Long overdue Fort Hamilton library branch to reopen on Monday

Long overdue Fort Hamilton library branch to reopen on Monday

It’s finally time to hit the books.

After three years of renovations, the Fort Hamilton branch of the Brooklyn Public Library will reopen on Monday, offering modern technology with a historical interior finish.

“You don’t usually think of a library and think excitement,” said Malika Granville, a spokeswoman for the library. “But we know people are going to appreciate the new and old aspects of the branch.”

In addition to eight adult computers and eight children’s computers, there will be new “self-check-out” machines and several new multi-media areas.

“We wanted to give our users what they needed,” said Granville.

Today, that means modern equipment, but the original design was stately and classical, in keeping with philanthropist Andrew Carnegie’s wishes when he paid for 18 public libraries in Brooklyn in the turn-of-the-century era.

The $3.3-million restoration project was begun with great fanfare exactly three years ago. It was supposed to last just 18 months, but workers discovered extensive wood damage from termites, causing several delays.

“We were gone for a while and we know the community missed the branch,” Granville said. “Its opening is like a homecoming for a lot of people. “

The bad news, of course, is that while the library has been undergoing its physical transformation, the library system has slashed services and hours. When the branch reopens on Monday, its hours will be limited to weekdays, joining the 27 branch libraries in the borough that have no weekend hours and the 14 additional branches that are closed two days per week.

Reopening of the Fort Hamilton Library [9424 Fourth Ave. between 94th and 95th streets in Bay Ridge, (718) 748-6919], March 28 at 10 am. Library hours are Monday and Friday, 10 am-6 pm; Tuesday and Thursday, 1-8 pm; Wednesday, 1-6 pm. Closed on weekends.

A plaque inside the Fourth Avenue library pays tribute to the original designers.