Pop-Up Library Opens at Brookdale Hospital

Larissa Larrier cuts the ribbon to the new “library in transit” at Brookdale Hospital. Ben Brachfeld/Bklyner

EAST FLATBUSH – Officials with Brookdale Hospital and the Brooklyn Public Library cut the ribbon Tuesday at the new “library in transit” pop-up located within the hospital, giving the public the opportunity to use library resources and services while the nearby East Flatbush branch undergoes capital renovation.

The mini library has 350 books on its shelves, with both fiction and non-fiction for various age groups represented, including popular romance novels and manga. There are also five laptops and five iPads available for 30 minute browsing sessions, as well as printing services.

The entire space is 325 square feet, far smaller than the 12,000 square feet occupied by the branch library, but it allows community members to utilize library resources in a stationary place, rather than rely on the library’s bookmobile.

“It’s a huge space, and a lot of services are not necessarily available on the bookmobile, so we wanted to make available services that are somewhat available in the branches but clearly not everything,” said Larissa Larrier, the neighborhood library supervisor at the East Flatbush branch, who spearheaded the pop-up project.

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The current space was formerly the site of a bank, but sat vacant before being converted into the library pop-up. It will only be open on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The hours are intended to “complement” the bookmobile’s hours of 11 to 4 on Mondays and Wednesdays in front of the East Flatbush branch, said a library spokesperson.

Initially, the mini branch will be staffed by three workers at any given time, but that number will likely decrease to two after the branch is up-and-running, according to Larrier.

Larrier said it “feels great” to open the pop-up library and allow community members to access library resources that have been absent for the past year.

“We’re looking forward to this space,” Larrier said. “You’d be surprised what you can do with so little.”

The East Flatbush branch, which has been on Church Ave since 1952, is scheduled to reopen in early 2021 after the completion of $8.6 million renovations, which include introducing more natural light and modernized shelving and furniture to the main space, as well as adding a “community meeting space” and a “welcoming” area for children.

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Ben Brachfeld

Ben Brachfeld

Ben Brachfeld is a freelance reporter based in Brooklyn. His work has also appeared in Gotham Gazette, City & State, and Gothamist. Reach out to him via email at benbrachfeld@bklyner.com, or on Twitter @benbrachfeld.

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