For a while, several years now, foreshadowing the ultimate dismantling the Brooklyn Public Library intended, the BPL has been emptying the books from the Brooklyn Heights Library, but now they are proceeding in earnest full speed, disappearing every last vestige of the library’s collection of books.
Officially they are “moving” a substantial portion of the library, its Business Career and Education functions that once upon a time even stood on its own as a separate library “located in the commercial hub of Brooklyn since it opened in 1943" internationally renowned for its “wealth of resources.” They are "moving" it to the Grand Army Plaza Library where no new space has been created for it.
It’s now evident, that as was previously suspected, those “moved” functions tucked away in a small hidden away room look instead as if they have all but ceased to exist at all. The room has five small tables, no computers at all except for two restricting the public to catalogue access and another one at the tiny desk with one seat for the three librarians wandering through.
It’s the BPL itself that’s quoted above. Brooklyn’s libraries were once run by people who spoke and thought in such terms, not by real estate interests and political operatives catering to the priorities and schemes of hedge funds and private interests. . . .
Ironically, to get to this hidden away room you must pass down a back hallway where you might notice a vintage plaque from the old days that describes the former Business and Career Library in all its glory in these glowing terms:
The Business Library, which is the only public library on the East Coast devoted exclusively to business reference, has been located in the commercial hub of Brooklyn since it opened in 1943. The Library is internationally known for its wealth of resources, from the CD-ROM network of business, statistical and reference information, to the National Trade Data Bank, to newspaper abstracts, the New York Census Summary and much more.floor plan of just the ground floor of the Brooklyn Heights Library, a four story library in all (two underground floors to store books for immediate access) showing what the Business, Career and Education Library has been at the Brooklyn Heights location although besieged by those intent on dismantling it.
The Brooklyn Business Library and the Brooklyn Heights Branch functioned under the same roof at 197 Montague Street until 1960, when both collections moved to separate temporary quarters. In 1962, the Business and Brooklyn Heights libraries united again permanently in a spacious building at Cadman Plaza West.
In 1991, the Cadman Plaza West building underwent an extensive $5.5 million overhaul that expanded the second floor to separately accommodate the Business Library and enhance the space throughout the building. [The full upgrading and very substantial enlargement of the library was completed at the end of 1993.] The renovations also added a new auditorium and state-of-the-art technology. Through its information resources and programming the Business Library looks forward to serving Brooklyn's business community into the 21st century.
Here are some pictures of the Business, Career and Education Library (more of the entire library being lost here.- These pictures were taken on a tour of the library when it was closed.)
Truckloads of books were moved out of the Brooklyn Heights Business, Career and Education Library. Where did all of those books go? Librarians told us that any books that duplicated books that could already be found at Grand Army Plaza (part of the point of having the convenience of multiple central libraries with deep resources) would not be moved to the new location. In theory, many books would be kept off-site, not in the libraries. Books would be "curated," librarian code for culled out and discarded. Seeming to confirm this, those packing and transporting the books spoke of the many books headed for discard.
Here are the books disappearing as the shelves are completely emptied.
We were told that the BPL will convert auditorium space.
|What's promised- promised?|
It's best not to judge the BPL intent by what it promises with pretty pictures. It's better to judge its intentions by what it is actually providing.
|Is the once internationally renowned Business, Career and Education Library located here? There is no reference to it when you look at the directory signs entering the Grand Army Plaza Library.- Click to enlarge and scan more closely|
|On the second floor you can find this sign for the "Business and Career Library". Where does it actually point to? Hint: It's not this little stack of books. It actually seems to point to the "History, Biography and Religion" room.|
|The sign and what comes next appears to lead you into the "History, Biography and Religion" room and no where else.|
Is it irony or something intentional on the BPL's part that it is featuring displays of art that ignore the sacred function of books, and conceptually reworks them into physical objects to chopped up, shredded and destroyed? Remember that administrators could have used these display cases for something to interest people somehow in the content of the books in the library's collection.
how to understand and address climate change? The BPL's central science library collection has a scant few books devoted to the subject.
|A very minimal few books in the Science section of Brooklyn's biggest library about climate change.|
|A globe in use at the old NYPL Donnell central library. You won't find Donnell there anymore and you will find it very difficult to find a globe in the NYPL system. There isn't one in the Mid-Manhattan Library which was supposed to take up Donnell's functions. There also isn't one in the 34th Street Science, Industry and Business Library which the NYPL wants to sell although it cost $100 million to build in 1996|
|Reference globes now in the Portland Oregon Library. It has a fabulous map room|
|All the shelves of all three floors of the Portland library are crammed with available books. Portland has a population of just over 600,000 compared to Brooklyn's population of over 2.6 million.|
That day while we were there two people found there back back to the BCE room.
One was researching corporate bank manipulation schemes. Not finding what was needed the patron had enlisted a librarian's aid and that was not working out either although the librarians was search the computer screen on her desk.
The other patron wanted a college test preparation book which was found, and also needed help about locating resources to find a job.
|The BCE is the library where you would go to learn about the real estate industry in New York. It has a few books on this shelve about zoning.|