One of the libraries flooded by Sandy (Photo: Brooklyn Public Library via NYDailyNews.com)
Five Brooklyn Public Library branches, four of which are in Southern Brooklyn, remain closed after taking severe damage during Superstorm Sandy, and library administrators say they need millions to get back online.
New York Daily News checked in with the library, noting that the Gerritsen Beach (2808 Gerritsen Avenue) and Coney Island (1901 Mermaid Avenue) branches took the worst damage, and will need new electrical systems, doors, chairs, shelves and computers. There is no word on when these branches will reopen.
The Gravesend (303 Avenue X), Sheepshead Bay (2636 East 14th Street) and Red Hook (7 Wolcott Street) branches also saw severe damage. Officials told the Daily News these will reopen in the next few weeks.
In all, the repairs will rack up a $10 million price tag, which includes structural repairs and the replacement of 75,852 books, magazines and DVDs ruined during the storm – piling on top of a $250 million list of backlogged repairs throughout the library system.
According to the News, the Brooklyn Public Library typically receives just $15 million a year from the Bloomberg administration for repairs.
“We were hurt,” said Brooklyn Public Library VP of strategic planning Jeanette Moy. “But we are leveraging every asset we have and every partnership that’s possible to bring services back to the community.”
“Bullet Points” is our new format for Community Board 15 meeting coverage, providing takeaways we think are important. Information in Bullet Points is meant only to be a quick summary, and some issues may be more deeply explored in future articles.
Boardmembers push to beautify Manhattan Beach, oppose aesthetic improvements at Knapp Street sewage plant: Parks Department’s Brooklyn Chief of Staff Martin Maher came before the Board last night to provide the community with updates on ongoing projects in the district – including at Bill Brown Park, Galapo Playground, Brigham Street Park and Emmons Avenue – but the presentation quickly turned to Manhattan Beach as members barraged Maher with questions and complaints (video above).
A Gravesend librarian has transformed his library’s auditorium into an art gallery that displays work from emerging artists.
“I want to raise the culture for everyone in the area,” said Boris Loselev in the New York Daily News. “Our goal isn’t selling art, it’s promoting art.”
Loselev takes time out of his own schedule to run the monthly art exhibits in the Brooklyn Public Library – Gravesend branch at 303 Avenue X. He also travels at least three times a month to different art galleries across the city in search of new talent to present in these exhibits.
Loselev’s first exhibit, which was 10 years ago, only had six attendees, but now his exhibits draw in a much larger crowd.
“When I talk to people, they tell me it’s so great,” he said. “They call it the oasis of culture in the neighborhood.”
Loselev hopes to expand the exhibit to other libraries and plans on holding lectures for kids in the neighborhood who lost art programs in their schools due to the budget cuts.
Brooklyn Public Library officials and Mayor Michael Bloomberg have struck a deal to maintain a minimum of five day service at all branches, narrowly escaping devastating cuts that would have shuttered branches and eliminated hours across the board.
[ABOVE: Watch BPL Representative Mel Henkle tell Community Board 15 about the new hours, and thank the community for its advocacy.]
In our neck of the woods, the compromise means that some of our libraries will lose Saturday service beginning July 10, including the Sheepshead Bay, Gravesend and Homecrest branches. Saturday service will be provided at the Kings Bay, Kings Highway and Brighton Beach branches, and the Kings Highway branch will also have summer Sunday hours.