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New BPL Head Looking to Sell Library Air Rights to Raise Funds

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The great civic sell-off of 2011 continues on from post offices and Jehovah's Witness training centers to New York's public libraries. New president and CEO of the Brooklyn Public Library, Linda Johnson, is working with the mayor's office to look for ways to "take the [BPL's] valuable real estate and use it to take care of my other assets. And not to leave that neighborhood, but just to do some kind of interesting project with a developer." For example, "selling off air rights on library property or selling a free-standing building and moving the branch into the first floor of a new privately-constructed building nearby."

Many of the 60 library branches across the borough (gifted by Andrew Carnegie over a century ago) are in rotten shape and require expensive repairs, $235 million worth at last count. To counter that, the library's annual restoration budget is only about $15 million. A sell-off would require some creative accounting, however; since the structures are owned by the city proper and not just the library, sale proceeds would typically go into the general city fund.
· Brooklyn Public Library head Linda Johnson seeking to sell some property to raise money for repairs [NYDN]