On Thursday, Hester Street, the planning and design company contracted by the Brooklyn Public Library to renovate some of its branches, conducted a second community engagement workshop at the Canarsie Library, located at 1580 Rockaway Parkway, to further determine the needs and expectations of the branch’s patrons.
The workshop was conducted in similar fashion to the first one held at the same location on July 12th. Meeting attendees divided into groups and discussed their visions for the soon-to-be renovated branch.
Many of the ideas tossed around mirrored those presented at the previous workshop. Some of the older patrons suggested building a large, closed space to hold community meetings. Others expressed interest in an outdoor gardening space where they could grow food and even flowers. The young adults wanted an area where they could come together and express themselves. Thom, a ninth grader who spends a lot of time at the library, stated, “I want a space with VR [Virtual Reality] and 3D printing.”
Councilwoman Mercedes Narcisse, who secured $1.5 million in funding for the library, spoke briefly at the meeting. “We fought hard and I was not going to take no for an answer. Now we have enough money,” she stated, alluding to the $20 million provided by the City of New York for the renovations.
Neighborhood Library Supervisor Thomas Muller informed everyone that the branch would be closed for three weeks, beginning on October 10th, which is a holiday in observation of Indigenous People’s Day, and continuing from October 11th to November 1st, to allow Hester Street to conduct onsite testing at the library. Muller also reminded them that the branch will be closed indefinitely, sometime late 2023, to accommodate the extensive renovations. Patrons were encouraged to utilize other branches, such as nearby Jamaica Bay, during the temporary closures.
Vice President of Government Affairs for Brooklyn Public Library Michele Bonan thanked everyone for their participation in the workshop.