New Brooklyn Heights Library Opens Tomorrow

The new Brooklyn Heights branch of the Brooklyn Public Library, located at 286 Cadman Plaza West, will open tomorrow, Wednesday, June 8. There will be a ribbon cutting ceremony at 11:00 AM attended by NYPL President and CEO Linda Johnson along with “[e]lected officials and community leaders.”

“At 26,600 [square] feet, the new library features a double-height main hall, dedicated teen space, children’s wing, sunlit reading areas and much more.”

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  • Matt

    So is the scaffolding going to be down? Only been about 5 years since it went up.

  • B.

    Oh, you mean the new hamburger joint that has some bookcases. Or is it a cafe?

  • Banet

    So much negativity. It’s the 2nd largest library in all of Brooklyn, and brand new. Why the hate?

  • mari

    The library that was demolished was far larger than this new one It was an excellent library, but Johnson pretended it needed a new hvac that the city couldn’t afford. The idea was to give the developer a chance to build his luxury high rise condo on the site, That’s why all the hate for what’s there. And yes, it will sell hamburgers! And the developer will make many millions on his condo.

  • Mike Suko

    I’m very ambivalent on this, because the BPL *did* get a nice piece of change. I suspect that its fundraising is a mere shadow of what the NYPL – for some “valid” reasons & the less lovely mistaking Manhattan for NYC – takes in every year. Size matters less and less in a library branch, what with physical books being much less “the whole ball of wax” these days. The new Dumbo branch is lovely, and I hope to visit our new branch on opening day and feel the same about it.

    Finally, there is a “grumpy old man & woman” aspect to the carping – pigs will fly before I order a hamburger there, but the future of this library – and all others – is with younger people. They might actually find that alluring…. And there’s an “lefty” thing going, too. Yes, real estate attracts too much talent and throws its weight around … and parks and culture and libraries get table scraps. You can revile the BPL for “collaborating” … or you can acknowledge that they bowed to reality. The Brits used to call layoffs “rationalization” – a lot like “right-sizing” was used in the U.S.

    Nobody can assert with a straight face that the old branch was “rational” use of that lot. I happened to use the business library, but I can see how “all that space” was deemed essentially wasteful – at best, duplicative.

    My ambivalence stems from a gut feeling that the BPL MIGHT have cut a much better deal.

  • Andrew Porter

    When I passed by the other day, I saw the entranceway with overhead marquee, but it’s still inside the sidewalk shed.

  • Andrew Porter

    The BPL got $52 million for the site, but as I recall, a nearby site was to go for $75 million—so the BPL got a bad deal. This one, not built:

  • bhtsmom

    its been 5yrs. lets be happy that its finally opening

  • meschwar

    I have no doubt that the actual real estate deal was, like all real estate deals in NYC, shady and political and influenced by parties that shouldn’t have been involved.

    But that question has nothing to do with whether the actual library will be nice. I think it was smart to move the business library out and make this branch a great NEIGHBORHOOD branch. We don’t doesn’t need a research library; we need a library that supports our community. It certainly sounds like that’s what is being promised. I guess we’ll have to see if it delivers.

  • meschwar

    Where did this hamburger rumor come from? I can find zero corroboration of any type of food service there.

  • Cole

    I don’t understand why this library has to have such byzantine hours, there are 5 different variations:

    Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays: 10 am – 6 pm
    Tuesdays: 1–8 pm
    Thursdays: 10 am – 8 pm
    Saturdays: 10 am – 5 pm
    Sundays: 1–5 pm (Sunday hours begin July 10)

    If a coffee shop had hours this varied they wouldn’t be around very long.

  • meschwar

    They don’t have/can’t afford the staff to be open 10-8 every weekday. Having different times on different days accomodates people with different schedules. Almost all library branches have some version of this. It’s a good thing.

  • Mike Suko

    OTOH … 2 late nights are great, and those weekend hours are divine! I was there 20 minutes before the ribbon-cutting at 1 PM and chose not to wait. Any “reports from the site?”

    A nice & detailed article online from BrooklynPaper dot com that answers a couple of questions I recall raises on the BHB previously:

    “In two of the library’s conference rooms, single bas-reliefs that were part of the facade of the previous library have been repurposed into the walls. The remaining four will be used in the garden of the Walt Whitman Library” [near Ft. Greene Park.]

    “The developer must give the Brooklyn Public Library a quarter of all profits above an internal rate of return of 19 percent from the luxury condo sales.”


    “As part of the deal, Hudson built 114 units of affordable housing at two sites in Clinton Hill.”

    FWIW, … I’m a believer at this point, and I think former CM Steve Levin [whatever happened to ?] made some of that happen, so THANKS!

    NO mention of food or beverage “options” in either that article or on the BPL website. I predict some negative feedback about the kids in the basement decision, but the BPL write-up sure has curb appeal:

  • Claude Scales

    Steve Levin, who reached his term limit as a City Council member last year, is now the CEO of Solar One, a nonprofit “dedicated to sustainability and resiliency in urban neighborhoods.”

  • B.

    Banet, “hate” is a silly, overused, even adolescent word. (“My teacher hates me!”)

    What I see in the Brownstoner photographs of this new library: high ceilings, hard surfaces, sleek tables, a couple of bookcases. Probably somewhere are more bookcases but not many if the new Dumbo branch is any indication. That means no browsing, no finding of new things. Nowhere for imagination to take hold. Do I feel “hate”? No; just disappointment — although why I should feel disappointed by anything lately is a mystery.

