A BHB tipster sent us this memo from Brooklyn Public Library president Linda Johnson. In it, she says that they’ll be sharing the details from their RFP earlier this year for a new building at its current Cadman Plaza location that would house a new library (and condos) soon.
Here’s the full memo –
December 3, 2013
Dear BPL Patron,
The recent reopening of the last of our hurricane-damaged branches was a strong reminder of the critical role Brooklyn Public Library (BPL) plays in our lives, whether we live in Coney Island, Red Hook or Brooklyn Heights. Libraries today are more vital to our communities than ever, but they can only serve that role if they continue to reflect our diverse, dynamic and rapidly changing borough. Libraries must be accessible, flexible, comfortable and inspiring public spaces, and they must to be equipped with the modern resources and up-to-date technology our patrons use to access information. At the same time, our branches must also continue to offer unparalleled access to a wide array of print materials.
Unfortunately, our Brooklyn Heights branch no longer meets our standards and requires nearly $10 million in repairs just to maintain the current, less-than-adequate footprint. Many people have asked me why we haven’t repaired and modernized the branch yet. With $300 million in maintenance needs across BPL’s 60 locations, we cannot afford even the cost of installing an air conditioning system to keep the branch open all summer. Unless we do something, this situation will not change anytime soon, and will only get worse. Brooklyn Heights deserves better.
And so, as I wrote to you in April, we are embarking on an exciting project to build a new branch at the current site on Cadman Plaza to ensure we provide the best library service possible in Brooklyn Heights and throughout our 60-branch library system. At the end of June we released a Request for Proposals (RFP) to select a development partner for this project. We received a tremendous response to the RFP, confirming the property’s value and giving us confidence that we can create a better Brooklyn Heights Library, bring a world-class building to the neighborhood and generate revenue to support the needs of the system as a whole. We are reviewing the proposals now and will soon be sharing the details with the community.
Today I am making a number of promises to you about the future of your library, commitments that are included in the RFP:
• The new library will be at least a 20,000-square-foot branch, making it among the five largest branches in Brooklyn.
• We will provide uninterrupted library service to the community throughout construction, and safeguards have been put into place to ensure work moves quickly.
• The height of the new development will be similar to other buildings on Cadman Plaza West.
• The new library interior will be designed in collaboration with the community. BPL also will engage its own architect to build the new branch interior.
This is your library, and I hope you will all stay involved in the process as we move forward. Earlier this year, we launched a Community Advisory Committee (CAC) for the new library with representatives from your elected officials and many community organizations. Our CAC meetings are open to the public and we encourage you to attend. The next meeting is Thursday, December 12 at 6pm at Brooklyn Heights Library. At that time we will share information on the building proposals we have received. Click here to find updated information about this initiative.
Thank you for your continued support of Brooklyn Public Library. We look forward to working with you to deliver the best possible library for the Brooklyn Heights community and the entire borough of Brooklyn.
Linda E. Johnson
President & CEO