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Bronx Library Branch Closing for Two Years for $10M Revamp

By Eddie Small | August 6, 2014 3:28pm
 The renovated Woodstock Library will contain an expanded children's center with a story hour.
The renovated Woodstock Library will contain an expanded children's center with a story hour.
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Rice + Lipka Architects

SOUTH BRONX — The Woodstock branch of the New York Public Library is closing for about two years to undergo a $10 million overhaul, including a dedicated story hour area, an expanded children's center and WiFi throughout the building.

The branch, at 761 E. 160th St., will shut its doors to the public on Aug. 29, with interior renovations set to begin on Sept. 1 and the library expected to reopen in late 2016.

Several of the new features are geared toward youth, including a new space for young adults with lounge seating, 18 computer stations for kids and the expanded children's center with a story hour area.

"What we’re really trying to do is respond to the needs of the community," said library spokeswoman Adenike Olanrewaju, "so people would like more space for the teens and the youth and the kids."

More children have started coming to the Woodstock branch over the past few years, according to acting library manager Sherice White. She attributed this to increased programming for teenagers at the library and outreach the institution has been doing at high schools.

"The renovations are very necessary and they’re beneficial for the community," she said. "It's a renovation that’s been a long time coming."

The library will also feature WiFi throughout the building, increased space for programming, more restrooms, new furniture, new security equipment and a new elevator.

The company Rice + Lipka Architects designed the upgrades.

The NYPL suggests going to other nearby libraries while the Woodstock branch is shut down, such as the Morrisania Library at 610 E. 169th St., the Melrose Library at 910 Morris Ave. and the Hunt's Point Library at 877 Southern Blvd., all of which are about a mile away.

"We understand that it's an inconvenience to lose branches," said Olanrewaju, "but it's necessary."

Staff at Woodstock do not know where they will be reassigned once the branch shuts down, according to White. However, Olanrewaju said they would be receiving their assignments soon.

The Woodstock branch opened in 1914.

"The building is 100 years old," said Olanrewaju, "so these renovations were needed. They’re due."