  • Andrew Porter

    There’s a report on the opening, with lots of photos, in Time Out NY, here:

  • CassieVonMontague
  • CassieVonMontague

    Will this become a voting site?

  • CassieVonMontague

    The library’s opening was a year late due to pandemic-related slowdowns.

  • AnonyMom

    How many of you who have posted negative comments about the library have actually set foot inside if it? I was at the opening and the space is absolutely freaking gorgeous. Like many, I was opposed to another luxury building going up in the neighborhood. And, I think the “affordable” housing should have stayed in Brooklyn Heights. That said, the space is spectacular. Bright, soaring ceilings, tons of light. And once the scaffolding will come down it will be even brighter. Two portions of the bas relief facade have been incorporated into the interior design. The two others are being installed in another library branch.

    The sale of the old dilapidated building funded the Dumbo branch, much needed renovations/repairs to Sunnyside and other branches.

    People were lined up outside waiting for the library to open to the public, people from all walks of life. This branch is not just for our neighborhood. It’s the 2nd largest in Brooklyn next to Grand Army Plaza and will likely be a destination with meaningful programming. O’d love yo see a lecture series, drag queen story hour an book signings. Conference rooms can be reserved for book clubs, civic groups, etc. There’s a state of the art multipurpose room with a stage, movie theater size screen and a prep room that yes has a kitchen but is to the best of my knowledge NOT serving burgers unless they are part of an event. the art So maybe we should give it a chance? Is our air so rarified in Brooklyn Heights that we can’t accept any change?

  • B.

    Mike, I do not think it’s a “lefty” thing to believe that our libraries have, for generations, opened both immigrants’ and Brooklyn-born people’s hearts to knowledge. The more books, the better; otherwise, we’re limited to looking for what we know rather than browsing and coming across something new. This new library, bereft of books, is a shiny bauble cast down in place of a library.

  • B.

    Community spaces spaces are one thing, libraries quite another. If you’re happy with a shiny new community space, then that’s fine; but a library it’s really not.

    When I was a kid, we’d all go to our neighborhood library once every week or two — mine was Grand Army Plaza although sometimes Dad took me to the branch on Ninth Street (which in recent years, far too long, served as Mr. de Blasio’s office space) — and I and everyone else emerged with armfuls of books: Your new Brooklyn Heights library doesn’t have enough books for that to happen.

  • meschwar

    See that’s just it. I can’t make this clear enough. LIBRARIES ARE NOT JUST ABOUT BOOKS ANYMORE. If the new library was just filled with densely packed books, that would have been a complete misunderstanding of what a library should be in this century and going forward.

  • Arch Stanton

    Anyone interested in betting on when the first homeless knife-fight will be?

  • Mike Suko

    WELL SAID! … Remember, books and libraries have been around quite a few centuries … and the last 10-20 years have seen some changes in communications so dramatic that something would be very wrong if this library closely resembled what came before.

    2 thoughts: Have they gotten to a point of OVERDOING space & money devoted to computers? Will “homelessness” become a problem for this new branch?

    Those extensive hours are breathtaking. I’m with AnonyMom – together with the Dumbo branch, it sure looks like quite a few good decisions and implementations re physical space have been made recently by the BPL. Maybe, when 1 Clinton is fully occupied, someone will “re-imagine” the park between it and the Post Office. Cadman Plaza West may someday win the coveted “most improved avenue in NYC” prize.

  • B.

    So a library is a community space. Then call it a community space and not a library. Very good: The developers and the politicians in their pockets have given Brooklyn Heights a community space where a library used to be.

  • nomcebo manzini

    You probably don’t like much that’s happened anywhere since 1980, and while you certainly are entitled to that opinion, attacks like yours that are – Trump-like – devoid of logic or facts are worse than unfortunate.

    Look at the photos – and the one’s from Time Out are not “artist’s renderings.” There are more books than any 100 Brooklynites could ever read in 10 lifetimes. The area for children downstairs? EVEN MORE SO! Yes, “browsing” will always have its fans. If “Strand” and the internet don’t give more than adequate scope for that in connection with books, keep hoping that NYC will spend millions for “your kind of library,” one that might serve a dozen people, … but most of them aren’t comfortable leaving their apartments any more.

    FWIW, I’m kind of on your wavelength re their teen “services”/space. I suspect that the mezzanine WILL become a rowdy play space, but I hope I’m mistaken. If you’d vote to bring back the old branch – with or without the apartments above it – you can’t be taken seriously.

  • SongBirdNYC

    I repeat, have you even stepped inside? There are TONS of books and the librarians can order anything you like from the system and put things on hold. There are a million, light filled places to sit and read. So I’m not sure why you have such a narrow definition of what a library should be but they have ALWAYS been community spaces. Also, many people read on e-readers and their phones now. The way people ingest information has evolved. But my main point is that the library isn’t for YOU. It’s for everyone, the PUBLIC. These spaces serve those who don’t have access to what Lincoln Restler called “the abundance” of Brooklyn Heights. And your attitudes are exactly why I’m disapointed the “affordable” housing isn’t in Brooklyn Heights. If you are so discouraged about the new branch, perhaps give an endowment to BPL. Fund a literacy program for disadvantaged kids. But to gripe about how the library isn’t what you want is elitist and short sighted. Sorry, not sorry.

  • SongBirdNYC


  • B.

    How funny. Because we disagree on how many books libraries should have, you engage in ad hominem slurs, suggesting I haven’t been appreciative of strides we’ve taken since 1980, calling my opinion an “attack,” and likening me to that bloated parasite Trump. Well, this is why we can’t have nice things: Because you can’t take people with different opinions from you “seriously.”