Today’s news:

Square Library closed for repairs till Aug. 31

The Westchester Square Library branch is finally getting the attention many longtime residents and elected officials believe it has deserved for some time. 

Patrons who frequent the library, located at 2521 Glebe Avenue, have discovered that the branch has been closed since July 21, with an expected reopening set for August 31. 

When guests come back to the popular facility, they will discover a replacement of the floor tiles, a necessary renovation that community activists have been requesting for some time when it was discovered that 30 tiles in the children’s room on the second floor had been missing; what many felt was an aesthetically unpleasing sight, as well as a dangerous one for kids who frequent the room. 

“Praise God,” said Westchester Square Zerega Improvement Organization president Sandi Lusk.  “They are completely renovating the floors.  This is way long overdue.  It’s fabulous.”

The total cost of the project will run $25,400, although library representative Jennifer Lam stated that the figure may change as the project proceeds. 

Regardless of the price tag, Lusk feels the project is well worth the money.  “The Westchester Square Library is one of the only libraries with a floor dedicated to the children,” she said, noting that she has often times hosted events in the space for kids.  “Sometimes I will see 60-65 kids on the floor.  They deserve a space that is beautiful to look at and safe to maneuver through.”

Senator Jeff Klein, who is often times a guest of Lusk’s various arts and crafts related events at the library, was happy to hear that the NYPL was making a dedicated effort to the local branch.  The senator believes the renovation goes hand-in-hand with the resurgence of the entire Westchester Square community.

“I am very happy the library is receiving the repairs it so desperately needs,” he said.  “Libraries represent the epicenter of a community and I am committed to helping Westchester Square remain competitive, as both a shopping district and a neighborhood.  The many book lovers, kids and various community members deserve nothing less than the best.”

Lusk, who feels that the summertime closing is a small sacrifice, would like to see more work performed on the library.  Among other suggestions, the longtime resident would love to see a new coat of paint find its way in and around the structure. 

One such improvement is a mechanical systems replacement and upgrade, a date for which has not yet been determined.  The total cost of the project is $377,728, of which $250,000 was allocated by Councilman Jimmy Vacca. 

“As someone who grew up visiting the Westchester Square Library, I’m grateful to see the New York Public Library do its part to keep this neighborhood resource in tip-top shape,” Vacca said, adding that he was proud of the funding he provided to help address those longstanding needs. 

“All of these renovations take on added significance at this time, because merchants just down the block are working harder than ever to bring the Square back to life,” Vacca continued.  “Having a safe, attractive, well-stocked library can only add to the comeback – and I’ll be keeping my eye out for other opportunities to improve this local institution.”

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