Construction Begins on Park Slope Library Reading Circle and Storytelling Garden
Council Member Brad Lander, Friends of Park Slope Library, Community Members Celebrate External Improvements, New Public Amenities Funded Through PBNYC
Brooklyn, NY—Construction is underway on the new Park Slope Library Reading Circle and Storytelling Garden, Brooklyn Public Library announced today.
The project includes a storytelling amphitheater, community gardening space, paths and planters, a water fountain and more at the historic Carnegie branch. Pending approval by the city’s Public Design Commission and Landmarks Preservation Commission, the garden will also be home to a statue of beloved children’s book character Knuffle Bunny, the creation of author Mo Willems. The statue will be funded by the Friends of Park Slope Library.
“Park Slope Library hosts some of our most popular programs for children and families, from story times to arts and crafts to gaming,” said Linda E. Johnson, president and CEO of Brooklyn Public Library. “With the creation of a public garden and amphitheater, the branch’s dedicated staff, volunteers and Friends group will be able to offer a wide range of fun, educational outdoor programs to the community.”
The project was proposed by the Friends of Park Slope Library and supported by volunteer “budget delegates” involved in PBNYC (participatory budgeting) in Council Member Brad Lander’s district. The community voted for the project to be funded during PBNYC voting in spring of 2015.
“I'm very excited to see work starting on the Park Slope Library storytelling garden, and look forward to adding this sure-to-be-loved space to our already-much-loved library,” said Council Member Brad Lander. “The friend’s group came forward with this fantastic project, a group of volunteer budget delegates lent their support, and neighbors voted in PBNYC to make it a reality. PBNYC brings our communities together, like this project will bring our neighbors together for hands on learning, gardening, and storytelling. I can’t wait to see this project completed and full of families who voted to fund it. Thanks to Brooklyn Public Library for working with our office on this project, to the fantastic Friends of Park Slope Library, and the many volunteers in PBNYC who worked to support this project and bring this great new community space to our neighborhood.”
“It’s thrilling to see this project come to fruition, providing both a dedicated story garden for our children as well as a truly multi-generational space for our entire community,” said Friends of Park Slope Library Co-President Christopher Franceschelli.
“This storytelling garden will transform the library’s lawn into a vibrant new public space for all of its neighbors to enjoy,” said Jonathan Kuhr, facilitator of the PBNYC District 39 Arts, Culture, and Community Facilities Committee, whose members researched the project and helped bring it to the ballot. "Our committee was particularly excited about the chance to create a space for learning and socializing outdoors that was accessible to all. We were so happy that it was a winner in PBNYC. I’m thrilled that the project is already underway and can’t wait to see it completed.”
The project’s design was completed by the city’s Department of Design and Construction, which will also manage its construction. DDC also designed and constructed the branch’s interior renovation in 2012, including ADA and HVAC improvements, new reading spaces and a multipurpose room that can be reserved by patrons online.
“In continuing Mayor Bill de Blasio's vision for a healthy, sustainable city for all New Yorkers, we wanted to contribute to the Park Slope’s Library branch by enhancing their visitor experience. The library currently serves an ethnically diverse community and the construction of this reading circle and community garden will increase engagement within the neighborhood,” said Commissioner Feniosky Peña-Mora of the Department of Design and Construction.
The construction will last throughout the summer and fall. The branch’s hours of operation and the public’s access to the building will be unaffected.