Brower Park Library to close, move to Children’s Museum

Brower Park Library to close, move to Children’s Museum
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

It is a write-off!

The Brooklyn Public Library plans on closing its Brower Park branch in Crown Heights and opening a new branch within the Brooklyn Children’s Museum two blocks away in 2019.

The current book-lending hub on St. Marks Avenue between Nostrand and New York avenues is in a rented space that is practically falling apart and needs some $5.6 million in renovations — including a new roof, heating system, and boiler — library honchos claim.

Instead of paying to fix up a building it doesn’t even own, the library says it’d rather lease a similarly-sized new space in the city-owned museum building, where it will pay comparable rents.

The Brooklyn Children’s Museum will finance the new library at an estimated $3-million, although it hasn’t raised the cash yet, a spokeswoman for Brooklyn Public Library said.

The library will stay open while the new space is being built.

In addition to Brower Park’s 20,000 titles, the Children’s Museum will take the brave step of lending out objects from its 30,000-piece collection to its sticky-fingered young clientele, according the museum’s head honcho.

“No other children’s museum in the world offers a collections lending library,” said Brooklyn Children’s Museum president Stephanie Hill Wilchfort.

The two organizations hope parents and teachers will be able to pair up the books and objects — for instance they check out an authentic Zimbabwean mask alongside John Steptoe’s “Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughter.”

Some library-goers are wary of the changes, however, and are worried the current programing won’t be the same.

“Will the same programs be offered? The have these nice workshops for the children — they show them so many things and it’s really fun for the children, so if they take that space will we still get the same things offered at the Children’s Museum?” said Wanda Clinton, who frequents Brower Park Library with her granddaughter London Davenport.

Others say they don’t mind saying goodbye to the current Brower Park so long as there is a new one coming.

“It sounds like they do have a new option plan, as opposed to closing it completely,” said Crown Heights resident Rachel Basor.

Reps from both the library and museum will discuss the plan at Community Board 8’s general meeting on Thursday.

Community Board 8 general meeting at the Concern for Independent Living (151 Rochester Ave. between St. Marks Avenue and Prospect Place in Crown Heights). Feb. 16 at 7 pm.

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at cmixson@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4505.