I just noticed the news that the Brooklyn Public Library is selling the land of it's current Brooklyn Heights branch for $52 Million to developer Hudson Companies who will build a new library and market rate apartments on that space.
The new library will be physically smaller than the current but the press release says there will be more "usable" space in the new than currently available. Market rate for the area which is across from Cadman Plaza will make the apartments among the most expensive in the borough.
Personally I have no qualm with any of this. I don't know the exact number of people who make use of the library but I worked on a BPL project a few years back and the purpose of that project was their constant need to raise funds. Budgets have been tight at the libraries for decades. If the BPL can raise some much needed funds, without entirely closing a branch, in a neighborhood where I'm guess you'll find on average more private libraries in homes than most neighborhoods have books in their own public library, I don't see a major loss.
The libraries do need to continue finding ways to expand the vital services they provide like internet access and skills training so that they can stay viable and fund their branches in less well off neighborhoods. Selling the branch for apartments isn't going to be a revenue stream going forward.
I could be wrong. Do you have any thoughts to share?
News reports from NY1 http://www.ny1.com/content/news/215639/brooklyn-public-library-votes-to-sell-brooklyn-heights-branch-to-private-developer/
Brooklyn Eagle: http://www.brooklyneagle.com/articles/2014/9/16/breaking-brooklyn-public-library-approves-52-million-sale-brooklyn-heights-branch
And the most comprehensive coverage I found was on the Brooklyn Heights Blog: