Book binding! Activists say Hook library art-space deal squeezes the public

Source: Noah Hurowitz, Brooklyn Paper, July 16, 2014

A plan to rent out a big chunk of the Red Hook library branch that would close the prose depot for at least eight months is an unnecessary privatization of public reading space, say bookworms who plan to pack public hearings next week and voice their opposition. The space-sharing arrangement will have the arts group Spaceworks take over three or four tenths of the library for dance and performance space that Spaceworks will rent at supposedly affordable prices. The plan has been in the works since early last year, but the library system and the organization are now seeking approval from Community Board 6 for the renovations that would shutter the branch, and activists are gearing up for a fight over what they say is a handout at the expense of taxpayers that threatens the very notion of a library for the people. …

…The renovations are supposed to create two performance studios in the building and fix up other parts of the facility that are in disrepair . A library spokesman estimated costs for the job at $1.8 million, of which Spaceworks is supposed to provide $650,000 to cover the price of the studios. The library is then supposed to get rent from Spaceworks for as long as the organization uses the space. Neither Spaceworks nor the library would say how much the group will pay or how often….