Saving Schools and Libraries by Giving Up the Land They Sit On

“The Brooklyn Heights library is neither the oldest nor the most dilapidated branch of the Brooklyn Public Library system. But the 52-year-old limestone building is nonetheless ripe for demolition. It sits on land that developers crave, in a fashionable neighborhood where housing is in high demand. And so the library system, desperate for money to pay for $230 million in long-deferred repairs for its 60 branches, has embraced a novel financing model that is increasingly being used around New York City as a way to pay for government services.” (via NYTimes.com)

One Response to “Saving Schools and Libraries by Giving Up the Land They Sit On”

  1. Damian
    March 20, 2013 at 2:24 pm #

    As the concept of library becomes more virtual then physical, perhaps it is time to move libraries back to rented space. Libraries are more often getting reorganized around technology upgrades rather then book collection upgrades. Perhaps selling prime space, and setting up long term leases in malls (with clauses that if the mall volume drops below a certain amount they get new space) makes more sense for all. Improves traffic for mall. Easier for public transportation use (typically) in suburbia, greater flexibility for growing and updating then many ‘permanent’ locations and a variety of other benefits (parking costs shared). The one missing point is the tax savings of the property that libraries are on, but this is a sort of trade by putting it back into the community good, so perhaps local taxing bodies could refund/feed a startup to the libraries to help them get more property on the tax roles.

    The permanence of physical buildings is quickly coming to an end, and libraries need to embrace more rapid change. I think new locations can often help encourage that mindset shift.

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