Brooklyn Heights Residents Give Library Suggestions

Books, books, books, and lots of shelves for them, was the main theme of the suggestions made at yesterday evening’s design workshop, at which local residents interacted with architects and library staff concerning what a new Brooklyn Heights branch library should offer. Adequate, well trained and friendly staff (some participants–not library staffers–also stressed “well paid”) was seen as essential. Other suggestions included spaces for meetings, an auditorium for local performing arts groups to present plays or concerts, spaces for local artists and crafters to display their works, computers (Uldis Skrodelis, Branch Manager of the Brooklyn Heights Branch, said the library is phasing out fixed terminals and instead providing laptops for use on site by those who request them), separation of quiet and active spaces and of spaces for adults, kids, and teens. Good natural lighting was stressed by some, as was accessibility. Some attendees argued for more space in total than is presently allocated for the new library.

The meeting was chaired by Guido Hartray of Marvel Architects (photo), one of the architects responsible for the design of the library. Attendees were assigned to sit in groups at tables, and people at each table were charged with producing a list of things they wanted. Afterward, each table sent one representative to the stage (one table sent two very young representatives forward; photo below) to talk about their recommendations.IMG_9457_1There will be another planning workshop, which will focus on the placement of various items in the library’s space, on Monday evening, April 20 at the Brooklyn Heights Branch auditorium, 280 Cadman Plaza West.

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  • Reggie

    Claude, how many people attended? Thanks.

  • ClaudeScales

    I didn’t take a count, but I’d guess about forty to fifty people were there, of whom maybe thirty were local residents, and the rest representatives of the architectural firm or library staff.

  • Willow Street Watch

    Well I and several friends went to this “design workshop” First, we found this was not primarily on design but on future facilities and operations. Then everyone was assigned a table..but of course, there was already in place a very decernable table leader and an assistant who promptly and firmly assumed direction of the collection and recording of public comment. When I tried to write my observations on the take up sheet she almost shouted what are you doing. I nicely inicated that no casino wannabe was going to direct my actions and continued to write in my comments. Our leader was a CAC person….

    The big demand was indeed more books but then the big demand was for natural light. Of course the again very discernable friends of the developer present wanted one floor above ground and then all facilities below. Hey, anything above ground level cuts into profits…

    If they need space for mechanicals , why do they need part of the foot print? How far down are they going to excavate? That was not answered…

    So went the carefully structured meeting giving all the appearances of seeking public input and approval…all the genuine quality of a soviet show trial, well just about. But dispute library employees hovering about a lot of good public demands emerged.

    In the very short stand and comment opportunity it was made clear that attendance at the event did Not represent acceptance of the idea of a new library or the tower above. A lot of the people I spoke to wanted the present library restored and upgraded.

    As far as facilities and operations, I brought up the subject of why the ABC system should remain in place…why should your research actions be searchable to the extent it now is? What about privacy and user’s security?

    You know that wasn’t answered….

  • Reggie

    Thanks. There were no comments on the BHB post in advance of the meeting, I wasn’t sure if anyone was going to show up. I had a prior commitment, otherwise I would have gone myself.