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Brooklyn Public Library

Brooklyn Heights

Brooklyn Heights Preservationist to Squadron: BPL Is Prepared To Sellout For A Mess Of Pottage

March 28, 2013

Long time Brooklyn Heights resident and preservationist Martin L. Schneider has written an open letter to NYS Senator Daniel Squadron regarding the Brooklyn Public Library’s plan – and the BHA’s tacit approval – to sell the Brooklyn Heights library building. In short, the plan is to sell the building and a new library would be built into a much larger, mixed use structure.

Scheider literally wrote the book about the landmarking of Brooklyn Heights and as one of the founders of CCIC and later a governor of the Brooklyn Heights Association he’s uniquely qualified to present this concise and pointed argument to Squadron:

Dear Senator Squadron:

As a former long-time Governor of the Brooklyn Heights Assn. I am dismayed at their passive acceptance of the plan to sell of the 1962 Branch Library building for what amounts to a quick fix for the on-going budgetary needs of the main library. This is wrong on many counts, one of which is the fact that that fine small building— capacious for local library purposes— was built on property acquired under the Urban Renewal Title One act by right of eminent domain. The takeover of the private property was justified under the rubric of putting it to a higher use which in this case was a ‘public use.’ Now the BPL is prepared to ‘sell out that heritage for a mess of pottage.’

I was here on Monroe Place just around the corner in 1957 and saw the whole show. The takeover and the rebuilding. Now I am one of those who makes regular use of it, though, truth to tell, Amazon has cut into my need for the library. But it hasn’t cut down on those many people who need access to its computers and who line up patiently to wait their limited time on the machines.

I hope you will very soon focus on this issue because, as the NY Times article noted a few weeks ago, it reflects a too common giving up on the public authority for neighborhood amenities in favor of quick bucks proferred by developers. As you well know, great urban places are not developed for profit alone.

I look forward to hearing that you will take a close look at this very significant issue.

Source: Brooklyn Heights Blog

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Brooklyn Heights

Tale of the Tweets: Brooklyn Heights Library Hearing

January 29, 2013

The Friends of the Brooklyn Heights Branch Library held a Trustees Meeting on Tuesday night addressing the impending sale of the building. As previously reported, it was  announced on January 15 several BPL branches would be impacted as the system shifts to digital media and services. The current Brooklyn Heights’ Cadman Plaza branch will be closing and be “temporarily relocated.”  

The Brooklyn Eagle was on at the hearing and live tweeted highlights. (The “star” of the evening was apparently Josh Nachowitz—pictured here—the library’s VP for Government and Community Relations.)

