Sections

Heights Association not a book critic: Group isn’t fighting library building sale

The Brooklyn Paper
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook
Subscribe

Get our stories in your inbox, free.

Like Brooklyn Paper on Facebook.

Here’s the first plot twist in the proposed sale and redevelopment of the Brooklyn Heights branch library.

The generally preservation-minded Brooklyn Heights Association stunned some book lovers by announcing it will not oppose the Brooklyn Public Library’s plan to sell the 1962 structure and replace it with a new facility on the same site — a move library officials say would save $9 million in repairs to the broken air conditioning system alone.

“Given the circumstances, the hand that’s been dealt at the moment, we’ve decided to focus our influence on what kind of branch would go in the new building and putting pressure on the library to set up a temporary branch that’s much more than a bookmobile,” said Brooklyn Heights Association executive director Judy Stanton.

Stanton says her group doesn’t exactly support the redevelopment plan, which would allow a developer to snatch up the hot Cadman Plaza Plaza West property, build a high-rise on the site, and allocate space for a new, more modern Brooklyn Heights branch on the ground floor — minus the system’s Business Library, which would move to the Central Branch at Grand Army Plaza.

But the Brooklyn Heights Association won’t go to the trenches against it as long as Brooklyn Public Library officials agree to certain conditions.

In a statement posted on its website, the Brooklyn Heights Association said the Brooklyn Public Library must continue providing service in Brooklyn Heights throughout the redevelopment process, find a new space for the branch that is “of adequate size,” and give all proceeds from the sale of the old branch to the library system.

But that’s not enough for some critics of the Brooklyn Heights Association and the Brooklyn Public Library, which is taking flak for its similar plan to sell off the historic Pacific branch — the borough’s first library funded by industrialist Andrew Carnegie.

“Technically they are saying they don’t favor it, they are just not standing in the way of it, if that’s a distinction,” said Michael D. D. White, a spokesman for Citizens Defending Libraries, a group formed earlier this year to “save libraries from developers,” according to its website.

“The Heights position is an absolute sellout to the developer’s point of view,” White said, arguing that it doesn’t set firm enough size requirements for the new space.

Stanton said the Brooklyn Heights Association is simply supporting the position of the librarians and the Friends of the Library — and that doesn’t mean the group won’t change its stance in the future.

“The amount of space that [Brooklyn Public Library] officials say we need — we might not agree with that,” she said.

The Brooklyn Heights branch has taken heat before. Last summer, the broken air-conditioning system led to unsafe temperatures that caused 30 emergency closures.

This year, library officials will cut back summer hours, likely opening on weekdays from 8 am to 1 pm to avoid the hottest part of the day — instead of the normal closing times of 6 or 8 pm. Saturday hours haven’t been finalized yet. Emergency closings are not off the table, either, according to a library spokesman.

Reach reporter Jaime Lutz at jlutz@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-8310. Follow her on Twitter @jaime_lutz.

Updated 2:20 am, July 22, 2015: Story updated to correct the summer hours at the Brooklyn Heights branch: they are 8 am to 1 pm. Sorry about that.
Today’s news:
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook
Subscribe

Get our stories in your inbox, free.

Like Brooklyn Paper on Facebook.

