Starting a new chapter: Pols come up with funds to move C’Heights library into children’s museum

Starting a new chapter: Pols come up with funds to move C’Heights library into children’s museum
Two-for-one: City officials pledged $3.3 million in capital funding to cover the costs of relocating the Brooklyn Public Library’s Brower-Park branch to the Brooklyn Children’s Museum in Crown Heights.
Brooklyn Children’s Museum

It’s a novel combination.

The city is forking over $3.3 million to cover the costs of moving the Brooklyn Public Library’s Brower Park branch in Crown Heights into the Brooklyn Children’s Museum two blocks away, creating a two-for-one cultural hub where kids can check out books and artifacts from the museum’s 30,000-piece collection, according to the city’s chief culture officer.

“The state-of-the-art facility will give youth … the rare opportunity to not only read about art, culture, and science, but to see it, touch it, hold it, smell it, and experience it in whole new ways,” said Cultural Affairs Commissioner Tom Finkelpearl.

Library honchos announced they wanted to relocate the book lender from its ramshackle digs on St. Marks Place between Nostrand and New York avenues earlier this year, claiming the rental property required $8-million worth of repairs including a new roof, heating system, and boiler, according to a spokeswoman. They chose the city-owned museum, which offered a snazzier space at a comparable rate, as its new home in February, but lacked the funds needed to make the move at the time.

A trio of pols including Mayor DeBlasio, Borough President Adams, and Councilman Robert Cornegy (D–Crown Heights) stepped in on Oct. 26, announcing that together they came up with the tax-payer-funded cash required to fund the relocation.

The library, which hosts events and classes for kids and adults, will remain open until the new space is ready sometime in 2019.

It will offer the same programs following its move, in addition to a new suite of around 20,000 titles geared mostly toward youngsters, but more mature patrons will have to make do with an abridged grown-ups’ section, according to a rep for the book lender.

Brooklyn Children’s Museum, which opened in 1899, was one of the first institutions of its kind to loan patrons items from its collection when it began delivering boxes filled with artifacts to local schools in the early 20th century.

Honchos expanded the lending program to include all museum members in the 1920s, according to a spokesman, who said the borrowing stopped when the institution moved out of its original building in 1965.

And staff are thrilled to reinstate the one-of-a-kind initiative following its about-50-year hiatus, according to the institution’s chief.

“Brooklyn Children’s Museum will resume its tradition of lending items from the collection, making it the only children’s museum in the world to offer this service,” said Stephanie Hill Wilchfort, the museum’s president.

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

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