Sign-mon says: Library placard has bookworms confused

Sign-mon says: Library placard has bookworms confused
Steve Solomonson

The Ryder Branch of the Brooklyn Public Library is shutting down for a month to install self-checkout machines, but a sign on the front of the still-open branch announcing the closure had patrons more confused than they were the first time they used the Dewey Decimal System.

The sign, which was zip-tied to a fence in front of the library, was to the point: “Library closed for technology upgrade.”

Problem was, the library was very much open for business.

“The sign said ‘we’re closed,’ but I walked in and they said they were actually open,” said Carmine Gallo, who tutors kids at the branch four days a week. “It was a mess.”

The branch, on 23rd Avenue between 59th and 60th streets, will close on Nov. 4 to install two self-check-out machines, replaces the circulation desk with two smaller desks, and installs book return slots. It’s scheduled to reopen on Dec. 12

But library closures in the borough have often taken longer than planned. Park Slope’s library was originally set to be closed for 18 months, but library officials ended up stretching it to two years.

Still, Library spokesman Jason Carey said that unlike those branches, Ryder is not expected to be closed longer than a month.

“This installation is fairly simple,” he said. “Other projects like Fort Hamilton and Park Slope are complete renovations and tend to be much more complex for many reasons.”

But even a month is too long for some patrons: After extending library hours, Bensonhurst readers were looking forward to spending even more time in the library.

Library officials scrambled to streamline services when the mayor’s budget threatened to chop more than $20 million from its $82-million allocation to Brooklyn’s library system, but the city restored all but $1 million of the funding, freeing up more funds to extend hours.