Fears that either the Crown Heights Library, or the Brower Park library will be sold. - Brooklynian

Comments

  • Question: what purpose does that library serve in 2017, especially given the proximity of other libraries, the children's museum, and wifi stations everywhere?
    I have no sense of it's usage, programming (and attendance) or other relevant information.
  • Many community libraries are being forced to answer those exact questions.

    Declining public subsidies and an increasing price of land make the decision to sell a little easier.
  • in other words, they don't regularly ask these questions...
    The blogspot post doesnt even bother with any of these points. It seems its biggest argument for the library is that the discussed real estate figures shouldn't be happy. Based on this alone (& I believe they're leading the argument for keeping the library), I see no reason to keep the library.
  • edited February 13
    I suggest that, in the worst case scenario, patrons can go to the Central branch. It has more resources and more hours anyway.

    I never went to the Crown Heights branch when I was a kid. We always went to Grand Army Plaza. That was where I got my first library card.

    I can understand why a potential closure would bother people in the community. It's the principle of the matter.

  • The blog post may have been created by someone who has the most to lose: A staff member.
  • In which case, I'm pretty sure their use of antiquated blogspot.com is *not* helping their positioning as a valuable part of today's society. 
  • edited February 13
    Libraries increasingly make the argument that they serve the least connected, and -um- least valuable in society.

    This a far different argument than they made when I was young. Then, they stated they were a vital part of our cultural and intellectual fabric and had to periodically defend themselves against charges of elitism as a result of their rules and behavioral expectations.
  • Brooklyn's Community Board 8 is having a meeting on Thursday, Feb. 16 to discuss the move of the Brower Park Library into the Children's Museum. Maybe someone can go and report back? I can't b/c I have school. 

  • "6. Ms. Naila Rosario, Government Relations and Advocacy Manager from the Brooklyn Public Library and Ms. Stephanie Wilchfort, President and CEO from the Brooklyn Children’s Museum will discuss the relocation of Brower Park Library to the Brooklyn Children’s Museum."


  • I'll be out of town, though I'd be interested to hear naila's arguments.
  • Having a publicly funded library within the museum should help it cover existing capital and staffing costs, and increase visits (ie memberships and admission fees).
  • Must jump in here as I used to be a children's librarian. In fact I worked at the Crown Heights branch many (many!)  years ago. My role then, and the library's role always, is to bring books and reading to children who may not have anyone else in their lives to do it. I can't speak to who uses those branches now, but in a general way - for children, the suggestion that people can "easily" go to the Central Library or that in the age of computers, libraries  are not needed, just doesn't hold. Community libraries offer story time for the smallest children, a safe place to do homework and get help with it for older children, a useful class outing from the schools, and a source of job or citizenship information  computer skills for people who may not know how to  use a huge library or are intimidated by it. Or may not even have the MTA  fare to get there! Chronically underfunded and overlooked, public libraries an underserved population and always have.  Not their only role, but still an important one.
  • Must jump in here as I used to be a children's librarian. In fact I worked at the Crown Heights branch many (many!)  years ago. My role then, and the library's role always, is to bring books and reading to children who may not have anyone else in their lives to do it. I can't speak to who uses those branches now, but in a general way - for children, the suggestion that people can "easily" go to the Central Library or that in the age of computers, libraries  are not needed, just doesn't hold. Community libraries offer story time for the smallest children, a safe place to do homework and get help with it for older children, a useful class outing from the schools, and a source of job or citizenship information  computer skills for people who may not know how to  use a huge library or are intimidated by it. Or may not even have the MTA  fare to get there! Chronically underfunded and overlooked, public libraries an underserved population and always have.  Not their only role, but still an important one.
    I agree with this. If one is within walking distance of the Crown Heights branch, by all means go. :) 

    I grew up where I live now. I live about midway between Central and Crown Heights. The Flatbush branch is also a little further away. It takes me about 20 minutes to walk to Central; it'd probably take about the same amount to walk to Crown Heights or Flatbush. However, since Central has more resources, that's where I prefer to go.

    By the way, I love how the children's room at Central was renovated. I only wish someone had made that kind of resources available when I was a kid. 

    I take issue with the principle of selling off a public resource for private benefit though.
  • edited February 14
    Won't the proceeds from the sale go to the surviving libraries?

    (Update: the library rents its present space )
  • I don't see how preventing private investors from owning this land is the reason to keep this as a public institution that requires increasing $$ to maintain.

