Thursday, July 28, 2016

Welcoming, Comfortable Library to Serve Neighborhood During Construction of New Branch at 280 Cadman Plaza West

Brooklyn, NY—Brooklyn Public Library’s interim Brooklyn Heights branch welcomed its first patrons on Wednesday, the opening day for the space that will serve the neighborhood during the construction of the new library at 280 Cadman Plaza West. On Thursday, students from Bright Horizons, an early education and preschool academy in downtown Brooklyn, attended the interim branch’s first children's program, a bilingual performance by guitarist Louie Miranda.

“With its bright interior and comfortable environment for attending a program, learning a new skill or simply browsing the shelves, the interim Brooklyn Heights Library is as welcoming and inspiring as the neighborhood it serves," said Brooklyn Public Library President and CEO Linda E. Johnson. “We look forward to welcoming patrons to the interim branch as we build a new library for Brooklyn Heights.”

The interim library, located in the social hall at Our Lady of Lebanon Church, 109 Remsen Street, is home to a collection of more than 17,000 books that will remain in Brooklyn Heights. Patrons can request that materials from any other BPL location be sent to the interim library. All programs previously offered at the branch—including Babies & Books, preschool story time, after-school programs, Teen Tech Time, live performances, adult literacy services, technology classes and more—will be offered at the interim site.

The branch was built by Hudson Companies, the developer of the new library at Cadman Plaza West, at no cost to BPL. When it opens in three years, the new, state-of-the-art Brooklyn Heights Library will anchor a mixed-use building topped by market-rate condominiums. Per the terms of its agreement with BPL, Hudson will also build 114 units of affordable housing in Community Board 2.

“When the RFP was initially released, BPL articulated how important it was to figure out a short-term solution for the library during construction. Hudson is very excited to see the Interim Library open this week. We think the Leven Betts-designed space will be a wonderful alternative for Brooklyn library patrons until the new library opens. We think this success is a harbinger of great things to come for the BPL/Hudson partnership,” said David Kramer, president of Hudson Companies.

The new space features 34 laptops available for reservation by patrons, more than are available at any other branch in Brooklyn and roughly equivalent to the number of desktop computers that were available at the former 280 Cadman Plaza West location. The interim library also boasts BPL’s first-ever mobile charging station with various cords to allow patrons to charge their mobile devices.

Architect Levin Betts designed the interim space and is responsible for perhaps its most striking visual element: a custom Panelite wall displaying the full text of Walt Whitman’s “Crossing Brooklyn Ferry,” a stirring meditation on New York City’s waterfront that ranks among the finest works from Leaves of Grass.

Brooklyn Heights Library’s hours of operation remain the same, and the staff from 280 Cadman Plaza West will continue to serve the public in the interim location.

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About Brooklyn Public Library

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 located throughout the borough. BPL offers free programs and services for all ages and stages of life, including a large 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.bklynlibrary.org.

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