Bringing Books Back To Park Slope

After nearly three years of renovations, the Park Slope branch of the Brooklyn Public Library (BPL) will finally reopen some time after Labor Day.

This is welcome news for local residents and community leaders, who have waited eagerly for the landmarked building to be open to the public again.

“I walk by here all the time wondering when it’s going to open,” said one Park Sloper named Karen. “I’m so curious to see what they’ve done with it that I want to check it out just to see it.”

In September of 2009, the library was closed for $2 million worth of renovations. New additions such as an elevator, new heating, ventilation and air-conditioning system, as well as an outdoor ramp and restrooms to accommodate handicapped visitors, and new lighting, floors, furniture, and finishes were among the list.

A two-year construction schedule was set, but this past March, BPL announced that more time would be needed to address deterioration of support structures in the main floor.

Debbie, who moved to Park Slope last August, says she never had a chance to step inside the beautiful building, and was under the impression that she would get the chance to visit in March.

“Its kind of an eyesore, since there’s always a lot of trash outside in front of it,” she said. “I do see people in there from time to time and we’re excited for it to be finished.”

“We are pleased they are going to be incorporating modern conveniences like the self service check out into a classically designed library,” said Michael Cairl, president of the Park Slope Civic Council. Cairl added that the new, modern amenities will give the library “the best of both worlds.”

Local mom Maggie said she and her family moved right when the construction began and she only had the opportunity to use the library “a handful of times.”

“I’m looking forward to seeing what it looks like inside, we are excited for it to re-open and if they do activities for kids, because this is a whole new world for us,”  Maggie said, adding that she’ll now have the chance to introduce her five-month-old son Owen to every aspect of comfort the library has to offer.

“What I would love is for them to take down the fence. I don’t know if there are laws against that but I look at it longingly and think it would be so nice to picnic or hang out with babies in the shade under the trees,” said Maggie.

In 1906, the library was built as an Andrew Carnegie library. Interior features include two tiled fireplaces, a vaulted stained-glass ceiling, strained glass archways which support by freestanding columns, which still remain in the structure today.

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