should be no elimination … of the Business and Career Center Library on the border of Brooklyn Heights and downtown Brooklyn.

    There should be no premature library closings … Any library closing should have a binding contract for its prompt replacement with solid assurances, including full up-front payments and financing in place…

  • Marsha Rimler

    Dear Neighbors:
    As we begin to celebrate holy week and passover I suggest that everyone of us realize what this is all
    about . It is about OPPORTTUNITY. As a youngster growing up on the Lower East Side my mother developed her love of books at the East Broadway Library. As a child growing up in Queens and attending public shools I loved the stamp club I joined at the Sunnyside Library. Still living in Queens I spent hours at the Donnell Library on my way home from CCNY. New York City gave me an outstanding free education through its schools and libraries. Others deserve the same OPPORTUNITY,
    This morning instead of sitting at my desk I took my desk to the library and spent 2 hours there. It is a very busy place but it is not a place of Brooklyn Heights. Most of the consumers were of Brooklyn . The library serves a large # of real Brooklynites.
    My question is why are they not represented in the Advisory Committee chared by Josh and Debrah?
    One day this will become a civil rights issue and If this is not corrected it will go to court..The BHA and the Friends of the Library (a BPL affiliate) have suspect no more than 2000 members between them. How is it that they sit at the table and not other? An audit of library users needs to take place so that all are represented not just the elite or well connected or elite wannabes.
    I suggest that each and every member of the BHA and BPl board find there way to the library and observe the actiivites.
    To move the Business Library from downtown makes no sense when we are trying to train citizens to open their own businesses and feel employment in a new technological era.
    I am sure their children have access to libraries at one of our fine private schools- two St ann’s and Packer within walking distance of the BPL. Another institution that I do not understand is the Brooklyn Historical Society which keeps getting Public monies to renovate its space. It a a mysterious nonprofit (usually empty) with an elite Brooklyn Heights Board. Why has this institution recieved public funds for upgrades while the library is falling apart. I do not understand why members of this group want to downsize the public facility while their small (almost private) non profit get funding.
    Something is wrong with this picture.
    All New Yorkers deserve library services that help them grow professionally and intellectually.
    As you celebrate this week think of the less fortunate and how downsizing and destroying the public library stytem affects them.
    I urge the BHA and Friends of the BPL-Brooklyn Heights Library to rethink their positions.
    A compromise is in the works. Keep an open mind and do not let yourself be bullies by that Josh character who takes orders from the Mayors office.

  • Marsha Rimler

    Sorry for the typos I was never a good typist

  • Reggie

    Jonathan, I make a distinction between the “petition statement” and the “petition background,” but thanks for the feedback.

  • Carlotta

    To Henry LOL – I took my children and now my grandchild to the Cadman Library. It could use upgrades but that’s not a reason to tear it down and build another high end condo. Throwing out everything seems to be the way we live. Let’s just step back a minute and think about what we will actually be losing without a library in our midst. The plan for a new library may never come to fruition -regardless of what any real estate developer promises. History proves that.

  • jen

    lol, so funny how many of the folks opposed to the sale most likely don’t even use it in the first place but rather are reacting out of emotion and not logic. It’s 2013!! the vast majority of folks have access to the internet at home and devices like the kindle where so much reading is done today. tons of books can be read for free. the BHL is basically a place for nannies to congregate and homeless folks to surf the internet.

  • marsha

    I was there yesterday and it was busy with library users

  • MonroeOrange

    Jen…the library has many articles and past research that is not available on the internet. While I agree, we on this blog do react out of emotion (always). The library does serve a function more than allowing nannies and homeless people to congregate. I hope that it is actually rebuilt in the new building.

  • Jonathan

    Reggie, the petition statement explicitly connects the Bloomberg administration’s deliberate de-funding of the library system with its scheme to create real estate deals for wealthy cronies by selling off libraries. That’s neither vague nor disingenuous.

  • Reggie

    Jonathan, what I find disingenuous is equating the signing on to the general, pro-library petition statement as opposition to this particular proposal. And I think the causality in your immediately previous statement is speculative at best.

  • Andrew Porter

    Hey, Chuck, using loaded words like “continues to peddle its message” is in the best traditions of yellow journalism. Homer, do you ever exercise editorial oversight, or can Chuck just say any darned thing he feels like?

  • Jonathan

    Reggie, I agree that BHB’s characterization of CDL’s mission is erroneous. In fact, Citizens Defending Libraries is addressing the whole library system, not just the Cadman Plaza library property. If you’re skeptical of the chain of causality connecting de-funding of libraries and insider real-estate deals, how about offering your own explanation and opinion. Do you approve of these sales? Do you believe we need real oversight, full transparency and ironclad contracts? Or should the developers dictate the terms in secret, as they usually do? FYI, we just learned today that Forest City Ratner will likely postpone building over the MTA railyards until long after their originally promised 10-year build-out of Atlantic Yards. And they might renege completely, worsening the developer-induced blight resulting from a developer-dictated insider deal. Given the likelihood that FCR is the city’s favored candidate for the Cadman Plaza property (directly adjacent to FCR’s own One Pierrepont Plaza), shouldn’t they now be disqualified owing to their record of dishonesty and betrayal of the public trust? See: http://www.atlanticyardsreport.blogspot.com/2013/03/forest-city-re-interprets-atlantic.html