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Online survey seeks to gather input in Zerega community, around east Bronx

New York Public Library surveys public on new Westcheseter Square branch building

Bronx Times
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Patrons of the Westchester Square New York Public Library branch are invited to submit their ideas for programming and materials to be used in the recently planned branch building.

The NYPL will open the building, a state-of-the-art glass-walled structure next to the Huntington Free Library’s primary building, in the Square in 2018.

NYPL will use community input to determine what type of programing should be offered and what should be inside, said officials. The information will be gathered a variety of ways, and the NYPL is starting early.

The public is now invited to fill out an online survey which asks their opinions about the services they value most.

Councilman James Vacca urges the library-goers to take the opportunity.

“We have had meetings that I have participated in already, and now we want to brainstorm with the public about ideas that they have for programming at the new branch,” he said. “This is going to give us a leg up, sort to speak, on what we want in the library once we get it built.”

He added: “I think this kind of outreach is groundbreaking – to come out so soon and early in the process and engage the community.”

One of the survey’s questions asks patrons to rate these types of attributes: children’s programs, adult programming, places to study, and exhibitions and lectures.

Another question asks users to rate their need for books and periodicals: newspapers and magazines, e-books, audiobooks, and large print.

Lisa Sorin, director of the Westchester Square Business Improvement District, said that like Vacca she was impressed by the early outreach by the NYPL.

“The fact that they put out the survey speaks to the fact that they want this to succeed for the entire community,” she said, adding “this seems to be a very inclusive process.”

Programs that help people learn how to use computers are something that could be valuable at the branch, she said.

Community Board 10’s district manager Kenneth Kearns said English as a Second Language classes to serve the community’s immigrant population, citizenship training and resume writing would be good ideas.

Vacca would like the library to open on Sunday, because no east Bronx branch currently is.

The NYPL has set up a kiosk at the Westchester Square branch where people can take the survey and have their opinions heard. The branch is located at 2521 Glebe Avenue. The phone number is (718) 863-0436.

Vacca secured about $12 million in government funds for the new building, which replaces a former storage building at the Huntington Free Library.

Senator Jeff Klein commented on the NYPL community outreach.

“By asking community members for their thoughts and opinions on the design and use of the new library in Westchester Square, the New York Public Library is ensuring that this new location will best serve residents and appeal to people of all ages.,” said Klein. “It can be said 100 times over that best results are always achieved whenever public projects seek input from the local community.”

Reach Reporter Patrick Rocchio at (718) 260–4597. E-mail him at procchio@cnglocal.com. Follow him on Twitter @patrickfrocchio.
Updated 4:59 pm, July 9, 2018
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