Mayor Bill de Blasio, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., and City Council Member Andy King Allocated Funding For Key Repairs and Improvements

OCTOBER 28, 2016 – The New York Public Library’s Wakefield branch in the Bronx is slated to get a much-needed renovation, thanks to over $5 million in capital funding allocated for the project by local elected officials.
Mayor Bill de Blasio, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr., and City Council Member Andy King allocated $5.343 million to rehabilitate the 10,831-square-foot branch, which opened in 1938 and is in need of a number of interior and exterior improvements.

Heastie, Diaz, Jr., and King symbolically presented the Library with a giant check for the funding at an event held this morning at the Wakefield branch, which in Fiscal Year 2016 received 110,362 visits and circulated 62,753 items.

“The Library so appreciates the generous support of our local elected officials, who with this funding have ensured that we will be able to offer Wakefield residents an improved branch and, by extension, the best possible service,” said NYPL President Tony Marx. “We – and the residents who rely on our services – thank Mayor de Blasio, Assembly Speaker Heastie, Bronx Borough President Diaz, Jr., and Council Member King for this important allocation.”

“Libraries are sites of discovery and pillars of our communities,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “I am excited to see this renovation project provide more opportunities for Wakefield residents of all backgrounds to interact, learn and grow. I’m confident this funding will reinvigorate an important local centerpiece for Bronxites.”

“This investment in our local library is an investment in our community,” said Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie. “For many years, the Wakefield library has been meeting the diverse needs of this community by providing free programming, educational materials, computer access and countless other services. Our investment will allow the library to better serve our community and ensure that the library’s resources remain available for generations to come.”

“I am delighted that we could allocate this needed funding to the Wakefield branch for several improvements that will ultimately benefit the thousands of youth, community members and readers each day,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. “Libraries are a learning place where anyone can go to pick up a book or use the many resources or services that may not be accessible at home and we want to make sure that it is updated and all the needed renovations are made.”

“I love this library but it’s really time for an upgrade,” said Council Member Andy King, who allocated $900,000 from his capital budget for key repairs and improvements to the Wakefield branch. “There are countless school students and adults who utilize this library every week, especially with the extended Saturday hours. The targeted capital improvements, bringing this building up to the 21st Century standard while preserving its historical structure, will make the Wakefield Library even more inviting for residents to visit and participation in NYPL programs.”

The project is still in the very early phases, and a timetable has not yet been established. As plans progress, the Library will launch a “Building for You” campaign, holding public meetings to update patrons and surveying the community both online and on-site about what it needs from a new, renovated Wakefield Library. The public feedback will help inform design.

Generally, the project – which will require a temporary closure of the branch – will include:

  • Façade and front entry rehabilitation as required
  • A partial renovation of the library’s interiors, including new flooring, ceilings and finishes
  • An upgrade to building systems as required, including plumbing, HVAC, electrical distribution, lighting, fire alarms and security systems.
  • New circulation desk and improved configuration of spaces
  • Improved ADA accessibility throughout the building