Sunset Park residents received a glimpse of the future on Tuesday.
The Brooklyn Public Library gave area residents an extensive look at renderings for the new 21,000-square-foot Sunset Park Library, which has been under construction since ground was broken in February, at the neighborhood’s interim branch at 4201 Fourth Ave.
The June 18 open house was attended by Councilmember Carlos Menchaca, BPL representatives, architects and community members.
David Woloch, executive vice president for external affairs for BPL, was excited to share the design for the new library which is slated to open in 2021, with 49 affordable housing units on top. Woloch said the new library will feature flexible space and separate areas for children, teens and adults.
“We’ve had a robust process over the last few years to get approval for the new library,” he told this paper. “It’s going to reflect a lot of the feedback that came up in dialogue with stakeholders.”
BPL engaged over 350 individuals to participate in the long public input process, collecting 195 surveys from library patrons and staff and holding 13 stakeholder meetings, four focus groups and two large public workshops in four languages.
Locals asked for things such as space separation, technology access, flexibility and ADA accessibility.
As attendees enter on Fourth Avenue, they will venture into the large vestibule and see a large area that will also serve as stroller storage. A multi-purpose room will seat over 100 people for large community events, with doors that can be closed off to separate it from the rest of the library.
There will also be plenty of natural light, a community room with flexible furniture, projectors and two projection screens, adult soft seating and powered reading tables with Wi-Fi. Large arch communion stairs will take library patrons to upper and lower levels.
“Along the blue wall there will be inspirational quotes in languages that represent the entire neighborhood,” said Angela Fisher, associate at architecture firm Mitchell Giurgola.
Laptop lockers will be available for rent. There will also be a space for a 3D printer, a small recording studio and a space dedicated to showcasing artwork from area teens and local artists.
On the second floor, a large desk will separate elementary school-age kids from children under five. There will be at least one changing table in each restroom on each floor, and a tutoring room.
The entire facility will be ADA-accessible.
CB7 District Manager Jeremy Laufer was impressed with the plans for the space.
“I think it’s something that people were very happy to see,” he told this paper. “It’s going to be a great addition to the community.”
Over the years, Sunset Park’s library has been one of the most frequented branches despite being small and outdated.
“Our schools are overcrowded and one of the places people can go for academic help or to do research or study is the library,” Laufer said. “We have very few places for public assembly in the entire community.”
CB7 Chairperson Cesar Zuniga was equally impressed with the building’s affordable housing component.
“The affordable housing part is just another win for the entire community,” he said. “It’s 100 percent affordable. We have to find more ways to replicate this across Sunset Park.”