Over the next few years, The Brooklyn Public Library’s Fort Greene branch will undergo major renovations. But, its new look is now up to its patrons, reports The Brooklyn Paper.

Before the work begins, Hester Street, an urban planning nonprofit, plans to hold a conversation with library staff and community members to share ideas on what the new design should offer.

“We take seriously what the community wants,” said Fritzi Bodenheimer, The Brooklyn Public Library’s press officer. “That’s why we have libraries and what we have them for.”

The Brooklyn Public Library Organization is rehabilitating over a third of its libraries with projects ranging from small restorations to full-scale renovations. The Fort Greene branch will specifically undergo a restoration and expansions of its three levels and outside garden.

According to Hester Street’s stated mission, the organization’s goal is to create sustainable and resilient neighborhoods and cities. The design firm Belmont Freeman Architects will also be in charge of the renovations. Their portfolio is characterized by creating minimalist spaces for people to gather, with a focus on preserving historical details.

“We have a lot of flexibility in designing the renovation,” said Monty Freeman, founder of Belmont Freeman. “The Walt Whitman branch is a beautiful classical building and we tend to approach those with a lot of respect, but also with minimalist modern interventions that add newness spaces.”

A virtual workshop will take place on Zoom on Thursday, July 21, from 6-7:30pm. The event will allow attendees to discuss what they want library renovations to look like.

“We need to make sure that the building projects a welcoming and inclusive image,” said Monty Freeman. “We’re well aware of the different functions that public libraries serve these days, so we are pretty confident that we’ll be able to create something that’s going to be of relevance to the Fort Greene community.” 

Kimberlean Donis

Kimberlean Donis is a freelance journalist based in Brooklyn. She is a student at both London City University and Williams College majoring in Political Science, Art History, and Africana Studies.

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