Sunday, March 24, 2013
Children's Room, Pacific Library
I still can't get over the fact that a BPL official referred to this room as prison-like. It's a gem of a children's room, loved by children, parents & librarians alike. A bright lived-in space, separate from the adults, with well-stocked shelves, pictures on the walls, and a minimum of tech-ware. This is part of a library now being presented as "antiquated and poorly suited for modern library service". And what will replace this antiquated library (the first Carnegie library in Brooklyn, with the first Carnegie Children's Room)?
"Two Trees Management Company, a Brooklyn-based real estate developer, is currently building a multiuse cultural and housing complex at the corner of Flatbush Avenue and Ashland Place, two blocks from the existing Pacific branch. BPL has an exciting opportunity to build a new, 16,500-square-foot branch to replace the current aging facility. ...BPL plans to sell the existing Pacific branch and use the proceeds generated by the sale to pay for the fit out of the new Pacific branch. Fit out costs include new collections, technology, furniture and fittings."
Two blocks away across the divide of an insanely busy Flatbush Avenue, a real barrier when most of the users live south of Flatbush. And if the fit out at the Park Slope branch is anything to go by, "new collections" will mean out with the old & fewer new books to replace them - part of a transition, it seems, to books stored in distant repositories rather than available on the shelves of your local library. A fit out means a library where the virtual trumps the physical, & the space has all the charm of a hotel lobby. No crayoned pictures on these walls, please.
Here's the library in 1958:
Brooklyn Visual Heritage
and here's a look at the interior from the library's early days:
The Brooklyn Collection, BPL