Linda Johnson addresses criticism about Brooklyn Public Library’s digital shift

Do the book-worm: Dance party for embattled Brooklyn libraries

Hardest working man in showbiz: Questlove gets bodies moving at the Brooklyn Public Library gala in Williamsburg on March 4.
The Brooklyn Paper
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A gala that drew a crowd of pols, literary figures, and donors to the old Williamsburgh Savings Bank event space on March 4 raised $636,000 for the Brooklyn Public Library system.

The libraries’ head honcho took a break from the revelry to address criticism from bookworms over her administra­tion’s selling off library buildings to private developers, lending out space to a private arts group for unspecified sums, and swapping out books for digital media.

“The mission we are delivering on today is the same as it was 100 years ago when the public library movement started. We’re responsible for the literacy of the borough of Brooklyn, but we’re defining literacy in a much broader way,” said Linda Johnson, president and chief executive of the system. “We’re focusing on whatever platform people feel most comfortable on, so we’re all about making sure people are digitally literate, but we also still have microfiche and everything in between.”

Guests of honor at the gala included New York Times columnist Frank Bruni, Brooklyn novelists Dinaw Mengestu and Emma Straub, and celebrity disk jockey and drummer for the Roots Questlove.

The library’s 60 branch buildings are in need of a whopping $230-million in overdue repairs, according to library trustees, and have seen their cut of the city budget shrink repeatedly in recent years.

Reach reporter Noah Hurowitz at or by calling (718) 260–4505. Follow him on Twitter @noahhurowitz
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

LaQuanda from Crown Heights says:
Linda Johnson loves parties, galas, soirees. She almost married a billionaire society mogul, after all. No doubt she had a good time at this Williamsburg bash. On a day to day basis, Ms. Johnson has taken it upon herself to streamline the BPL of books by the hundreds of thousands and entire branch libraries. She has been smiling in the face of massive cuts to her budget and then used the cuts to justify the sales of branches to luxury builders as the only way to fund repairs and maintenance to the system. Johnson's saying we can't have the Brooklyn Library without selling big chunks off to developers is quite like Regina Myer's claims that Brooklyn Bridge Park can't exist without millionaire housing. Johnson and Myer deliver -- for the 1%.
March 8, 2015, 3:43 am
Jeff from Ft Greene says:
I notice that she didn't use the word "books" in her quote about the future of the BPL...
March 9, 2015, 2:38 pm

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