It’s a new chapter for this library.
Bookworms celebrated the re-opening of Gravesend’s renovated Ulmer Park Library on Aug. 31 after a year-long closure. The Bath Avenue book lender underwent major reconstruction for a new roof, new heating and cooling system, and upgraded lighting and technology — its first updates in nearly two decades, and the spruced-up space re-opened at a great time, because students are heading back to school, said Councilman Mark Treyger (D–Gravesend).
“This took some time but the opening of the library couldn’t happen at a better time because we’re on the eve of the start of a new school year,” he said. “It’s bright, it’s airy — has a fresh new look, and as a former teacher I’ve always believed that libraries are extensions of the classroom, so it’s really important for our young people have a chance to do homework, do some research.”
Treyger and Borough President Adams allocated $875,000 toward the $1.9 million renovation to replace the branch’s roof and its failing temperature-control system — which often leaked, making the space unbearably hot in the summer and brutally cold in the winter. It’s difficult to enjoy sitting down with a great book when the room is stifling hot, said Treyger.
“This was a library that was listed as a New York City cooling center during heat waves, but it had a broken HVAC system for quite some time, so the staff and students and residents of this community had to endure boiling-hot temperatures and really couldn’t appreciate this library,” he said.
And besides its huge selection of all genres of books, the library is a hub for English-language learners and chess-playing strategists, according to a Brooklyn Public Library honcho.
“We try to tailor to each library the types of programs we do based upon the communities the library serves, so we try to tailor English as a second language classes — here would be Russian. It depends on who is living in the neighborhood,” said system president Linda Johnson. “It’s great to see it looking all fresh and feeling so great and the kids are here already enjoying it.”
And local kids are happy they have a place to pick out the best books again, said one vivacious 7-year-old reader.
“It’s better than it looked before,” said Reyna Barnhill.