The Greenpoint Library (107 Norman Ave.) closed in July 2017 for demolition, and construction on the new library was estimated to finish in the winter of 2018, but the discovery and removal of asbestos in the former foundation and related delays has pushed the expected completion to this September or October. Earlier this week, the Friends of Greenpoint Library hosted a community forum in Greenpoint to help answer questions on the new library.
As far as the construction progress, work is far along: the structure of the new library is in place and steel beams, concrete floors, decking, and roofs have all been installed; electrical, plumbing and HVAC work is in progress.
“We’re about doubling the interior size of the old library, and that’s not even counting the garden space…The outdoor plaza will be really nice, instead of having a fence around the library like we did before,” said Ames O’Neil, project manager for the Greenpoint Library. The new library is approximately 15,000 square feet.
Increased interior space in the new design comes with more room for programming. On the second floor, there will be three different programming rooms that fit approximately 30 – 35 people each, and the rooms can be opened and joined to increase capacity. The former Greenpoint Library had one room for programming. A large outdoor reading area will also be featured on the second floor.
On the third floor, there is mostly outdoor space: “We’ll have raised beds for gardening; there’s going to be a pollinator garden, and that will be for our programming as well,” O’Neil said.
Funding for the library comes from library and city capital funding equaling $14 million, $1.8 million from the NY State Education Department and the Greenpoint Community Environmental Fund provided a $5 million grant.
Environmental consciousness and sustainability are a cornerstone of the building’s design with rooftop solar panels, permeable surfaces in the garden and landscape areas, and stormwater controls with a cistern; the ground-floor outdoor area is also a bioswale which helps to filter rainwater. All of the green design features have helped the new library attain LEED gold certification, although the highest efficiency rating, LEED platinum, is still a possibility upon completion.
The former Greenpoint Library staff are slated to make a return from the other Brooklyn Public Library branches that they were temporarily stationed at, and additional staff may be added at the new library.
The Greenpoint Library recently launched a Greenpoint oral history project to collect and share the stories of longtime and lifetime Greenpoint residents with a focus on environmental activism, which is also funded by GCEF and spawned from the larger “Our Streets Our Stories” project at the library.
To build support for the reopening, the Friends of Greenpoint Library are seeking to build their volunteer base to help support events, advocacy, and fundraising initiatives.