Later this month, a Dyker Heights library will become just one of seven in the borough to be open to the public seven days a week.
The McKinley Park branch of the Brooklyn Public Library, at 6802 Fort Hamilton Parkway, is the fourth busiest in Brooklyn – one of the reasons why BPL chose to extend its hours to a seventh day. The branch’s new hours will take effect on September 14.
Dianne Mack-Harvin, the executive director of the BPL, shared the “wonderful news” during a Friday press conference at the library that was organized by City Councilmember Vincent Gentile, and attended by City Councilmember Domenic Recchia, Community Board 10 District Manager Josephine Beckmann, and the librarian and a group of students from the nearby William McKinley Intermediate School.
“The library,” Mack-Harvin announced, “will be open more than 50 hours per week,” to accommodate the 21,000 library card holders who live in the branch’s vicinity. The addition of Sunday hours was a pleasant surprise to her as well, she noted. “I didn’t think, in these tough economic times, I’d be able to share more hours,” Mack-Harvin said.
“This is very, very exciting,” added Gentile, who represents the neighborhood and is the chairperson of the Council’s Libraries Subcommittee. Gentile said that the addition of Sunday hours would have a real impact on people living in the area. “It’s a small branch, but it’s well used,” he noted.
The importance of libraries is borne out by statistics, Gentile added, citing a recent study. “More people are using libraries across the boroughs than are going to all the sporting events and museums across the city,” Gentile pointed out. “That tells you how important libraries are.”
Gentile noted that he had a personal reason to be so enthusiastic. “This was the branch where I got my first library card,” he recalled. Gentile even remembered the first volume he had taken out – a Curious George book, he told the assembled group.
Having the library open every day of the week is, “Something that’s really going to be effective here,” remarked Recchia. “The library system today is not what it was 20 or 30 years ago. Libraries are after school centers, senior centers, centers for people to come to with children. They have computers, DVDs, CDs. The Brooklyn Public Library system is changing with the world.”
There has been expansion in the past few years of library hours, with six-day-a-week service added by the City Council last year.
About 250,000 items are circulated out of the McKinley Park library each year, according to Mack-Harvin.