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Lander Vows To Support Carroll Library Despite Low Votes

The library did not qualify for Participatory Budget monies.

It's back to the drawing board for supporters of the proposal to facilitate more community access, WiFi, and amenities at the . The project failed to receive enough votes to qualify for a share of the $1 million up for grabs this weekend.

City Councilmember Brad Lander has committed to push forward on the project to meet the community's needs, telling Patch, "Through the Participatory Budgeting process, we have been able to talk to staff at the Brooklyn Public Library, the new Friends of Carroll Gardens Library group and the local residents who were involved in the process, about improving ease of access to the community room and extending the wireless service," he said. "I am optimistic that we will be able to take some steps forward, without spending capital dollars, to meet this need in the Carroll Gardens community.”*

This weekend, 2,213 residents of Lander’s Brooklyn district voted in NYC’s first “participatory budgeting” election, a new initiative that let community members decide how to spend their tax dollars on projects in their neighborhood.

"I was overwhelmed by the turnout and deep level of engagement, and I’m thrilled that we are funding the projects that the people have prioritized,” Lander said in a prepared statement.

Voters selected from among 20 projects proposed by neighborhood residents, including one to renovate the Carroll Library’s lower level into a children’s activity room with new furniture, and a community room equipped with stage lighting and an audiovisual system. These new spaces would be used for a range of events, from community group meetings and gatherings, to plays and concerts. 

Nearby projects in Gowanus and Park Slope, however, will benefit from the vote. 

A Bathroom Renovation for the Children of PS 124 received an overwhelming 958 votes to renovate two dysfunctional bathrooms that serve over 136 of the youngest students daily in a high-needs elementary school. Approximately $150,000 has been ear-marked for the cause.

Meanwhile, a project called Brooklyn Neighbors Composting to create a pest-free, smell-free compost system near Gowanus Canal using 1 ton per day of kitchen food scraps collected at local greenmarkets and schools to create rich soil for gardens, parks, and trees received 919 votes and was designated $165,000

The complete list of other winning projects are available on Councilmember Brad Lander's site. 

Where else can the community find the money to improve the library? Share your ideas in the comments below.

*This article has been updated from its original version to include a quote from Councilmember Brad Lander that was sent after press time.

Jenny April 02, 2012 at 03:06 PM
it's admirable that he's willing to fight for this even though there wasn't enough voter support.
Jay Broni April 02, 2012 at 04:13 PM
I'm always happy to see attention--and money--paid to our neighborhood's libraries. But...a children's activity room?? Does EVERY aspect of public life in Cobble Hill/Carroll Gardens have to be tweaked for the benefits of the encroaching one-percenters and their spawn nowadays? And while a new audio-visual system isn't the worst of ideas, when I walk into the Carroll Gardens NYPL, my first thought is, WHERE ARE ALL THE BOOKS??? How 'bout spending money on more of them???
Joanna Prisco April 02, 2012 at 04:25 PM
Councilmember just responded back to Carroll Gardens Patch with a quote: "Through the Participatory Budgeting process, we have been able to talk to staff at the Brooklyn Public Library, the new Friends of Carroll Gardens Library group and the local residents who were involved in the process, about improving ease of access to the community room and extending the wireless service. I am optimistic that we will be able to take some steps forward, without spending capital dollars, to meet this need in the Carroll Gardens community.” Jay, I know this doesn't address your question about the books. But I will follow up with the library and Friends to see if I can find out any more information regarding that.
barbara barna abel April 03, 2012 at 02:48 PM
As a weekly user of the Carroll Gardens branch of the Brooklyn Public Library I can answer Jay's question about books by saying they are all over Brooklyn - a fantastic bonus of the electronic age is that anyone with a valid BPL library card now has access to the entire collection throughout all the branches. You place a hold online on the library website and your book is delivered to your branch for pick up. Increasingly books are available for electronic download to e-readers as well. The library remains a crucial community resource and serves a diverse constituency.
Maude Adams April 04, 2012 at 11:46 AM
I know where all the books are: Out on Union Street, in plastic bags, waiting for the Sanitation truck! It's discouraging to walk past once or twice a year and see hardcover books in good condition being thrown away by the "librarians." Whatever happened to keeping a shelf of unwanted books available for sale inside? This used to be an ongoing fund-raiser at this branch. Now they have a mammoth sale once a year, and if you're not around that day, too bad. For you and the books.

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