Brooklynites value their books, but some branches of the Brooklyn Public Library just aren’t seeing any play. Aging, in disrepair and underused, these satellite libraries were built in the early 1900s before most neighborhoods developed and have since become mini ghost towns. Rather than spending $230 million for the needed repairs, BPL is considering shutting down its less popular branches, which means that some of these historic buildings could become available for other types of businesses.
The smaller library branches sprouted up before most Brooklyn neighborhoods had established themselves and after one hundred years of urban sprawl and development, they’ve ended up in isolated or awkward areas, causing low circulation and program attendance. Instead of spending millions to renovate these spaces, which would most likely remain underused due to their locations anyway, BPL is considering opening smaller, more modern branches in areas that are more convenient for visitors.
So what will happen to these forgotten branches (some of which were constructed by Andrew Carnegie in the early 1900s in Brownsville, Red Hook and Fort Greene)? Since these locations hold historical merit, the library is in full support of preserving them but with adaptations into other uses. If the plan is agreed upon, we could see new libraries spring up in more accessible places and perhaps some cool eateries, offices or shops take over the old locations.