    The idea that the library is a resource for children and others is great, heart warming, touching, you name it. However those warm fuzzies don't translate into actually being a resource and impacting enough lives to justify the cost. If they are doing that, great, but they haven't said or shown anything to prove that they are.
  • The existing building sounds as if it will be torn down after the library moves into the museum: https://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20170214/crown-heights/brower-park-library-move-brooklyn-childrens-museum
  • Have to say, the existing brower park library is no gem (architecturally speaking). And the interior is basically one large room that is subdivided into different zones. And the building is not ADA accessible. If a new location in the Children's Museum makes it sparkling and new, and accessible, then it will be much improved. 
  • Will people have to pay the museum's hefty admission fee to visit the library?
  • Marco555 said:
    I don't see how preventing private investors from owning this land is the reason to keep this as a public institution that requires increasing $$ to maintain. The idea that the library is a resource for children and others is great, heart warming, touching, you name it. However those warm fuzzies don't translate into actually being a resource and impacting enough lives to justify the cost. If they are doing that, great, but they haven't said or shown anything to prove that they are.
    Just because you, yourself, can't measure or observe the impacts that libraries have on young people, doesn't mean they don't exist, and it doesn't mean those impacts haven't been quantified by people with a lot more experience on the subject than you. Also, which librarian hurt you?

    Besides--people love to tout the "but technology!!!" argument against libraries, but i wonder if they know that 1) ebooks and audio books COST MONEY and 2) the public library system offers both of those things for free as well as physical books.


  • I'd love to see how this library contributes to the community. I started the conversaton asking how this library helps or the value it provides

    The arguments I've heard in this forum and read onthe website dedicated to saving the library don't address these measurable and observable impacts you mention. They answer my question with warm fuzzies and antipathy towards private developers. These gestures Are valid but they don't give real reason to support the library's cause
  • edited February 14
    This library is toast.   It is in a rented dilapidated building, and a nearby cultural institution would like to host it and benefit from its move.

    Deal. 
  • edited February 14
    No one on this forum has access to the measurables that you are looking for.... such as ages and numbers of visitors daily, numbers of books, ebooks and audiobooks checked out each day or year, impact on student performance in school, etc. That doesn't mean that those numbers don't exist, or that they wouldn't justify the need for the library.
  • edited February 15
    Here's a shot of the exterior of the present library and a map shot that shows how far it is from the Children's Museum.

    I expect the building which replaces the library to be similar in size to those that are presently around it.

     
    Screen Shot 2017-02-14 at 11.04.44 PM Screen Shot 2017-02-14 at 11.05.41 PM
  • booklaw said:
    Will people have to pay the museum's hefty admission fee to visit the library?
    I'm betting, no.

    I think that would violate the rules it operates under.  As I understand the BPL's, they are partially supported by public funds and then fundraise the rest.

    What I wonder is "to what degree is this move voluntary?"

    The landlord sounds as if they have not been maintaining the building, and I can't imagine they are sad about losing this tenant.

    However, was their lease up?   Did the landlord agree to -um- chip in toward the moving expenses to ensure this deal happened?   Did the BPL see the writing on the wall after years of the building being neglected?

    Was the BPL powerful enough that it was able to get a below market rent at the Children's Museum? 
  • edited February 15
    Their attendance and circulation numbers have been in decline during the study's period (2012-2014) as well...

    https://nycfuture.org/data/nyc-libraries-by-the-numbers

    And their capital needs are large and growing ...
    http://www.bklynlibrary.org/brower-park/about-brower-park-family


    Also, the library's site addresses parts of your questions, whynot.
  • I have lived in Brooklyn for 13 years. I have been to a BPL twice.

    It would not surprise me to learn that their usage nunbers are declining with the advent of technology and demographic shifts that are occuring.
  • I have been to the Brower Park Library many times. In my experience, children and teenagers use the library heavily as a place to study and meet after school. The front desk is very busy with giving people the books, cds, dvds they have ordered from other library branches on inter-library loan. They seem to offer some programming. I think that the library would be more heavily used in a programming capacity if it were at the Children's Museum. 
  • Like all places, libraries are more useful to some than others.

    If I had kids (or was a kid), I have not doubt I would use them much more.

    They also host a lot of community meetings: Support groups and whatnot.
  • BTW, one can nominate their local library to get a grant

    http://www.nyclibraryawards.org/nominate/
  • I actually think this will be a big win-win for both institutions. The library gets modern facilities that are clean and are built with little people (who tend to be the bigger users of the local branches) in mind. The museum gets people who may be coming on a more regular basis (weekly for story time or other events) than they would have. The museum also gets more older kids coming into the building this way who may have been using the library for an after school homework location until mom and dad get home - but who wouldn't normally go to a museum for "babies". 

    The only downside is that adult users of the branch may find it less accommodating as you'll essentially be immersed in small children ALL THE TIME. But, Central is only a 15 minute walk away and if you are coming from the western portion of the neighborhood, its essentially a negligible difference. 

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