Dirty money: Library uses oil spill payout to fund new eco-friendly branch

One for the books: Rendering of the new-look Greenpoing library branch.
Brooklyn Paper
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It takes more than a new library to get in these Greenpoint­ers’ good books.

The Brooklyn Public Library will use money Exxon-Mobil paid out for spilling 30 million gallons of oil into the Newtown Creek to fund its planned $11-million makeover of the Greenpoint branch, but residents say that doesn’t mean they’ll be shelving their anger over the environmental disaster — which some believe is behind the high levels of certain kinds of cancer in the nabe.

“I think it needs to be said that this is happening because so many people died of cancer,” said Williamsburg resident Janice Peterson at a recent Community Board 1 meeting, where the library unveiled the latest designs for the site.

The oil giant shelled out $19.5 million to the community in 2014 for its dirty deeds, and now the library system is using $5 million of that for a massive overhaul of its homely Norman Avenue book-borrowing emporium, while kicking in $6 million of its own funds.

The literary-lending organization plans to tear down the shabby one-story brick building at the corner of Leonard Street some time in the next few months and erect a new structure twice its size, according to a library rep.

The proposed building is intended to be environmentally friendly — despite the filthy lucre funding it — and current designs include a public rooftop park, a rainwater harvesting system, and a dedicated space for community groups to hold environmental workshops and meetings.

The new digs will also house a “teen room” filled with young adult literature and computers in an effort to lure in more young people, said a spokeswoman.

“It’s really important that we draw in teens,” said Ames O’Neill.

Construction will take take 18 months and wrap up in spring of 2018, officials claim — although library renovations have a history of taking much longer than promised. Workers took three years to complete recent overhauls on Fort Hamilton Library in Bay Ridge and the Park Slope Library, instead of the 18 months they were supposed to take.

Reach reporter Madeline Anthony by e-mail at or by pnone at (718) 260–8321.
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Rob from Greenpoint says:
Great! But this is just as ugly as the current one. Can we get architects that know how to design for humans?
April 26, 2016, 12:38 pm
Marta from Greenpoint says:
I love the current library as is. The librarians are great!
April 26, 2016, 5:28 pm
Marta from Greenpoint says:
Instead of tearing down the building, they should be fixing it up a little and paying the librarians more!
April 26, 2016, 5:29 pm
Julia from Greenpoint says:
An improvement over the last tinker proposal. It's a 'look', with a lot of arbitrary pomp. Fussy scissor split of the current structure, in a false effort to appear closer to 'human scale'. Simplify! Refine! It will save you money.

The neighbors seem to be encroaching on the rear yard of the block?
April 26, 2016, 8:14 pm
Julia ah ah ah ah says:
The Bushwick Inlet Park facility was designed by a capable green architect. And who designed the Williamsburg Community Center, as they seemed to have come up with a nice streamlined budget solution?
April 26, 2016, 9:03 pm
Bazooka Joe says:
Just to mix things up, I'm dropping the UNAM bomb.
April 26, 2016, 10:39 pm
John Dereszewski from formerly from Greenpoint says:
This whole story is filled with irony. In the late 1960's the original Greenpoint Library - a wonderful Carnegie building - was needlessly demolished and replaced by the current bland monstrosity. And now a third library - which will certainly be a great improvement - will soon rise on this spot. However, given the Brooklyn Library's dreadful record in completing projects on time, this project must be monitored very closely.
April 27, 2016, 9:39 am
Julia from Greenpoint says:
Bland monstrosity it may be, at least it's not arbitrary. That heavy as f roof floats indoors and the walls nicked of their connections are free standing.
April 28, 2016, 3:36 pm
Me from Bay Ridge says:
" In the late 1960's the original Greenpoint Library - a wonderful Carnegie building - was needlessly demolished and replaced by the current bland monstrosity." -- same in Sunset Park. Still mad.
April 29, 2016, 7:13 am
Julia from Greenpoint says:
I miss the beloved Carnegie libraries too. But replacing something thoughtful with a superfice is no better.
April 29, 2016, 3:13 pm

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