COURIER L 12 IFE, SEPT. 11-17, 2020
Coney Library unveils
A sneak peek of the Coney Island Library’s new second fl oor reveals an increase in seating
space and more natural light. Photo by Rose Adams
BY ROSE ADAMS
Coney Island Library’s revamped
second fl oor is nearly complete following
a $1.7 million renovation of the space,
which transformed the once dilapidated
fl oor into an open reading room with a
“We moved all the furniture around,
brought these taller shelves up front by
the windows, and really opened up the
space in the back,” said Brooklyn Public
Library Project Manager Michael
Gunther during an exclusive tour with
Brooklyn Paper on Sept. 2.
The second fl oor of the Mermaid Avenue
library now features a reading space
for adults, a section for teenagers, and a
large, multi-purpose conference room
that the public can book for community
events. The children’s section was
moved to the fi rst fl oor to accommodate
parents with strollers, and to expand the
space dedicated to youngsters, the local
“This was an issue that we heard post-
Superstorm Sandy, just the need to have
a prioritized children’s space, and we responded
to that and more,” said Councilman
Mark Treyger. “I think for parents,
it’s a needed accommodation.”
The revamped fl oor also includes
state-of-the-art technology, such as a
new computer and printer, a fl at-screen
digital display, and a self-checkout kiosk
that allows members to check out books,
return items, and pay late fees.
The most modern addition of all is
the new laptop cage — available in only
two other Brooklyn Public Library
branches — that allows patrons to check
new Hewlett-Packard laptops with their
library card to use on site.
The new and improved Wifi , the expanded
seating, and a newly installed
HVAC system will allow bookworms to
browse the collections comfortably during
the summer months, library representatives
Teenagers, meanwhile, can fl ock to
their own expanded section at the back
of the second fl oor.
Workers also completely remodeled
the conference room at the back of the
second fl oor, knocking down a storage
room and an offi ce to expand the space
to nearly twice its previous size.
The new room, which will also feature
two new projection screens, allows
for much larger community gatherings
year-round — thanks to its improved
ventilation and cooling system.
The renovations of the more than
century-old library are set to wrap up
in the next month — about a year and
a half after the Brooklyn Public Library
contractors broke ground on the
space. The library closed for the fi rst
fi ve months of construction beginning
in April of 2019, and reopened its ground
fl oor while workers continued renovating
the second fl oor.
The makeover comes about seven
years after the library’s last renovation
following Superstorm Sandy in 2012 —
which fl ooded the ground fl oor with fi ve
feet of water and forced the library to
shell out $2 million in repairs.
But the post-Sandy renovations
hardly touched the library’s second
fl oor — making the recent improvements
long overdue, authorities said.
“This space didn’t necessarily get an
upgrade then,” Gunther said.
Treyger allocated $620,000 for the
upgrades, and Borough President Eric
Adams pitched in $500,000. The rest of
the project was paid for by $600,000 in
Brooklyn Public Library capital funding,
and by contributions from the Estate
of Ciro Gamboni.
Though the renovations are nearing
completion, the library will have to remain
closed for the foreseeable future
to prevent the spread of the coronavirus
pandemic, offi cials said. Patrons can
still pick up books using the grab-andgo
services, and the library hopes to allow
members to use its computers soon
— but there is no full reopening plan in
“We hope to get to a place where it’s
safe to allow people to come use computers,
but we just don’t know what
that looks like safe,” said Michelle Bonan,
the vice president of government
and community relations at the library.
“But we look forward to a day when we
can welcome everybody back.”
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