BROOKLYN PUBLIC LIBRARY TO EXPAND LIBRARY HOURS AT BRANCHES ACROSS THE BOROUGH

August 11, 2011

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: David Cantor (646) 200-5318

BROOKLYN PUBLIC LIBRARY TO EXPAND LIBRARY HOURS AT BRANCHES ACROSS THE BOROUGH

Branches to Be Open An Average Of Nearly Eight Additional Hours Per Week
32 Branches to Offer At Least Six-Day Service
Brooklyn Public Library (BPL) announced today a major expansion of hours at its library branches beginning September 10th. A system-wide total of 441 hours will be added to weekly schedules, increasing the average number of open hours per branch from 35.8 to 43.4 hours per week, a 21 percent increase. The number of branches offering at least six-day service will increase from 16 to 32, representing more than half the neighborhood branches (for updated fall hours, visit BPL's website, www.brooklynpubliclibrary.org). BPL is the nation’s fifth largest library system, with a circulation that rose to an all-time high of over 20 million items last year. More than 841,000 patrons attended free Library programs, earning BPL the number one ranking in program attendance in North America by the American Library Association.
“We know from the unprecedented demand for Library materials and services we have seen over the last three years that BPL is critical to the literacy and productivity of the Borough," said Interim Executive Director Linda E. Johnson. "We are very excited to be able to offer increased hours to our patrons at a time when they need and are using our community libraries at record levels."
In recent years BPL implemented several efficiencies as part of its commitment to reimagine library service as new media and related technologies change traditional models. These improvements include an automated computer reservation system, discontinuing the use of cash and moving to online payment of fines, and centralizing book and materials orders so that items arrive at branches pre-processed and ready to borrow.
"The Library made a number of operational changes which, when aggregated, reduced the amount of time Library staff needed to spend on administrative tasks," said Johnson. "With the new hours, BPL is taking advantage of these efficiencies, allowing Library staff to spend more time where it belongs: serving our patrons. We thank the Mayor and City Council for their efforts to provide as much funding to the library as possible. That critical partnership, along with our focus on management and technology, allowed us to achieve these great results."
"It is truly a fantastic accomplishment that, even in a tough financial climate, the Brooklyn Public Library is able to expand their hours," Council Member Dominic Recchia, Chairman of the City Council Finance Committee, said. "Libraries are about so much more than books – they’re hubs of culture and activity, and they provide a wide range of important services to their communities. That’s why, during this year’s budget process, I worked with Speaker Christine Quinn and my colleagues in the City Council to ensure that libraries were getting the support they needed. I want to thank the amazing team at the Brooklyn Public Library, and especially Interim Executive Director Linda Johnson, for making such an admirable commitment to the people of Brooklyn."
"The Council has made keeping libraries open a top priority as they serve an important educational, recreational and cultural role in our community," said Council Speaker Christine Quinn. "Especially in light of today’s challenging economic times, the Brooklyn Public Library’s achievement of expanding branch hours and increasing six-day service among half of its branches is particularly remarkable. As the nation’s fifth largest library system, all New Yorkers should be proud of the Brooklyn Public Library and its commitment to serve the people of this city. I want to thank and congratulate Interim Executive Director Linda Johnson and everyone on her team for this important accomplishment."
Brooklyn Public Library (BPL) is an independent library system for the 2.5 million residents of Brooklyn. It is the fifth largest library system in the United States with 60 neighborhood libraries around the borough. BPL offers free programs and services for all ages and stages of life, including a huge selection of books in more than 30 languages, author talks, literacy programs and public computers. BPL’s eResources, such as eBooks and eVideos, catalog information and free homework help, are available to customers of all ages 24 hours a day at our website: www.brooklynpubliclibrary.org.

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Brooklyn Public Library is an independent New York City library system serving the borough of Brooklyn. It is the fifth largest in the United States. Its Central Library, Business Library, and 58 neighborhood libraries offer free information, programs and computer access to people of all ages. You can reach the Library's resources of over 70 reference databases, catalog information and news 24 hours a day at www.bklynlibrary.org