Today’s news:

Kiss their glass! Library still in trouble

The Brooklyn Paper

Brooklyn Public Library officials reportedly said this week that their efforts to raise money for an iconic, $135-million glass-walled performing arts branch have failed — and that the project can’t go forward at this point.

Crain’s New York Business reported that a “library insider” made it clear that “the project will be saved only if a partner comes along to finance the building.”

Readers of The Brooklyn Paper are well aware of the library’s ongoing inability to get donors jazzed up over the Enrique Norten–designed Visual and Performing Arts Library, a bow-shaped structure that would be built on a city-owned triangle bounded by Flatbush Avenue, St. Felix Street and Lafayette Avenue.

But this is the first time that the library has publicly stated that the project cannot be done without a private partner.

“We don’t have the funding right now and are looking [to other organizations],” said library spokeswoman Stefanie Arck.

The arts library is a main feature of the city’s plan to surround the Brooklyn Academy of Music with a Lincoln Center–style campus that includes new housing and cultural institutions.

Arck said that the BPL would consider sharing the Fort Greene lot with a partner.

“We are open to considering all kinds of partnerships at this point,” she said.

Last year, The Brooklyn Paper reported that library trustees approached developer Bruce Ratner, a longtime BAM trustee, about funding the facility, which would be located just a few blocks from his $4-billion Atlantic Yards mega-project.

But those talks apparently went nowhere.

When the library design was unveiled in 2002, officials predicted the building would cost $75 million and open in 2005. Last year, the price tag ballooned to $135 million, and groundbreaking was pushed back to 2009.

The call for partners has again put that groundbreaking on hold — but Arck emphasized that the library has not “scrapped” the project.

Councilwoman Letitia James (D–Fort Greene) remains a critic of the project, no matter who is funding it.

“There are many existing libraries that need air-conditioning, computers, more books and more staff to keep them open seven days a week,” James said. “Until resources are given to make those improvements, we should not build a new library that will only serve the needs of a few.”

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Paul Isaac Jr from Brooklyn says:
If Osama Bin Laden walked into the[Brooklyn Public] library I'm convinced that Ginnie and friends would not call the police. They would be more concerned about his intellectual freedom. The best one word description I heard describing her[Ginnie Cooper]: COMPULSIVE.                                     Posted by: former BPL employee | June 17, 2006 9:36 AM

What Lucy Gertner had to say is real cause for alarm. When I was there, there was a particular librarian with multiple offenses. At the Clinton Hill branch, he had a fight with a supervisor using expletives and was transferred to the Flatlands branch. There he had another fight with his supervisor and also maliciously ran up a co-workers credit card when she left her computer for a moment. He also praised the 9/11 attacks. He was then transferred to another branch where, after about a year, he harassed a Kingsborough Community College employee using the library's phone. As a constant repeat offender, he only received a 5 day suspension and transfer to the Highlawn branch for this. It's a real outrage that Lucy was given an 8 day suspension for simply trying to protect a collection. This shows what abominants that Cooper, Kinney, Jennings, and the rest of the Grand Army Plaza 3rd floor vermin are. Also, there was a popular, well-liked Training Manager who was called up to serve in Iraq. Cooper knifed him in the back while he was serving and eliminated his position.      Posted by: Concerned | June 23, 2006 10:06 AM

Janet Kinney and Ginnie Cooper were responsible for the lack of security in the library. We attended a meeting on our Unattended Child Policy and we were told that if we saw a seven year old child in the library wondering on his own during school hours we should not ask the child why he is there because that child might be home schooled. In my years of working in the library I have never, been told such crap. New York City has laws about truant, children, not to mention child welfare laws. I could not believe what I was hearing. Thought what they were saying was not in our policy the head of security along with several others in charge were telling us to condone this nonsense. Security officers were asked to allow unruly child to stay in the library and disrupt the library. Since the new heads of security has taken over security there has been no security. Our best officers have quit or have been fired for ridiculous things like taking sick days that are legally given to them under our city contract and union laws. The library has gotten wilder and though the patrons complained and Janet Kinney and Ginnie Cooper did nothing. The staff was asked to attend a mandatory workshop called "Creating Safer Libraries. In this workshop we were basically being trained to handle issues that would normally be handled by security. One colleague followed the Creating Safer Libraries procedure and got her finger cut off, and administration told her it was her own fault.  Guess what we are not a security guards, babysitter or social workers, we are libraries.  I hope that our Board of Trustees learns from their mistakes. And I pray that Washington puts their foot down and doesn't allow Ginnie Cooper to disrespect you like she did Brooklyn.    Posted by: Soon to be a former BPLer | June 30, 2006 5:37

I'd just also like mention that a few years ago, not long after Sept. 11 there was an incident at a branch library when a customer asked reference staff probing questions about Pres. Bush's parade route (he was visiting New York). The staff were concerned and called Security who then called the police. The individual was arrested and taken in for questioning and later released. Ginnie was upset about this and later developed Intellectual Freedom Training for the entire staff. Among the items covered was public computers and accessing pornography. Many of us were disturbed by the outcome: BPL instructed us to allow patrons to access pornography; according to them it was their intellectual right. When we asked about children accessing pornography we were told to discourage it but that we shouldn't actually tell them they couldn't access it via the internet. That was also (to their way of thinking) their right, even though they were underage. Since then library computers have been filtered but it is still not impossible to do pornography. People even send it to themselves via email. If Ginnie feels that pornography is o.k. in a library setting, then why not just order XXX DVDs. By not ordering them you are censoring according to their philosophy. I know that most patrons, esp. parents do not think like this.                                                         Posted by: former BPL employee | June 3, 2006 9:55 AM
(E16st & Ave J)

(Paul Isaac Jr-NYsentinel at Large)
May 27, 2010, 6:14 pm

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