DUMBO

A first look at the new DUMBO library

June 12, 2019 Mary Frost
Here’s a first look at the design for the entrance area of planned Adams Street Library in DUMBO. Rendering courtesy of Brooklyn Public Library

Brooklyn Public Library unveiled on Tuesday a first look at the designs for the newest — and smallest — addition to its network: the Adams Street Library in DUMBO.

Renderings show the branch, which is the first new one in 36 years, will have separate sections for children, teens and adults, along with a meeting room and multipurpose space that can be rearranged for different purposes.

BPL representatives said the designs for the library incorporate suggestions that community members made over the past few months at meetings, focus groups and on surveys.

This rendering shows the adult reading area of the planned Adams Street Library in DUMBO. Rendering courtesy of Brooklyn Public Library
This rendering shows the adult reading area of the planned Adams Street Library in DUMBO. Rendering courtesy of Brooklyn Public Library

The new branch will serve the DUMBO, Vinegar Hill and Farragut communities, which have never had a library. At 6,565 square feet, it will be the borough’s smallest library — and BPL’s first new branch since 1983.

The branch will be located in a leased space on the ground floor of a former factory building at 135 Plymouth St. under the Manhattan Bridge, with an entrance on Adams Street. The site fronts on Brooklyn Bridge Park. The architecture firm WorkAC, which redesigned the BAM Cultural District Master Plan, has been hired to design the new branch.

The new library was negotiated by Councilmember Stephen Levin as one of several sweeteners in the deal to sell the Brooklyn Heights branch for development.

“We generally don’t have enough money to build a new library,” David Woloch, executive VP of External Affairs at BPL, told the crowd.

“And when we have built libraries to replace existing ones in the past — the last one we did was the Kensington Library on 18th Avenue — we historically have not gone through a process like this, where we talk to people in the neighborhood and get feedback about what they want the new library to look like and what they want the new library to be.”

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Woloch said the three libraries in Community Board 2 — Walt Whitman, Brooklyn Heights and Adams Street branches — will have a relationship. “All three libraries are either being newly created, or, in the case of Walt Whitman, will get a full renovation.”

This is the view from within the children’s section of the planned library in DUMBO. Rendering courtesy of Brooklyn Public Library
This is the view from within the children’s section of the planned library in DUMBO. Rendering courtesy of Brooklyn Public Library

Community feedback

Some of the themes that have developed through the outreach efforts include making the library a community hub; bridging the neighborhoods’ socio-economic divide; and focusing on health and well-being programs. There have also been requests for more youth, teen and senior programs.

Comment cards on display on Tuesday included a request for the library to be “an extension of Brooklyn Bridge Park,” with outdoor lounging areas; prioritizing programming for teens, with extended hours, tutoring and gaming spaces; providing tech facilities like recording studios and computer programming; providing summer camp programming; and connecting kids to area tech organizations.

The new DUMBO branch will have separate sections for children, teens and adults, along with a meeting room and multipurpose space. Floor plan courtesy of Brooklyn Public Library
The new DUMBO branch will have separate sections for children, teens and adults, along with a meeting room and multipurpose space. Floor plan courtesy of Brooklyn Public Library

One participant commented, “No tourists! The [Brooklyn Bridge Park] is all tourists all weekend. This needs to be for BK.”

Urban planning and design firms Hester Street and Grain Collective have been conducting the community outreach.

The Adams Street Library will serve the growing populations of DUMBO, Vinegar Hill and Farragut, as well as the kids who go to schools in those neighborhoods. It is slated to open towards the end of 2020.

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