Brooklyn Public Library’s Flatlands branch reopened Wednesday with new amenities following a three-month closure.
The book lender at Flatbush Avenue near Baughman Place closed on Aug. 3 to accommodate the construction of a new conference room, which features a video screen and seating for 65 people.
The space is now available to the public to use for lectures or group activities, and Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein — who kicked in $500,000 for the project — hopes local community groups will take advantage of the new amenity.
“With this flexible new space, the possibilities for programs are countless and we look forward to welcoming patrons here for years to come,” said Brooklyn Library President Linda Johnson.f
In addition, the 1955-built library branch’s old meeting room — which could only fit about 16 people — was repurposed for use as an activity space for kids.
The renovation project comes at a time of trouble for the borough’s aging library system, which currently suffers a whopping $247 million in unmet repair needs spread across the book lender’s 59 branches.
The Flatlands branch alone is experiencing a roughly $8 million shortfall for desperately needed renovations and upgrades, including $1 million to meet federal disability requirements and $1.9 million for exterior and window repairs, both of which are listed as emergency issues by BPL executives.
The library system’s funding woes follow the city’s unprecedented $278 million investment in Brooklyn Public Library, which will fund other repairs necessary to prop up the aging library system over the next 10 years.