Hit the books on plan to save libraries
Sep 23, 2014 | 14719 views | 0 0 comments | 818 818 recommendations | email to a friend | print
This week, the Board of Trustees at the Brooklyn Public Library voted unanimously to sell the site of the Brooklyn Heights branch at 280 Cadman Plaza West to a developer for the promise of an area that is 7,000 sq. ft. smaller than the current space in a new, 30-story tower to be built at the location.

The branch will become more of an outlet in its new home, where it will be tucked into a maze of gymnasiums, retail and residential development. And if things keep going the way they are right now for the bedraggled system, more branches suffer the same fate.

The board says it doesn't have the money in its capital budget to cover the costs of repairs to its 60 branches, and this is just one branch of several that has been considered for sale in recent months.

If it is too expensive to maintain libraries in the city, and the only way to do so is to sell off current assets, that doesn't seem like a sustainable model. The board has voted to take away vital community space that can be used for much more than just reading.

Libraries are becoming increasingly important for giving people free access to technology and resources they need to enrich their lives and find employment.

At this point, it is painfully obvious that the Brooklyn Public Library system is in over its head, and the city should step in to ensure that these public institutions remain strong centers of community support.

New York needs to make libraries a priority again, and Brooklyn needs a library board that is going to stand up to preserve the resources that its most vulnerable residents need so badly.

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