The city’s three public library systems [NYPL, Brooklyn, Queens] have released a report showcasing the ongoing and serious maintenance crisis plaguing their 216 branches.
“Time to Renew: Update on the $1 Billion Maintenance Crisis In Our Libraries” highlights 10 of the worst examples of branches in serious disrepair, including:
- Pacific Library in Brooklyn, which uses loud, ineffective portable chillers to compensate for faulty air conditioning
- West Farms Library in the Bronx, which needs to cover several of its children’s computers every time it rains because of a leaky roof
- Countee Cullen Library in Manhattan, which has insufficient and outdated power electric that fails when the branch uses space heaters due to failing HVAC
- Rosedale Library in Queens, which is one of the smallest in the borough, and has mold and mildew in its basement from chronic flooding
- Great Kills Library in Staten Island, which can’t keep up with the 40% increase in programming attendance because deteriorating walls and windows leave the community room unusable from water and excessive temperatures
The report states that the city’s libraries need about $1 billion in capital funding to correct maintenance issues that interfere with their ability to serve the public, such as chronic flooding, faulty AC and heaters, overcrowding, outdated electric, broken elevators, and inaccessible space.
The city’s three library systems – The Brooklyn Public Library, The New York Public Library, and Queens Library – are asking the city for $150 million in new capital funding in Fiscal Year 2018 for critical maintenance to help address the issue.
The report is part of the multi-year “Invest in Libraries” campaign to fight for increased resources and ensure that New Yorkers have the libraries that they need and deserve.
Since the campaign launched three years ago, it has generated strong support from authors and celebrities such as Junot Diaz, Judy Blume, Tom Wolfe, Robert Caro, Anna Deavere Smith, Jeff Kinney, and – this year – Malcolm Gladwell, who kicked off a letter-writing campaign to elected officials in the branches and online at investinlibraries.org.
Direct to Full Text Report: Time to Renew: Update on the $1 Billion Maintenance Crisis in our Libraries”