Ridge library closures are a double feature

The Brooklyn Paper
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The Brooklyn Public Library is closing the book on Bay Ridge readers, shuttering the neighborhood’s second branch library for renovations even before repairs to the first one are finished.

Even though the Fort Hamilton branch at the corner of Fourth Avenue and 95th Street has been closed for rehab since last spring, library officials revealed that they will also shut the Bay Ridge branch at the corner of 73rd Street and Ridge Boulevard for three and a half weeks of repairs — leaving the neighborhood’s literati without a place to score free books.

The Bay Ridge branch will be closed from April 17 until May 11 while workers replace the existing self-check-out machines with new models, remove a second-floor circulation desk, and install a new first-floor checkout desk and book return slots.

“These changes will allow us to fully implement Brooklyn Public Library’s new model for public service at Bay Ridge which allows patrons to borrow and return books without staff intervention, and for staff to work more closely with patrons,” said library spokeswoman Malika Granville.

The Brooklyn Public Library decided to overlap the $100,000 renovation of the Bay Ridge branch and the $3.6-million rehab of the Fort Hamilton branch — a project complicated by the discovery last month that termites had devoured structural supports in the 104-year-old library — in order to take advantage of state dollars, she added.

“While we know it is not ideal to close Bay Ridge while Fort Hamilton is also closed for renovation, we wanted to take the opportunity to spend New York State capital funds for this project before those funds expire at the end of this fiscal year,” said Granville, who urged neighborhood readers to turn to branches in Borough Park, Sunset Park, and Dyker Heights until the work is completed.

Councilman Vincent Gentile (D–Bay Ridge) — chair of the Council’s Libraries Committee — said that if Bay Ridge readers can get through the closures, they’ll be pleased with the conclusion.

“It’s a major inconvenience for two neighborhood library branches to be closed at the same time — the upside, though, is that the Bay Ridge Library will [be better] at the end of this project, which is a win for our community in the long run,” he said.

While the Bay Ridge branch is closed, a bookmobile will park in front of the library on Tuesdays, from 1 to 6 pm, and on Thursdays, from 11 am to 4 pm.

Updated 5:11 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Confused from Bay Ridge says:
Why does the Bay Ridge branch need to be renovated?

Didn't they just spend millions to re-do the whole thing recently?
March 23, 2009, 10:25 am
Mixed blessing from Bay Ridge says:
They had a $2 mill renovation in '04 - computers, roof, etc.

I don't know what the *&%@ it means "for staff to work more closely with patrons" .... but I'd be happy to borrow books "without staff intervention" -- because one or two of the staff there seem to be in habitual rulebook-slowdown mode, or have problems w/ task-prioritizing.
March 23, 2009, 11:37 pm
Given Pause from Bay Ridge says:
So no libraries in Bay Ridge AT ALL, & people must hike up to 60 blocks to the Sunset Pk library, or to 13th Avenue for the Dyker Heights branch.
Also great for the tons of kids who rely on libraries, and considering adults' increased use of libraries in this recession.
March 25, 2009, 3:50 pm
Pat K insella from Bay Ridge says:
This is not thought out very carefully and DUMB. Unless the ceiling is comming down they did this place over in 04 computers and all. We ned to find out who is RESPONSIBLE and if this work REALLY needs to be done. I really wonder. Hopefully someone will explain, it also does not makes sense to have this being done in a tough economic time, where the use of Libraires has shot up!
March 26, 2009, 2:06 pm
merl from bay ridge says:
This branch _already_ "allows patrons to borrow and return books without staff intervention": there's checkout via computer, and a book-return slot in the lobby.
It also has a _ton_ of computers for patrons' use.
And as with all branches, staff don't handle fines, photocopy fees, or any money at all: people do it themselves via ATM-type machine.

The hardest thing to do there is to get or replace a library card, or something else that requires staff intervention (and will continue to do so), since (yes!) they "have problems w/ task-prioritizing."
March 27, 2009, 3:59 am
PK from Bay Ridge says:
Is this some type of experimental Library ? Less staff and more unsavory visitors coming in! I bet!
March 28, 2009, 1:28 am
Jerry from Bay Ridge says:
PK from Bay Ridge says: "Less staff and more unsavory visitors coming in! I bet!"

From what I see - this place doesn't GET many "unsavory visitors," due to location and generally open plan, plus fact that it's usually busy jam-packed with kids and computer users ... especially since the Ft Ham branch closed for renovation (to be completed three weeks after pigs fly).
The staff tends to act extremely unenthused about checking books in & out anyway.
March 28, 2009, 3:06 pm
Craig from Bay Ridge says:
Yes, it is inconvenient and bad timing, but I think their explanation seemed good. They want to spend Federal money before it expires.

I don't know about you, but I think I would rather the money stay in BR before it enhances a library in another location (or different state, for that matter).
April 23, 2009, 1:39 pm

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