First new library in almost 40 years coming to Dumbo

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Library leaders plan to transform part of an old Dumbo warehouse into a new library, book lenders announced on Thursday, who said the new stacks will be the first addition to the borough’s public library system in nearly four decades.

“We are thrilled to begin work on the first new library in our system in almost 40 years,” said Linda Johnson, president of Brooklyn Public Library. “Like every one of our branches, the Dumbo neighborhood library will be a place where the community can come together to read and learn.”

Brooklyn Public Library bigwigs plan to open the 135 Plymouth St. branch — the first new library in the borough since 1983, when the Cortelyou branch debuted — for locals living in Dumbo, Vinegar Hill, and the Farragut Houses by 2020, making it the 60th reading room in Kings County.

Officials said they will lease about 6,500 square feet of space from a private family-run business, Dom Ben Realty Corporation, which owns the landmarked 7-story building between Adams and Pearl streets, to build the new stacks along with room for programming, laptops and desktops, and other technology, which will help students thrive in the 21st century, according to the local pol.

“Libraries are an important part of the fabric of a community and this new Brooklyn Public Library location will be a welcomed addition to the Dumbo, Vinegar Hill and Farragut Houses neighborhoods,” said Councilman Stephen Levin (D–Dumbo).

Library honchos will use capital funding from the city along with some of the $52 million raked in through the redevelopment of the Brooklyn Heights Library — which real-estate firm Hudson Companies razed and is building anew at 1 Clinton St. with a 36-story tower on top of it — to pick up the tab for the planned Dumbo branch, according to a library rep, who said they tapped New York-based architecture firm Workac, which also redesigned the Brooklyn Academy of Music in Fort Greene and Issue Project Room in Downtown, to create the new stacks.

Now, Dumbo residents must schlep to the temporary Brooklyn Heights branch at Remsen Street’s Our Lady of Lebanon Church to check out a book, and so a library for Dumbo and Vinegar Hill residents to call their own is a win for the community, according to the leader of the local civic group.

“We’re very happy to have a library in Dumbo, on the Vinegar Hill side,” said Doreen Gallo, who heads the Dumbo Neighborhood Alliance.

Officials expect to break ground on the Dumbo branch, which will have a 25-year lease on Plymouth Street, in mid-2019 to have it ready to welcome in book worms by 2020, according to the rep, who said Brooklyn Public Library and Workac bigwigs will launch a community input process in the fall to plan the new stacks.

Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718) 260–4577 or by e-mail at jcuba@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.