Ulmer Park Reopening: NYC’s Leakiest Library Gets Facelift

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Ulmer Park Library re-opening. (Photo courtesy of Councilman Mark Treyger)

Ulmer Park Library re-opening. (Photo courtesy of Councilman Mark Treyger)

Councilman Mark Treyger joined Brooklyn Public Library today to celebrate the reopening of Ulmer Park Library (2602 Bath Avenue) today.

The run down, heavily utilized branch closed last year for capital improvements made possible by Treyger and Borough President Eric Adams — including the installation of a new roof, ceilings, HVAC units, flooring, furniture and LED lighting.

Ulmer Park’s infrastructure challenges were among the most dire of New York City’s more than 200 public libraries. Tarps and garbage bags were a familiar sight at the branch — the staff’s defense against a chronically leaking roof that has now been entirely replaced.

Ulmer Park Library re-opening. (Photo courtesy of Councilman Mark Treyger)

Ulmer Park Library re-opening. (Photo courtesy of Councilman Mark Treyger)

“Ulmer Park was long emblematic of the capital challenges we face in libraries throughout Brooklyn,” said BPL President and CEO Linda E. Johnson. We appreciate the support of our patrons throughout its renovation, and we are thrilled to welcome them back to a much improved, much more comfortable branch.”

Located in Gravesend, Ulmer Park Library serves one of the borough’s most diverse communities, including many families with young children who regularly attend the branch’s popular First Five Years programs. The neighborhood is home to Chinese and Russian immigrants who visit the library daily to browse its multilingual collection or read newspapers in their native languages.

Ulmer Park Library re-opening. (Photo courtesy of Councilman Mark Treyger)

Ulmer Park Library re-opening. (Photo courtesy of Councilman Mark Treyger)

The branch also hosts hundreds, if not thousands, of chess matches each year, ranging from fun and recreational to intensely competitive.

Treyger and Borough President Adams partnered to secure an allocation of $875,000 to cover the cost of the roof and enable BPL to undertake additional upgrades. With its failing HVAC units, the library was often uncomfortably hot in the summer and unbearably cold in the winter. BPL was able to install new heating and cooling units, which in addition to making the branch more comfortable for staff and patrons will allow Ulmer Park to serve as a community cooling center.

“As a former educator, I have always believed that libraries are an extension of the classroom, and we must ensure that both our classrooms and libraries are comfortable, safe, and nurturing environments that allow residents to read and study in the most productive manner possible,” said  Treyger. “The work completed at the Ulmer Park Library signifies a tremendous quality of life improvement for the Bensonhurst/Gravesend community, and I remain dedicated to helping maintain the quality of our local libraries.”

Borough President Adams added, “Libraries are cornerstones of quality neighborhoods, providing not only an opportunity to enjoy the pleasure of reading but also the comfort of a safe activity space. These vital improvements to the Ulmer Park Branch will allow the entire community to benefit from a modern facility, particularly in the summer when many residents depend on the library as a cooling center.”

The renovations at Ulmer Park were completed by the NYC Department of Design & Construction, which manages the Library’s major capital projects. Brooklyn Public Library takes the opportunity during large DDC projects to refurbish the interior of its branches. Longtime branch manager Ed Flanagan, called the improvements from the library’s previous state a difference of “night and day.”

Ulmer Park is now open during normal business hours: Monday, Wednesday and Friday, 10am to 6pm; Tuesday, 10am to 8pm; Thursday, 1pm to 8pm; and Sunday 10am to 5pm.

  • Sean F

    Very exciting. Great staff. Great patrons. A very welcome event for the neighborhood.