Brooklyn Heights Library thrives at temporary location
The former Brooklyn Heights Library building at 280 Cadman Plaza is currently a pile of rubble as it undergoes a major overhaul. While construction continues on the structure, the library found a temporary new home at Our Lady of Lebanon at 109 Remsen St.
The interim library is a bright, roomy, air-conditioned space that is fully stocked with as many books as it can hold, which is roughly 17,000, as opposed to the 70,000 that were housed at the Cadman Plaza location. Patrons can access books from other branches in the comfortable confines of the library’s temporary home.
According to branch manager Rachel Tiemann, everything is working out well on Remsen Street. “In this space, we’ve been getting a lot of new faces,” she said. “When we first opened, it felt like we were constantly making library cards for people who were walking in for the first time. Some may never have been to the library at Cadman Plaza.”
Tiemann is especially proud of the various programs the library offers. “We’ve got just as robust a selection of children’s programming as we had, and we’re actually developing quite a bit of adult programming now too. We just had a writer’s workshop a few days ago and now have a monthly book discussion group. So I think there are a lot of folks who are just enjoying us being here.”
Tiemann hopes that the new patrons will follow them back to Cadman Plaza when it is complete, just as the regulars have followed them to Remsen Street. It’s still just as much a community centered library as was.
By contrast, the original building at Cadman Plaza has been almost completely demolished as multiple excavators continue to dig through the rubble. Only a small, bunker-like section of the former Business Library at the south end remains standing. The new Cadman Plaza library will not be ready until 2020.
Demolition must be completed before developer Hudson Companies can pull a new building permit, which will allow it to begin construction of a 36-story luxury residential tower on the site.
The new tower will house a modernized 26,620-square-foot library, 133 condominium units, two retail spaces on Clinton Street and a STEM lab to be operated by the NYC Department of Education. While the new library will be smaller than the current one, the city says its functional area will be increased.
Additional reporting by Mary Frost
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