Children will be able to use iPads at stations set up specifically for them, and all patrons will be able to utilize free Wi-Fi and 24 new computers. Another new feature tis self-checkout, giving patrons the option of avoiding lines when checking out items.
Those machines will be a feature in every branch of the Brooklyn Public Library by 2013, allowing staff to spend more time working closely with patrons.
Renovations also include a ramp, entry, elevator and bathrooms that are completely wheelchair accessible.
Although the renovations were extensive, the building, which was built in 1905, maintains much of the original architecture. It was packed with people on Thursday for a re-opening ceremony that included speeches by students from P.S. 39 and a young cellist playing music by the original fireplace.
“We've maintained the historical details of this treasured Carnegie library, all while updating it with new community space and in-demand technology to meet the needs of out patrons,” said Linda Johnson, president and CEO of Brooklyn Public Library. “We're thrilled to welcome the Park Slope community back to this beautiful, completely accessible branch.”
Prior to the ceremony, Borough President Marty Markowitz made his way to the children's room to view the new technology. He jokingly said that he preferred paper as he sat down on a child-sized stool next to two iPads that were being used by students from P.S. 39.
The students also spoke to the crowd, explaining how important the library is to them and even presented the library with self-published books.
“The Park Slope branch is one of the most ornate Carnegie libraries, and much of its intricate designs are still intact,” said David Burney, commissioner of the Department of Design and Construction. “Our goal was to keep what's best about the Park Slope Library by restoring its historical interior, while introducing harmonious, contemporary elements that reflect the needs of a modern library.”