Upper West Side Library to Close for Asbestos Removal and Renovations

By Emily Frost on September 13, 2012 12:45pm 

UPPER WEST SIDE — The public library branch at 100th Street and Columbus is set to close for several months at the end of the year for a series of renovations — including asbestos removal, city officials confirmed.

The NYPL's Bloomingdale branch at West 100th Street and Columbus Avenue will be closed beginning in December for asbestos removal, renovations to its windows and better exterior lighting, library and city officials confirmed.

Joseph Soldevere, a spokesman for the Department of Design and Construction, confirmed that the 51-year-old building has absestos that needs to be removed, adding that "such [asbestos] abatements are routine for buildings of this age."

"We are following numerous safety protocols, as well as all city, state, and federal regulations as we complete this work," he added, saying that the work is set to begin in December and "will continue for at least three months."

Soldevere could not confirm the length of time the library would be closed, but said "we will do our utmost to minimize any disruptions to the library’s operations."

A spokeswoman for the NYPL said the "massive restoration" of the branch will include better heating, improving windows, better lighting outside, and reconstruction of the facade and interior.

"They’re doing a façade restoration and upgrading the heating and the windows. There’s some serious reconstruction of the exterior and the interior," said Amy Geduldig, public relations manager for the New York Public Library.

 

"The building is safe and secure for public use," she said.

Geduldig said the exact timeline for closure is still in flux, but Bloomingdale's head librarian Rebecca Donsky told the local community board at its September meeting that the library would be closed for two months as early as the beginning of October.

Part of the project will include improving the building's exterior lighting. Safety outside the library has been a concern for patrons and the head librarian.

Though the library is across from the 24th Police Precinct, Donsky reported feeling threatened by groups of unruly teens hanging out outside the library after hours last year. 

"I'm afraid," Donsky said at the time. "Kids wait outside and one of these days they're going to be waiting for me."

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