Reasonable discourse

Marsha Rimler from brooklyn says:
It is ironic that a neighborhood association that goes to the mat to save trees will not do the same to save and refurbish a well used public library. Many of the BHA members are also member of the Brooklyn Historical Association that has received public funds and grants on several occasions. It has an entrance fee and is hardly used..The friends of the Library is a membership group that has been muzzled by the Brooklyn Public Library backed by Bloomberg.. Come on Judy and Deborah in your heart of hearts you both KNOW this is WRONG.
Do the right thing.
March 29, 2013, Noon
Marsha Rimler from brooklyn says:
Sorry- Brooklyn Historical Society on the corner of
Clinton (across from St. Ann's). As a matter of fact there is a sign outside the building announcing their current use of public (city funds)
March 29, 2013, 12:04 pm
Bob from Bklyn Hts says:
The Brooklyn Hts Association speaks only for their very, very, very limited membership. They are not a general membership group and seem to exist to pontificate and make political deals. And wear pearls.
What strikes me about this story is the "$9 million in repairs to the broken air conditioning system alone". That's about what it cost to install the heating and AC in a skyscraper! This is clearly a land give-away and the sententious BHA should be ashamed to get sucked into this. Then again, they also stuck their noses into the Atlantic Yards mess, again on the side of the developers.
March 30, 2013, 7:45 am
Bob from Bklyn Hts says:
The Brooklyn Hts Association speaks only for their very, very, very limited membership. They are not a general membership group and seem to exist to pontificate and make political deals. And wear pearls.
What strikes me about this story is the "$9 million in repairs to the broken air conditioning system alone". That's about what it cost to install the heating and AC in a skyscraper! This is clearly a land give-away and the sententious BHA should be ashamed to get sucked into this. Then again, they also stuck their noses into the Atlantic Yards mess, again on the side of the developers.
March 30, 2013, 7:45 am
Donald from Brooklyn says:
The BHA has not been "generally preservation-minded" for some years. They've been okay with a range of development projects, as long as the projects are not in "prime" Heights blocks, including those where BHA board members reside.
March 30, 2013, 11:29 pm
Donald from Brooklyn says:
The BHA has not been "generally preservation-minded" for some years. They've been okay with a range of development projects, as long as the projects are not in "prime" Heights blocks, including those where BHA board members reside.
March 30, 2013, 11:29 pm
sue from brooklynheights says:
Donald
Do you know how many members they have?
I think it is important that we all know this. Clearly
the BHA has a big pocketbook. But how many actual members are there.?? This need to be made public.
March 31, 2013, 12:15 pm
sue from brooklynheights says:
Donald
Do you know how many members they have?
I think it is important that we all know this. Clearly
the BHA has a big pocketbook. But how many actual members are there.?? This need to be made public.
March 31, 2013, 12:15 pm
Barb from Prospect Heights says:
In NYC, developers are God.
April 3, 2013, 3:20 pm
Elizabeth Ciconia from Brooklyn Heights says:
Besides the $$$, this ** ALL ** about keeping black people further away from the precious monied white folks Brooklyn Heights...

Of course, not all black people: under/illegally paid maids and nannies are still welcome but as far as the polloi library users... eff 'em!!!
April 5, 2013, 2:01 am
Elizabeth Ciconia from Brooklyn Heights says:
Besides the $$$, this ** ALL ** about keeping black people further away from the precious monied white folks Brooklyn Heights...

Of course, not all black people: under/illegally paid maids and nannies are still welcome but as far as the polloi library users... eff 'em!!!
April 5, 2013, 2:01 am
Elizabeth Ciconia from Brooklyn Heights says:
Besides the $$$, this is ** ALL ** about keeping black people further away from the precious monied white folks Brooklyn Heights...

Of course, not all black people: under/illegally paid maids and nannies are still welcome but as far as the polloi library users... eff 'em!!!
April 5, 2013, 2:01 am
Elizabeth C. from Brooklyn Heights says:
Besides the $$$, this is ALL about keeping black people further away from the precious monied white folks Brooklyn Heights...

Of course, not all black people: under/illegally paid maids and nannies are still welcome but as far as the polloi library users... eff 'em!!!
April 5, 2013, 2:01 am
Elizabeth C. from Brooklyn Heights says:
Bob, you know as well as I the BHA wants do anything it can the lessen the # of black people on even the margins of the Heights...

Well, except their under and illegally paid nannies and maids...

Closing the library branch with its large # of African-American patrons and workers is perfect for them.
April 5, 2013, 2:04 am

Enter your comment below

By submitting this comment, you agree to the following terms:

You agree that you, and not BrooklynPaper.com or its affiliates, are fully responsible for the content that you post. You agree not to post any abusive, obscene, vulgar, slanderous, hateful, threatening or sexually-oriented material or any material that may violate applicable law; doing so may lead to the removal of your post and to your being permanently banned from posting to the site. You grant to BrooklynPaper.com the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual and fully sublicensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part world-wide and to incorporate it in other works in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.

First name
Last name
Your neighborhood
Email address
Daytime phone

Your letter must be signed and include all of the information requested above. (Only your name and neighborhood are published with the letter.) Letters should be as brief as possible; while they may discuss any topic of interest to our readers, priority will be given to letters that relate to stories covered by The Brooklyn Paper.

Letters will be edited at the sole discretion of the editor, may be published in whole or part in any media, and upon publication become the property of The Brooklyn Paper. The earlier in the week you send your letter, the better.