After three years of construction and extensive delays (see Hotline, 10/24/11), Brooklyn Public Library’s Park Slope Branch reopened on September 13. The renovation to the 1906 Carnegie building encountered numerous obstacles before its completion, which also played havoc with the initial cost estimate of $2.5 million. Local papers speculated that the tally had exceeded $6 million. Still, the upgrades to the 15,942 square foot three-story structure are significant, including new reading areas for all age levels; an improved multipurpose room; 24 new computers for children, teens, and adults; free Wi-Fi access; updated printers; two self-check machines; Americans with Disabilities Act–compliant bathrooms, entry door, elevator, and ramp; and refurbished HVAC, electrical, and plumbing systems. The library housed an opening-day collection of more than 200,000 items, featuring books, CDs, DVDs, and periodicals. Kids will be delighted at the provision of iPads for their use.
According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, an interesting hybrid is moving closer to creation with a federal loan guarantee for a combination library and apartment complex. The $14.9 million Standard at East Library would replace the current 1968 East Library with a new 16,000 square foot library within the four-story structure housing 99 apartments, along with underground and street-level parking. The bulk of the expenses, $10.9 million, would be a commercial loan guaranteed by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, along with equity cash from HSI Properties LLC. The only financial commitment required of the city of Milwaukee would be $2.75 million for library furnishings and a temporary space during the work. The project is looking for a spring 2013 start, with completion in summer 2014.
The Parman Branch of San Antonio Public Library honored the memory of Ana Lucia Macías with the dedication on September 30 of Ana’s Nook, a special section of the library’s children’s area. Involved with the community for most of her young life before she died at age 16 from bone cancer, Ana had led a book drive when she was nine that amassed 3000 items for the children’s section of University Hospital. Following her death, her family and friends raised $30,000 for upgrades to Parman’s children’s space, among them new computer equipment, an early learning station, and fresh furniture.