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.