After , Park Slope its very own public library branch again on Sixth Avenue. The is packed with brand new computers, iPads and over 20,000 books, CDs, DVDs and other items.
Brooklyn Public Library’s President and CEO, Linda Johnson hosted the ribbon-cutting event with local elected officials Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, Assemblyman James Brennan and Councilman Brad Lander and Commissioner of the Department of Design and Construction David Burney.
The renovated Park Slope Library is a combination of respect to the historical attributes of the Carnegie building, erected in 1904, and a nod to the future with the library’s modern technology.
Linda Johnson took the podium and addressed the crowd of close to 100 residents and school children who came to see the inside of the library for the first time since Oct. 2009.
“We have created a modern library that preserves its past and historical details that is accessible to everyone,” Johnson said, explaining that the building now has ADA-compliant ramps, entry doors, elevator and bathrooms.
The library’s technology has been upgraded with 24 computers, printers, free WiFi and two self-check-out machines. It is also the first library to offer iPads, with four in the children’s section to use for free.
The basement has been renovated and will be used as a multipurpose room for public meetings and programs.
“We have spent a lot of time and work here and the Park Slope Library is a place to learn, build community and connect to the digital world,” Johnson said.
Borough President Marty Markowitz said that the renovated library was “worth the wait.”
“The Park Slope Library is latest addition to the Brooklyn Public Library and is a masterpiece and a real page turner,” Markowitz said.
Councilman Brad Lander said that the re-opening marked a “bright new day.”
“In the days of Kindles, Google, iPads and the Internet, people are unsure of libraries, but I would say that is because they have not been in one in a while," Lander said. "They are a true civic treasure."
Susan Fox, the founder of the Website Park Slope Parents, will launch a Friends Group in the library’s basement next Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. Fox said she is excited about the library because it will be a great resource for Park Slope, but she is most excited about the multipurpose room in the basement for it will help make the neighborhood more tight-knit with programs.
“It’s going to be another town hall, or town square, where people can come and meet and build community in Park Slope,” Fox said. “It’s a 25 block walk to the library at Grand Army Plaza, so this opens up the library to South Slope.”
Before the branch opened on Thursday, throngs of parents gathered with their children waiting for the gate to be unlocked.
“We moved in across the street in 2008 and four months later it closed. We’ve been waiting for it to open because it’s a long haul to Grand Army Plaza,” Shay Roedemeier said, who was standing with her 2-year-old daughter. “The Park Slope Library now feels like an extension of our living room.”
, which is right next to the newly renovated building, does not have its own library. The school’s principal, , said that she has also been waiting for the Park Slope branch to re-open.
“We’re really excited to be here and have it open. We are working with the library staff to establish a strong collaborative partnership,” de Paz said while standing with a few of her students. “We are excited to connect the two community-based buildings and be stronger together.”
The children’s section was filled with mothers, nannies and kids running about, reading, playing and using the iPads.
A mother who was reading to her 10-month-old boy said they live only two blocks away.
“We are excited to be here as often and for as many hours as possible,” Maddy Fox said, who was reading “Who Do I See” by Salina Yoon to her son Rubin.
The head librarian, Stephanie Brueckel, was busy helping patrons find books, sign up for library cards and teaching people how to use the self-checkout machines.
“I am very happy the neighborhood is finally getting their library back,” Brueckel said. “It is such a literate community and they care a lot about reading.”