Pols say new library hours help Orthodox Jews

Four Brooklyn branches now open on Sundays

October 9, 2015 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Councilmembers David Greenfield and Brad Lander, along with Brooklyn Public Library President and CEO Linda Johnson, greet staff members at the Midwood Library, which will now be open on Sundays. Photo courtesy of Greenfield’s office
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The Brooklyn Public Library’s new six-days-a-week schedule will be a boon to residents of Orthodox Jewish neighborhoods, according to two City Councilmembers who said branches in those communities can now be open on Sundays.

Councilmembers David Greenfield and Brad Lander came to the Midwood Library to announce that four branches of the Brooklyn Public Library will be open on Sundays to accommodate Brooklyn’s growing Orthodox Jewish population.

It’s an important development, according to the lawmakers, who pointed out that because of the Jewish Sabbath, Orthodox Jews cannot go to the library on Saturdays.

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The new Sunday hours go into effect starting Oct. 25 at the following branches: Midwood (Avenue J and East 16th Street), Borough Park (13th Avenue and 43rd Street), Mapleton (18th Avenue and 60th Street) and Ryder (23rd Avenue and 59th Street).

Greenfield and Lander helped secure funding for the Sunday service.

If the Sunday service was not available, it would mean that Orthodox Jews would have been deprived of six-day-a-week library service since they cannot go to the library on Saturdays.

“This expanded service is especially important to Orthodox Jewish families who cannot take advantage of Saturday library hours,” Greenfield said. “These extended hours will give library patrons in Borough Park, Midwood and Bensonhurst the opportunity to fully explore the multitude of outstanding free resources our neighborhood libraries have to offer.’

Lander said the Borough Park Library is one of the busiest branches in the Brooklyn Public Library system.

“Like all New Yorkers, Borough Park residents deserve six-day access to the books, computers, community programs and treasured spaces of their local library. And in Borough Park — where so many members of the Jewish community observe Shabbat on Saturday — that sixth day needs to be on Sunday,” Lander said.

The David Berg Foundation also provided funding to open the libraries on Sunday.

“As patrons throughout the borough continue to access library services in record numbers, it is essential that our branches operate on schedules that meet the needs of the neighborhoods they serve,” said Linda E. Johnson president and CEO of the Brooklyn Public Library.

Johnson said the library “is proud to be able to offer Sunday service at Borough Park and Midwood with help from our generous partners in city government and in the community.”

Greenfield is a member of the City Council’s Budget Negotiating Team and fought to restore funding for Brooklyn Public Library. He secured funding to create a new $250,000 outdoor plaza, sitting area and book drop-off outside the Midwood Public Library.

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