Brooklyn, Queens and New York public libraries have a billion-dollar backlog of unmet capital improvements.
As a gap-closing measure, Mayor Bill de Blasio carved out $600 million in his 10-year capital plan while the systems have resorted to selling property and partnering with developers. The result, says Real Estate Weekly, is a construction boom aiming to make city libraries more accessible, more efficient and better suited to do more than lend books.
New York’s library system encompasses four million square feet, and 207 locations. They see about 40 million visitors a year.
The average library in the city is about 65 years old while the oldest buildings sponsored by Andrew Carnegie date back more than a century. Upgrades range from complying with the Americans with Disabilities Act to installing new air conditioners, elevators and, in some cases, entire new wings.