Leonard Library Gets Ramped Up

Due to installation of wheelchair ramps, the Leonard Library branch will be closed starting August 2nd

Leonard Library digital sketch from 2018 photo. Photo Credit: Lori Ann Doyon

The news that the Leonard Library would be closing for a few months starting August 2nd caused a collective sigh of melancholy from all who love this library.  After just recently seeing the hope of the library returning to pre-COVID-19 protocols, to have it closed again is an adjustment for the regulars.  However, this closing is for a very good reason: ramps will be constructed to make the library wheelchair accessible. 

Fritzi Bodenheimer (Press Officer for the Brooklyn Public Library) and Lauren Comito (Managing Librarian) answered Greenline’s questions on the subject.

We have some wonderful old library buildings in the neighborhood, what are some issues that come up when providing accessibility? 
For older libraries, the challenge is to maintain the historical character of the building while also providing modern resources like outlets for all of our devices and ramps. 

In addition, services that are accessible to everyone are a core value for the Library today. The ramp will not only help people who use wheelchairs, but will aide patrons with other types of mobility issues who may have difficulty climbing stairs, including older adults and caregivers with strollers. Having the ramp will make it safer for people with those needs to get into the building. 

Are there any other North Brooklyn Libraries that will also have to undergo any ADA compliance? 
The other libraries in North Brooklyn (Bushwick, Williamsburgh, and Greenpoint) are all ADA compliant. 

Why couldn’t this project have been accomplished during the COVID-19 shutdown?
There was a period of time during the COVID-19 shut down where we were not able to initiate projects. Once we could begin again, we advanced the procurement process for the selection of a contractor and secured final construction approvals from the Department of Buildings. This is the earliest that work could be commenced.  

What are the options for those whose library is the Leonard Library?
Patrons are welcome at any of our 60 branches throughout the borough to browse and we now offer many services and resources online .

For patrons placing new holds, we can send them for pickup to nearby locations Greenpoint, Williamsburgh, Bushwick, or any other locations throughout the borough.Existing holds will continue to be available at Leonard Library for pickup through July 31. (After that, any holds left will be sent to Greenpoint Library for pickup and notices will be sent to patrons.)

Still not sure? Patrons can always get help with holds or other resources by calling 718.230.2100.

Closing is 10 weeks starting from August 2 — so reopening would be around mid-October? 
We expect Leonard to reopen in early to mid-October.

Where would be a good place to look to get updates on the progress of the project and a reopening date? 
Check the Library’s Facebook page or sign up for our newsletters: https://www.bklynlibrary.org/connect 

Anything I missed that you’d like to touch on? 
The Leonard Library staff worked really hard this year to create the outdoor garden space for safe access and programming. Once the ramp is installed the garden will also be accessible.  

Does the Leonard Library have any ongoing programming that will be continued at other locations? If so: what and when and where? 
We are working on a plan for some outdoor programs in Cooper Park and will share information on the Facebook page once the details have been confirmed.  

We will be continuing out virtual programs: we have a book club on Wednesday nights, a knitting group on Fridays, and we are planning to keep our chess group going.   

Author: Lori Ann Doyon

Managing editor, head writer, and lead photographer of Greenline | North Brooklyn News since October 2014. Resident of Williamsburg, Brooklyn since 1990.

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