While the Preakness Library Closes, a New Pre-School Opens

By Afi Ibragimov and Milana Shindelman

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The Preakness Branch Library in Wayne located on Hamburg Turnpike is closing down on June 28, 2019 after more than 40 years of operation.

The library recently placed a sign inside of the public library to announce their upcoming closing.

When the library originally opened on July 24, 1923, it buzzed with life as people continuously came to read, study, and check out books.

Currently, the library provides public computers for library cardholders, access to WI-Fi, electronic use of laptops, and wireless printing. There are also “English as a Second Language” tutoring, “Friend of the Library” book sale room, and numerous other programs for the community to enjoy. The library also includes over 190,000 books, audiobooks, and ebooks.

So why are they closing down?

The Wayne Town Board of Ed has decided to convert the library section of the building into a full pre-kindergarten school that all children of Wayne will attend. This will free space in the Elementary schools to provide a full day kindergarten.

Trustees are expected to approve the $172.7 million budget by next week, giving the landlord, the Board of Ed, permission to not renew the town’s lease and begin renovations.

Since only the library section of the building is being renovated, the Tech Workshops held by the schools will not be affected because they are located in different areas of the building.

While the new pre-school is good for the Wayne school system, it’s bad for the library and all who use it. Residents are concerned that the closing will affect those who cannot use the library any longer.

“There’s a longtime issue in Wayne that has been contentious, at times, regarding full-day kindergarten. The only way to make it possible was to move our pre-K classes, and the only space we had was that building,” says Mark Toback, the Schools Superintendent.

“It’s sad to see it close and I hope they find a good home for all those books,” says Michael Rewick, the principal of Hills regarding the Library.

“When I heard that the Preakness Library Branch was closing to become a kindergarten, my heart sank. It’s weird to see a place where I used to get books and now it is becoming something so different,” adds sophomore Lauren Gelber.  

The project will cost a total of $4.2 million and is expected to be completed by the end of fall 2021.   

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