Family & Leisure

Best Reborn Libraries
Chatham Square Library
33 East Broadway

The New York Public Library may be dealing with coming budget cuts and a hiring freeze, but you wouldn't know it at these two branches, both of which have been given spiffy, high-tech, kid-friendly makeovers. Architects for the busiest branch in Manhattan, Chinatown's Chatham Square, retained and restored original exterior details, but the second floor is now dedicated to the children's collection, and the third floor has a new storytelling area. The expanded Chinese Heritage Collection, one of the city's hallmark repositories of all things Chinese, is a magnet for researchers as well as adoptive families. Computer stations were increased from 4 to 24, and thankfully, air-conditioning was added.

Morningside Heights Library
2900 Broadway, at 113th Street

The Morningside Heights branch went from a one-room afterthought to a new space ten times the size on three levels, with soaring arched windows. A fifteen-seat flat-screen computer-training center on the first floor is wildly popular (as are the video and DVD checkout shelves), and there's also a comfortable children's room and plenty of computer terminals.