THE ATLANTIC, CITYLAB — New York City has 207 branch libraries across the five boroughs, and their average age is 61 years old. And that’s the average; at least 52 branches are old enough to remember World War I. While everyone loves a nice historical building, many of these libraries unfortunately act their age. In September, the Center for an Urban Future estimated that New York’s branches need $1.1 billion just to achieve a state of good repair.
The average branch library in New York is 61 years old; above, age by borough, left-to-right: Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, Staten Island. (Center for an Urban Future)
The CUF reports describes the situation as being “on the verge of a maintenance crisis.” It’s not just that the libraries are crumbling—though many do suffer poor ventilation, lack of light, water leaks, and heating or cooling malfunctions. It’s also that they’re ill-equipped for modern life. Many lack sufficient power outlets for laptops (the McKinley Park branch in Brooklyn, for instance, has no place to plug-in at all) or activity space for community events or continuing education programs.
To bolster their findings, CUF partnered with the Architectural League of New York for a study of possible designs to improve New York’s branch library system. Yesterday those concepts were released during a public showcase. Let’s take a glimpse at New York’s library of the future.
View the entire article at CityLab.com