Boro Park Library Undergoes Renovation to Add Light, Gardens, and Outdoor Seating

Boro Park Library Undergoes Renovation to Add Light, Gardens, and Outdoor Seating

By Yehudit Garmaise

The Boro Park branch of the Brooklyn Public Library will soon provide, “a feeling of lightness and openness,” as more glass, sunshine, seating areas, and gardens grace the building, explained David Leven and Stella Betts, the architects hired to redesign the Brooklyn Public Library on 43rd St off 13th Ave.

Leven and Betts, the founders of the NYC architectural firm Levenbetts, spoke at Tuesday night's Community Board 12 meeting regarding their renovation of the library that has been in the neighborhood for 117 years.

Before the pandemic, the library has secured funding to upgrade its infrastructure, but additional funding has allowed the library to significantly enhance the building’s beauty and update its technology.

The BP library first opened in 1907 with a small collection of books at 54th Street and 14th Avenue, before moving to 13th Avenue, where the library had the space to double the size of its collection of books.

Since Nov. 28, 1955, the well-attended Boro Park library has stood at 1265 43rd St., where countless books can be found for fun and research.

In late September Assemblyman Simcha Eichenstein announced that he helped the library to better serve the neighborhood when he secured $75,000 of the state’s budget to buy thousands of books of interest to Orthodox Jews for Brooklyn’s public libraries in Boro Park, Midwood, and Mapleton.

Now both children and adults who live in Boro Park can head to the public library and find novels, mysteries, suspense thrillers, histories, biographies, and cookbooks by publishers like Artscroll-Mesorah and Feldheim Publishers.

“Reading is a fundamental skill that all children and adults must master, but that will only happen when our library provides reading material that is appropriate to meet the needs of all of our local communities,” Assemblyman Eichenstein said. “We must provide a wide selection of culturally sensitive publication so our neighbors from a wide range of diverse backgrounds can enjoy the benefits of our local libraries.

“This brand-new collection will ensure that all of our kids will enjoy visiting their local public library and look forward to reading new titles to which they can relate and which are intriguing, educational, and inspiring.”

“Reading provides us with a greater understanding of ourselves and each other,” said Linda E. Johnson, President and CEO of Brooklyn Public Library. “As a public library, we strive to provide a broad range of titles that are reflective of the wonderfully diverse borough we call home.”

While Leven and Betts ensured CB12 that the library’s new design will fit in with the look and heights of the neighboring buildings, the architects said the library’s new space will be so distinctive as to “announce itself as a public building, as opposed to a residential building.”

Leven said his team wants to create “a more open and welcoming glass façade,” and “create more of a visual connection between the street and the interior of the library,” by building more windows that let in the sunlight. 

The building’s bricks also need “a complete reskinning and recladding to ensure that the structure is protected for years to come,” said Leven, who added that new bricks will be lighter in color to “pick up on the lighter tones of the existing brick to lighten up the library and add to the feeling of lightness and openness.”

Inside, the architectural team is “creating spaces that foster study collaboration that is safe for community members of all age groups—especially the children.

Residents of all ages also will enjoy the library’s new greenery and protected gardens for children’s areas that also include seating with backs and armrests for adults to sit, read, and dream.

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