Western Brooklyn

Shuttered Ulmer Park Library Becomes Neighborhood Eyesore [Updated]

Photo by Bensonhurst Bean
Photo by Bensonhurst Bean

Ulmer Park Library (2602 Bath Avenue), which has been shuttered for a year and half and was supposed to reopen this summer, is still closed and the site is gradually becoming a serious eyesore — collecting trash, discarded belongings and most recently, a dead cat — neighbors say.

Photo by Bensonhurst Bean
Photo by Bensonhurst Bean

According to the Brooklyn Public Library’s website, the Ulmer Park Library closed on March 28, 2015 to install a new roof, LED lighting and other cosmetic improvements. The library was expected to reopen in late spring or early summer of 2016, but as we near the end of July, the building is still locked and the front gate is tangled with overgrown weeds.

In addition, the site has become a dumping ground for discarded items and a neighbor sent us a photo of the dead cat that is attracting swarms of flies near the back entrance.

Photo by Bensonhurst Bean
Photo submitted by tipster

“The city should be ashamed and should immediately clean up and address the publicly owned property,” the tipster, who asked to remain anonymous, wrote in an email.

Ulmer Park Library, which houses a large Russian and Chinese book collection, opened as a sub-library in 1951, and within five years grew into a full library. The library moved to its current location in 1963 and in 1988, it became the first BPL library to implement computer-networked circulation, according the Brooklyn Public Library website.

Update [2:20pm]: Brooklyn Public Library has confirmed that the improvements — including the roof replacement, LED lighting, new furniture — are still slated to be completed this summer. It is also looking into complaints about refuse at the site.

Update [July 26, 3:30pm]: A neighbor sent us this photo of the workers cleaning up the Ulmer Park Library site. Thanks, Brooklyn Public Library, for the swift response to community concerns!


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  1. I have had to go to the New Utrecht Library, because this one has been closed for over a year and is unfortunately the one closest to where I live. I actually like New Utrecht, but now that it is also closed for summer renovations, that leaves me with Highlawn (I used to go there before I moved further away, but it’s now a considerable walk from my current residence).

    Those who are in charge of Ulmer Library’s renovations need to get their acts together.

  2. Repeat after me: “Lowest bidder”.

    I volunteered at Ulmer Park for several years. It’s a great branch, but it really was a mess. One corner had been closed off for a long time because the roof was leaking so badly. BPL actually spent money to put in self-serve kiosks and upgrade the circulation desk, but not the roof. When they did finally start on the roof, they discovered that, not only was there extensive water damage inside the ceiling and walls (duh!), but apparently there had been old fire damage in the same section, so it became a major renovation project.

    I shifted my volunteer duties to Highlawn while Ulmer Park was to be closed, though I’m on a six-month sabbatical right now. While some of the UP patrons have come over to Highlawn, not everyone has. New Utrecht is a great branch, but the literacy program for which I volunteer has been running very successfully there (they draw close to 75 people (parents and kids) for it).

  3. Ulmer Park Library was the first library I went to in the late 60’s. Even at 5 years old the library looked small. I Didn’t need to see the dead cat.

  4. The Brooklyn Public Library should stop throwing these unrealistic dates out. For instance, New Utrecht was originally slated to close for 4 weeks and reopen July 18th. Then they indicated they were going close June 13th and reopen by August 1st. Now from what I hear it will not be until after Labor Day. Closed until further notice to make cosmetic enhancements are fine by me. But how dare they close 2 libraries in close proximity from one another at the same time. Ridiculous.

  5. It’s the contractors who provide BPL with the time estimates, and of course they are going to underestimate them. When has a lowest-bid government contractor ever finished a job on-time?

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