Park Slope Library Opening Delayed Again After Years of Renovations

By Leslie Albrecht on July 26, 2012 5:25pm 

PARK SLOPE — Literature lovers will have to wait a little longer — the opening of the long-closed Park Slope public library has been delayed yet again until after Labor Day.

The library, on Sixth Avenue and Ninth Street, closed its doors in October 2009 for an overhaul, leaving readers to make do with a twice-weekly bookmobile.

Originally the library was supposed to be closed for a year, but that deadline came and went. The project was delayed because the historic structure, financed by philanthropist Andrew Carnegie and completed in 1906, needed more work than originally anticipated, officials said.

Earlier this year officials announced that the newly refurbished library would be up and running by the Labor Day weekend, in time for the first day of school.

But now the reopening date has slipped to "shortly after Labor Day," Brooklyn Public Library spokeswoman Emma Woods told DNAinfo.com New York. Though the exact date hasn't been finalized, officials are "hopeful it will be open in time for the beginning of the school year," she added. Labor Day is on Monday, Sept. 3 and the first day of school is Thursday, Sept. 6.

The library is "on track to open" despite delays related to "field conditions that we uncovered in renovating this historic building," Woods said.

The lengthy renovation is being managed by the city's Department of Design and Construction. DDC spokesman Craig Chin said the project is on schedule and DDC has "turned over a significant amount of space to the Brooklyn Public Library."  He referred questions about the opening date to the Brooklyn Public Library.

Revamping the library was originally slated to cost $2 million, but earlier this year the cost of the project was reported at $6 million. The project's current budget wasn't immediately available on Thursday.

The wait has been a long one for local families, especially those whose children attend P.S. 39 next door, because the school doesn't have its own library.

The Park Slope Civic Council, which first reported the library's new opening date on its blog, called the library's long closure a loss for the community.

"[A] community loses an important component of daily life when a library is closed to the public for several years at a time," reads the entry on the Civic Council's blog. "Our libraries are not only a resource for books of all kinds but also a community space for celebrating, remembering, and organizing."

But when the library finally reopens, visitors will see big changes, Woods said.

"The Park Slope community can expect to walk into a beautiful new library shortly after Labor Day, that will provide more services for children, an incredible amount of new and upgraded technology, more public meeting spaces, an expanded collection of books and materials, and safe, ADA-compliant access," Woods said.

The spruced up interior will have upgraded air conditioning, flooring, bookcases, and light fixtures. The library will also be more accessible for disabled people, with ramps, elevators and bathrooms designed specifically for wheelchairs.

Other features will include free wi-fi, new printers, new reading spaces for kids, adults and teens, and a renovated multi-purpose rooms that the public can use for meetings.

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