Dozens of residents gathered at the Franklin Square Public Library to celebrate the grand opening of the library’s new young adult section, The Square, on June 28. Erin Bach, the Young Adult section librarian, said that the grand opening took years of budgeting and work to accomplish.
“We didn’t have a designated space for teens before this,” Bach said. “Now they can study here, read our Young Adult books and we’ve even included outlets for them to charge their laptops and phones.”
As Franklin Square teens flooded the new section, New York State Assemblyman Edward Ra couldn’t help but reminisce about his own teenage days at the library. Ra said the library had served as a refuge for him and his friends on hot summer days, and it also provided him a quiet haven to study at when he was attending law school over a decade ago.
During the opening ceremony, Ra mocked a Forbes’ opinion piece that came out last year, where Long Island University Post economist Panos Mourdoukoutas advocated for Amazon to “replace local libraries to save taxpayers money.” Mourdoukoutas argued that as Amazon’s book retail business grew, and as Starbucks became the new community hubs with open Wi-Fi available, libraries no longer served a purpose. The piece was ridiculed online, and Ra added that libraries would never be replaced as long as they served their community.
“This library was around when I was a kid,” Ra said. “But it’s completely different now, and, with the new teen center, it continues to grow and improve. The Franklin Square Public Library will be here for years to come.”
Aviva Kane, the library’s assistant director, said she was excited to see the community support for the library as local elected officials gathered and presented the library with several certificates of recognition for the grand opening. Aviva said the successful launch of The Square served as a positive sign for her coworkers and the library’s Board of Trustees to consider expanding other sections of the library.
“It would be great to get more meeting rooms here since we have so many groups and people coming here to host their meetings,” Kane said. “This grand opening has been inspiring for us because now we can see what we can accomplish together.”