Brooklyn Heights Library Hearing 1/29/13

Storified by Brooklyn Bugle· Tue, Jan 29 2013 17:59:52

Hearing on closing ["temporary relocation"] of Brooklyn Heights library and permanent biz library move is on. …Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Corrected link to Eagle’s library story: ••• Live tweet of Friends of BH Library trustees meeting will begin shortly.Brooklyn Daily Eagle
While BH library remains open, weekly booksale (which benefits the library) will continues, Noon-2 pm on Fridays.Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Josh Nachowitz, VP Govt and Community Relations, begins: "The BPL has no intention of going anywhere … of abandoning Brooklyn Heights."Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Nachowitz: Brooklyn Public Library’s ability to serve Brooklyn Heights is handicapped by limitations of current building. #BPLBrooklyn Daily Eagle
Nachowitz: Brooklyn Public Library’s ability to serve Brooklyn Heights is handicapped by limitations of current building. #BPLBrooklyn Daily Eagle
Nachowitz: "We hv been faced w/very severe infrastructure issues with this building" A/C cannot be repaired; wld cost 3-1/2mil to replace.Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Nachowitz: #BPL is "looking at ways to partner w/pvt sector developer who can bld a brand new state of the art branch library on this site."Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Nachowitz: It’s a lengthy process that wld begin fairly "soon."Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Nachowitz downplay biz library, says biz libr not designed for dtown biz cmty and #BPL has been thinking of movg it for long time.Brooklyn Daily Eagle
First question to Nachowitz: "On whose authority" does library seek to impose giant new bldg on BHeights cmmty?Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Confirmed by Friends’ secy: A/C was renovated in 1993 and it broke first summer. [It’s malfunctioned ever since.]Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Nachowitz: Bldg needs 3-1/2mil for a/c, 9+mil for infrastructure fix. Planned library replacement isan "opportunity for this community."Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Q: "How long will we go w/o library serv while they’re doing all this stuff?" Nachowitz promises temp loc but "can’t tell you" how long.Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Nachowitz: Other option: bldg will close. "If we don’t do something w/ this building we will not be able to provide library services."Brooklyn Daily Eagle
During 20 yrs when a/c’s been broken, why hasn’t it been fixed? Nachowitz says, essentially, tht Bklyn Heights was low #BPL priority.Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Nachowitz denies #BPL has made it a priority to craft real estate deals — except for Brooklyn Heights branch.Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Nachowitz asked if #BPL would rule out doing biz w/ Forest City Ratner. A: "Absolutely not."Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Audience member calls plan to transfer ownership of library site "from public to private" "sad and tragic." #BPLBrooklyn Daily Eagle
Nachowitz said temporary space "ideally" would be a physical space. Doesn’t discount a Bookmobile.Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Retired #BPL librarian points out that biz library’s dtown locaiton is much more accessible than Grand Army Plz branch.Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Nachowitz asked what other fundraising options #BPL looked at to avoid developer "bait and switch." Says raising pvt $ is "very difficult."Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Councilman Levin rises to defend the process and calm nerves. "The comty does hv a very substantive role in whatever happens."Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Levin urges #BPL to "come up w/ solutions that provide a continuity of service" in coming summer.Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Levin says process would be different than at Atlantic Yards and BBridge Park.Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Nachowitz says zoning allows for 10 FAR (roughly 10x lot size), about a 170,000 sq ft bldg (incl 15,000 sq ft for library).Brooklyn Daily Eagle
BHA Exec Dir Judy Stanton asks Nachowitz to promise to consult w/ "very small" group from community.Brooklyn Daily Eagle
BHA Exec Dir Judy Stanton asks Nachowitz to promise to consult w/ "very small" group from community.Brooklyn Daily Eagle
From library hearing, that’s a wrap. More from reporter Mary Frost @BklynEagle website in the morning: http://www.BrooklynEagle.comBrooklyn Daily Eagle
@BklynEagle All yr followers now craving nachos. "Thus began The Great Brooklyn Nacho Stampede of 2013."Carrie

Photo via Brooklyn Daily

Source: Brooklyn Heights Blog

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Brooklyn Heights

Self-Checkout Kiosks Come To Brooklyn Libraries

July 31, 2012

Emulating drug stores and supermarkets, the Brooklyn Public Library has installed self-checkout machines across the borough, including the Brooklyn Heights, Williamsburg, Kings Bay, Highlawn, Mapleton,, Homecrest and Bay Ridge branches.

The library says the automated checkout “dishwasher-sized units” will enable patrons to borrow and return materials more conveniently and efficiently, allowing staff to spend more time engaging with the community, according to a story in the Brooklyn Eagle.

Two self-checkout machines have been in operation at the Brooklyn Heights branch at 280 Cadman Plaza West, for several months. Brooklyn Public Library President & CEO Linda Johnson says the initiative is part of a new model of public service, “one of many innovations including increased access to eBooks and a new books-on-demand Espresso Book Machine at the Central Library.” BPL was recently honored as a leading innovator by The Urban Libraries Council.

Let’s hope they work better than the self-serve check-out kiosks at CVS on Henry Street.

(Photo: McBrooklyn)

Source: Brooklyn Heights Blog

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Arts and Entertainment

Update: Lady Susan Moving to New Location

July 10, 2012

This Saturday’s (July 14) reading, presented by Theater 2020, of Lynn Marie Macy’s work-in-progress Lady Susan or the Captive Heart, a Jane Austen Bodice Ripper, originally scheduled to be held at the Brooklyn Heights Branch of the Brooklyn Public Library, has, because of the Library’s well known air conditioning problems, been moved to St. Charles Borromeo Church, 21 Sidney Place. It will be from 1:30 to 3:00 p.m.; admission is free and no reservations are required; and the playwright and actors will be available for a brief discussion afterward.

Source: Brooklyn Heights Blog

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Arts and Entertainment, Events

Theater 2020 Offers Another Chance to See a Work in Progress: Lady Susan

July 2, 2012

This past February, our friends at Theater 2020 presented a reading of playwright Lynn Marie Macy’s work in progress, Lady Susan or the Captive Heart, a Jane Austen Bodice Ripper at the Brooklyn Public Library’s Brooklyn Heights Branch, Cadman Plaza West and Tillary Street. Your correspondent attended, and filed this report. Since then, Ms. Macy has been refining her script, and now there’s a second opportunity to hear a reading of Lady Susan before it’s put into final shape and performed on stage sometime in 2013.

The reading will be at the same place on Saturday, July 14 (one week from this coming Saturday), from 1:20 to 3:30 p.m. Admission is free, as is the air conditioning.

Source: Brooklyn Heights Blog

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