The Park Slope Civic Council has passed a resolution urging the preservation of the Pacific Street branch of the Brooklyn Public Library, which has suggested selling the current building and moving its resources to a site now under development.
The resolution was approved unanimously at the Civic Council’s monthly trustees meeting on March 7. The vote is the latest in various community efforts to maintain the library at its current spot on the corner of Pacific Street and Fourth Avenue.
The branch is historically significant among local libraries. In the early 20th century, steel baron Andrew Carnegie endowed the construction of hundreds of public libraries across the country. On Oct. 8, 1904, the Pacific Street building was the first such Carnegie-endowed library opened to the public in Brooklyn, to be followed by 20 others around the borough. A century later, in 2004, the Civic Council urged that the branch be given landmark status by the city.
Civic Council President Michael Cairl commended the Historic District and Forth on Fourth Avenue Committees for their work in developing the resolution and reaching out to other community partners. “Preservation of the Pacific Branch Library is vital to the Park Slope community and to our neighbors in Boerum Hill and Gowanus,” he said. “It is a matter of natural importance to the Civic Council, alongside the expansion of the Park Slope Historic District and our initiatives on Fourth Avenue, among many others.”
Moving forward, members of the Historic District and FOFA Committees will coordinate with other local organizations and interested people on a campaign to save the Pacific Street Branch; related meetings and activities will be posted on the Civic Council website. To learn more about campaign efforts, e-mail the Civic Council’s Forth on Fourth Avenue Committee at email@example.com or Historic District Committee at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also help in the effort to save this important community resource and other branches around the city by signing an online petition here.
The Complete Resolution
Whereas the Park Slope Civic Council recognizes the historic value of the Pacific Branch Library of the Brooklyn Public Library, having requested New York City Landmark status for the building in 2004;
Whereas the Pacific Branch Library of the Brooklyn Public Library System is in imminent danger of being sold and subsequently demolished;
Whereas the Pacific Branch Library currently is well used by residents of adjacent communities and students in nearby schools that lack libraries and is an important resource to them; and
Whereas the Park Slope Civic Council is concerned that current library users would not be well served by the library’s relocation to a site north of Flatbush;
Now therefore be it resolved that the Park Slope Civic Council Board of Trustees authorize the following actions on the part of the Civic Council:
- Immediate resubmission to the Landmarks Commission of a Request for Evaluation of Landmark Status for the Pacific Branch Library,
- Submission of an application for inclusion of the Pacific Branch Library on the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s 2013 list of the 11 Most Endangered Historic Places in the United States,
- Public affirmation of the belief that the services provided by the existing Pacific Branch Library should continue to be provided in the current Pacific Branch location, thereby remaining in the neighborhood immediately served by the library, and
- Collaboration with other organizations working to sustain the Pacific Branch Library, including active support of public forums and campaigns directed toward that end.
Photo by John Casson