Brighton Beach Library: An Interview with Bella Reytblat

What is the name of your site and where is it located?

The Brighton Beach branch is located in south Brookyn at 532 Neptune Avenue. The location is convenient by public transportation, including the B, Q & F subway lines, plus several buses.

How many years have you been working at this site?

I’ve worked at the Touro Brighton Beach branch library for 15 years.

What is the history of your site? 

This location was opened around 1991-1992.  The site was heavily damaged by flooding during Hurricane Sandy.  All the books on the lower shelves were destroyed. It took few months to fully renovate and reopen the site and the library.

What is the neighborhood like? Any nearby points of interest?

The branch is located in the Brighton Beach area, near the ocean and the famous Coney Island Boardwalk and Nathan’s. It’s traditionally been a Russian immigrant neighborhood. There is shopping, restaurants, gourmet groceries, bakeries, and theatre along nearby Brighton Beach Ave. I particularly like Gourmanoff and Net Cost Market for specialty foods.

What programs does your site support? What are the strengths of its collection?

The Brighton Beach library site supports the New York School of Career and Applied Studies. It supports the core curriculum, with specialties in business, computer science, human services, psychology and education.

What study spaces and other resources are available at your location?

The library provides assistance with all types of research for papers, analysis and independent study as well as a warm, quiet and productive environment for study, relaxation and time off from classes.

Sunset on the boardwalk
Sunset from the Coney Island boardwalk

What types of duties are staff at your site responsible for?

I spend a lot of my time teaching. I most often help students find research and information, and understand how to cite. My favorite part of my job is when students are excited to learn something because they were lost before and didn’t know what was possible. I like to think of it as teaching students “how to fish,” because then they can take those skills to help them in other libraries and beyond graduation.

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