According to a report from the Center for an Urban Future, covered in the Wall Street Journal, New York City's public libraries are in a bad way. The three public library branches are in need of "at least $1.1 billion" in repairs, as "more than half of the city's 207 library buildings are over 50 years old and a quarter of them (52 branches) are at least 100 years old." Brooklyn's libraries are in the worst shape, with 51 of the system's 59 branch buildings needing more than $1 million in repairs and malfunctioning heating and cooling systems (for the most part) causing 140 unplanned closures last year.
The report also points out that between 2004 and 2013, more than half (59 percent) of the money for public libraries came from discretionary funds from City Council and borough presidents, a higher percentage than any other city institution. It calls on Mayor de Blasio "to not only transform libraries across the five boroughs, but to put them on a more sustainable path for the growing number of residents who depend on them." The report points out that other major American cities like Chicago, Seattle, Los Angeles, and San Francisco have all launched major campaigns in recent years to revitalize their public library systems. In New York, no such plans have been brought forward — the closest thing we have is libraries planning to sell their own buildings to condo developers to raise money. Hey, it's working for hospitals and parks. Sort of.
· Re-envisioning New York's Branch Libraries [Center for an Urban Future]
· New York City Public Library Branches Need $1.1 Billion in Repairs: Report [WSJ]
· Brooklyn Public Library coverage [Curbed]