Also known as...
Program areas at BPL
Central Library is the largest public library in Brooklyn. At 352,000 square feet, the building accounts for one-third of Brooklyn Public Librarys total physical plant. Central provides traditional library services, including a collection of approximately 900,000 materials in wings dedicated to fiction, history, science and technology, childrens and young adult literature, and the arts. The Business and Career Centers relocation to Central Library has provided patrons with central access to an extensive collection of books, materials and services related to test prep, business and career resources, in addition to financial and college planning. The Brooklyn Collection, Brooklyn Public Librarys (BPLs) local history division, provides a wealth of information about the borough, including access to research materials such as the full, digitized 1841-1955 run of The Brooklyn Daily Eagle. Central is also home to the Shelby White and Leon Levy Information Commons, a public technology center and workspace with a reservable recording studio and meeting rooms, sophisticated design software, and a digital training lab for community classes and workshops. In Fiscal Year 2020, Central Library hosted nearly 97,000 patrons for approximately 8,000 in-person programs before the pandemic forced the Library to close its doors. Likewise, Central Library alone circulated 744,215 items between July 2019 and February 2020.
Special programs: BPL offers programs for people from every walk of life. In addition to the branch programs described above, BPL hosts Teen Tech Time and homework help sessions, citizenship and HSE test preparation, career and business development resources, free cultural events, and much more. A representative sample of our special programs: (1)Bookmatch -provides patrons with reading lists specially curated for them by bpl librarians. (2)Bklyn Incubator supports and funds the development of new initiatives by librarians and staff, with training and mentoring on program design, partnership development, community outreach, and project management. (3)brooklyn cultural adventures program- award winning summer day camp for children 7-12; cultural immersion at BPL, Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn Children's Museum, Prospect Park, and Prospect Park Zoo.(4)Our Streets Oral history project chronicling decades of transformation in neighborhoods throughout Brooklyn. (5)PowerUP Kreyol, a business plan competition for members of the Haitian-Kreyol community modeled on the PowerUP competition that has helped launch more than 2,100 Brooklyn businesses since its founding in 2003.(6)Todays Teens tomorrow's techies-teaches digital skills to students 14 to 18 and prepares them to serve on BPLs volunteer team, where they help patrons make use of the Librarys many free technology resources. In Fiscal year 2020 BPL joined libraries across the city (and country) to help navigate the decennial process for our residents. This important count of all people living in the United States leads to critical infrastructure funding and representation in Congress. BPL brought on a full-time Census Coordinator to work with six part-time multilingual Census Navigators to provide relevant, trustworthy information about the count to our traditionally hard-to-count communities. Midway through the initiative the Covid-19 pandemic gripped New York. The Librarys outreach efforts shifted immediately to social media, virtual events, information distribution in pharmacies and grocery stores, and through houses of worship. In the end BPLs efforts helped improve Brooklyns count from 2010. The Programming and Exhibition Department produces high quality cultural programming to encourage public engagement with the ideas and cultural expressions of our time. On February 2nd, 2020, BPL, in collaboration with the Cultural Services of the French embassy,hosted A Night of Philosophy & Ideas, a sunset-to-sunrise event bringing philosophers, musicians, artists, and authors from around the world together with the Brooklyn and Greater New York community through a series of conversations and performances. The Outreach Services Department serves Brooklynites with unique and often overlooked needs, including veterans, immigrants, the homebound, and people transitioning into and out of the citys correctional and shelter systems. In fall 2019, BPL launched a public health initiative with a Healthy Communities Conference. A full-time Community Health Coordinator joined our staff and serves as a point of contact for health-related partnerships, collaborates with staff on public health programming, and leads staff development related to health literacy. At the end of FY20 and beyond, the Library partnered with the New York City Health & Hospitals Test & Trace Corps to distribute masks and reach Brooklynites with information about essential resources such as free testing sites and emergency food relief. Our Youth and Family Services Department continues to offer innovative programs around STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math). Before BPL closed its buildings doors in FY2020, 736 attendees participated in our Science Baby program, a creative science program for 0-3 year old. The heart of Science Baby is exploring the wonder of science through story, repetition and play. We explore gravity, motion, magnets, chemical reactions, light, water, bubbles, sound and more. And through our Library Lab program series, a dynamic learning enrichment program for children (ages 6 to 10) and their