Design Firm Proposes Outdoor Courtyard for Mapleton Public Library
By Yehudit Garmaise
The public library located at 1702 60th St. will create an outside courtyard, with comfortable seating covered by a canopy, space for children’s programs, stroller parking, and beautiful greenery: if Community Board 12 provides the letter of approval for which the library’s design team asked last night.
One mature tree is all that is currently planted in unused outdoor space at Boro Park’s Mapleton Public Library, pointed out Shuang Wu, who represented the Manhattan design firm, Scape.
The city’s Department of Design and Construction hired Scape to transform and beautify the library, which recently added hundreds of new books from Feldheim, Artscroll, and Mesora publishers, thanks to Assembly Member Simcha Eichenstein, who secured $75,000 in New York’s 2021 budget to include many more titles that are of interest to Orthodox Jews for the three public libraries in Assembly District 48.
Boro Park’s public library, has served as a “staple of the community” on 17th Avenue since 1955, said Naila Rosario, Brooklyn Public Library’s Government Relations and Advocacy Manager, who spoke with excitement about the library’s renovation plans.
“Currently the library’s most popular programs, such as Homework Prep Help, Story/Playtime, Chess Club, and Teen Tech Time, are for kids.
“We hope to use this extra ‘big green outdoor space’ that is covered by a canopy to provide shade during the hot summer to provide comfortable seating and more programming, for adults as well,” Rosario said.
In addition to just providing a nice place in which “people can relax and read in different weather conditions,” future programming could include music, exercise, and dance, Wu said.
Outdoor classrooms for a science lab, English conversation, and art and crafts are other ideas in Scape’s design proposal.
“Of course, we will create spaces for normal activities, like reading, storytime, and more quiet activities as well,” said Wu, who pointed out that the outdoor courtyard will be safe because visitors to the library will only be able to enter the courtyard after entering the library on 17th Avenue.
“The library’s garden’s entrances will be controlled and monitored, and the courtyard will not be able to be accessed through the street,” Wu said.
In cases of emergencies, Scape created, from the library’s garden, an exit ramp that allows people to walk, or use wheelchairs, to quickly escape onto the street.
The library’s renovation will also create a beautiful new look that updates the 67-year-old building with more light, greenery, glass, and updated technology.
“We want to create a visual connection between the library, the courtyard, and with the surrounding neighborhood, so it creates more interest and a more beautiful space for the library’s neighbors and people passing by,” said Rosario about the project that she predicted could be started by Fall 2024 and completed within a year.