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The Brooklyn Public Library will soon expand operations at its Macon Street branch in Bedford-Stuyvesant from six to seven days a week, and local librarians say it will be a boon for the neighborhood that really depends on the service.
“The library is the beacon in the community,” said Sharon Palmer, the branch’s regional librarian. “When people don’t know where to turn, it’s the library they turn to.”
The book repository at the corner of Lewis Avenue will begin opening its doors from 1 pm to 5 pm on Sundays starting Oct. 25, the system announced on Thursday. The branch has also hired a new children’s librarian and a young-adult librarian and plans on adding all new kids’ programs — including chess and computer coding classes — within the month.
The Sunday hours will give local kids a great opportunity to hit the books in preparation for school the next day, said one Macon library lover.
“That’s a study time,” said Chauncey Chester, a long-time Bedford-Stuyvesant resident and documentary filmmaker who comes to the library to do research. “It’s an opportunity for kids to actually go out and get some work done.”
Palmer predicts adults will use the additional weekend time to gather in the branch’s immensely popular meeting rooms — a group of neighborhood parents has already booked the rooms’ first-ever Sunday slot, she said.
“The meeting rooms are always utilized,” said Palmer. “It’s wonderful for the community to be able to have a free space where they can go.”
Macon last expanded its hours a year ago, adding more time on Tuesday mornings and Wednesday and Thursday evenings. But the day of rest is a bold new step for the branch — it has not opened its doors on a Sunday for at least 10 years, which is as far as the system’s records go back, a spokesman said.
Brooklyn Public Library decided to upsize Macon’s days and staff after Mayor DeBlasio and the city council boosted their budget allocations to the service for the coming financial year — Hizzoner kicked in around $8 million more than he did last year, and the council around $4.5 million extra, according to city records.
The system will also use the windfall to bring any libraries in the borough currently opening five days a week up to six days as of Oct. 19, including the Williamsburgh branch in Williamsburg and the Dekalb outpost in Bushwick.
The 108-year-old Macon branch is one of 21 libraries industrialist Andrew Carnegie bequeathed the borough in the early 20th century. The red-brick building is home to the African American Heritage Center, which houses books on local black history and culture and allows visitors to search genealogy databases.