families, nearly 3,000 patrons received tips on how to use library resources to spark curiosity for STEM throuh hands-on experiments and how to continue projects at home. 23,811 attendees participated in virtual Library Lab programming between March 2020 and the end of the fiscal year. In 2015 Brooklyn Public Library launched BKLYN Incubator and its success has continued during the pandemic. The initiative supports innovative programs at the Brooklyn Public Library by providing professional development, mentorship, and resources to staff with innovative ideas. The purpose of BKLYN Incubator is to empower our staff to build public programs and services from the ground up and support ideas that are responsive to community needs. Throughout the 59 initiatives funded by Incubator, over 22,418 patrons have attended an Incubator program, 775 events have been created, and 148 community partners have been involved in supporting and collaborating with incubator initiatives. Librarians of Tomorrow is an innovative, hands-on internship program for 10th-12th grade students from diverse backgrounds with an interest in library careers. In FY20 there were 55 school-year interns and 5 alumni peer leaders who contributed 7,000 volunteer hours, and 10 summer interns who contributed 1,000 volunteer hours. The Librarians of Tomorrow program quickly pivoted to a virtual program after the BPL system closed all of its branches in response to the pandemic. Interns supported BPLs borough wide efforts to promote the u.s. census creating promotional posters, info graphics, podcasts and videos, and attending Twitter events. The intern languages spoken other than English included Urdu, Bangla, Spanish, Russian, Uzbek, Tajiki, Arabic, Mandarin, French, Haitian Creole, Cantonese, Punjabi, Yoruba, Igbo, Hebrew, and Fujianese.
Neighborhood libraries: As nearly all of Brooklyns 2.6 million residents live within a mile of a library branch, BPLs neighborhood libraries welcomed over 5.3 million visitors in FY20 before BPL closed its doors in March due to the pandemic. Before the pandemic, every Brooklyn Public Library location was open at least six days per week, and the average branch was open approximately 48 hours per week. The librarys collection held approximately 3.7 million print and digital materials. Between July 2019 and February 2020, the system circulated 7.5 million materials in total. Between March and June 2020, e-checkouts for young adult materials increased by 80 percent compared to the previous year, and nearly tripled for childrens materials. To keep pace, BPL dramatically expanded its digital collection, which now contains more than 400,000 e-books, audio books, videos, and subscriptions. As the largest provider of free Wi-Fi in Brooklyn, BPL hosted 1.3 million free Wi-Fi sessions in FY20. Even as BPL closed its doors in March, the system decided to keep the WiFi on at all of its branches throughout the pandemic. Brooklyn Public library's branches provide an expansive range of programs and services. The core (and most popular) offerings include First Five Years, a suite of early literacy programs for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers; inclusive play and learning environments for children with disabilities; Creative Aging classes that help seniors learn new skills and express their creativity; digital literacy programs such as basic computer classes and advanced instruction in animation, audio engineering, coding, and more; and Summer Reading, BPLs borough-wide effort to promote recreational reading while school is out of session. BPLs branches hosted nearly 575,000 patrons for approximately 38,000 in-person programs between July 2019 and February 2020. For the first time in Brooklyn Public Librarys 124-year history, BPL was forced to close the doors of all of its neighborhood branch libraries in March 2020 due to the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. Knowing how many patrons depend on the Library, BPL found new ways to deliver services. With extraordinary speed , librarians and staff transformed BPL into a largely digital institution. Between mid-March and September, BPL branches hosted more than 4,000 public sessions online with the same breadth as our in-person programming and the same aim: to foster literacy, civic engagement, and social justice. Over 700,000 people have tuned in to our virtual branch programs such as Ready, Set, Kindergarten!, tutoring and Homework Help for remote students, ESOL and HSE classes, Know Your Rights workshops, grief support groups, and personalized job assistance for those who found themselves suddenly unemployed. Our free, high-quality virtual content has been in high demand. In the first four months of the pandemic, 146,000 children tuned into our multi-lingual storytimes. Alongside the dramatic expansion of the Librarys digital services and WiFi signal, Brooklyn Public Library has begun to gradually reopen its branches. The safety of patrons and staff are paramount, and BPL followed the guidelines and recommendations of leading public health authorities, as well as other urban library systems, to develop a comprehensive, multiphase Reopening Plan. In June 2020, BPLs Capital Planning and Facilities Management team and custodial staff worked together to reconfigure workspaces and implement new cleaning, ventilation, PPE, and workspace distancing protocols. All BPL locations (apart from those under construction) are now open to staff, so that they can perform inventory, collections, and reference work, and produce on-site virtual programming.