This library is starting a new chapter!
Locals book worms were delighted to discover the first floor of Brooklyn Public Library’s Coney Island branch had reopened last week, after the building was shuttered in April to accommodate a $1 million renovation project designed to prepare the book lender for the 21st century.
“I’ve been watching all the repairs and waiting the whole summer for the library to open again!” said Coney Island resident and avid reader, Etermia Henderson, 29. “The library is my home away from home.”
The more than century-old library threw open its doors on Sept. 4, five months after Brooklyn Public Library contractors kicked off demolition work to pave the way for the building’s second-floor renovations, which will add a new heating and cooling system, a large LED screen, and more than 20 laptops, which locals will be able to borrow, among other improvements.
The makeover, slated to wrap up by January, 2020, will reorganize and expand the space, and feature a space designed for Coney kids, according to a library spokeswoman.
“The enhancement of the second floor, which will include a new improved layout, in turn means the first floor will become a dedicated children’s space, a request made by many in the community,” said Fritzi Bodenheimer.
Although the library’s adult media classes hosted by arts-and-culture organization Bric will be suspended until the renovations’ completion, local bookworms were thrilled that they could use the first-floor reading room again.
“Finally, the library’s back!” said Jenn Rosas, 22, who visits the library once a week. “It’s a neighborhood staple. It’s a place for everybody and was really missed.”
This is the library’s second renovation in recent memory, and the book lender was forced to close for about a year after Superstorm Sandy flooded the building with five feet of water in 2012, forcing the borough’s library system to replace plumbing, flooring, computers, electrical wiring, furniture, and thousands of books at a cost of $2 million.
Councilman Mark Treyger (D–Coney Island) and Borough President Adams together allocated more than $1 million toward the renovations’ total $1.4-million cost, Bodenheimer said in February, adding that the rest of the funds came from city capital funds and a private donor.