Mayor-Elect and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams on Tuesday issued a proclamation today Brooklyn Public Library’s 125th anniversary.
“For more than a century, the Brooklyn Public Library has been a hub of learning, enrichment and civic participation, serving Brooklynites of all backgrounds. As we celebrate the 125th anniversary of this institution this year, it is also worthwhile to reflect on what the next 125 years will look like, and how the library can deepen its commitment to equity,” said Adams in a ceremony at the new Civic Commons at the Central Library at Grand Army Plaza, Brooklyn.
“The two new facilities we are unveiling today, the Civic Commons and the TechMobile, point the way forward,” added Adams. “These new facilities will help us tackle some of our city’s most pressing issues, such as the difficulty immigrant New Yorkers face in accessing city services and the shameful digital divide that holds people of all ages back from realizing their full potential.
“I was so proud to allocate funding to both of these facilities and look forward to working with the library’s leadership to continue providing services on which Brooklynites and New Yorkers rely,” he continued.
The founding of the borough’s public library began with an act of the state Legislature “to establish and to maintain a public library and reading room” in the independent city of Brooklyn.
Today, Adams said Brooklyn Public Library is one of the nation’s largest library systems, with 61 locations, a thriving online library with virtual programs and digital resources, and outdoor reading rooms throughout the borough, “offering access and opportunity for New Yorkers from all walks of life: immigrants learning a new language; job seekers searching for opportunities; students seeking help for homework and preparing for college; older adults seeking companionship; entrepreneurs launching their dreams; children discovering the world, and people of all ages discovering the joy of a good book.”
The new Civic Commons was made possible with $2 million in capital funding that Adams provided.
The library said the new Civic Commons, opened earlier this year, is “an easily accessible, dedicated hub for organizations and services that facilitate participation in public life, and features a new entrance on Flatbush Avenue.”
Home to Central Library’s Passport Services Center, IDNYC office, a rotating community partner office and a computer lab, the library said waiting patrons will find “a common reception area offering plentiful seating and free Wi-Fi.”
In the future, the library said the space will host civic events, such as local committee meetings, informational workshops and voter registration drives, through partnerships with, among others, Brooklyn Voters Alliance, Immigrant Justice Corps, the NYC Department of Health.
Following the proclamation ceremony, Adams toured the library’s first-ever techmobile.
“The techmobile will allow the Brooklyn Public Library to bring much needed computer services to communities in need, both complementing the library’s BKLYN Reach program, as well as supporting the borough’s ongoing commitment to end the digital divide by providing reliable and affordable Internet access to all Brooklynites,” said the Brooklyn Public Library in a statement.
It said the vehicle is outfitted with Wi-Fi and laptops to loan; built-in desktop computers; an all-in-one printer for copying, scanning, and printing; and external outlets for charging devices, among other things.
The library said plans are underway to bring the techmobile to senior centers for technology classes and to offer teens film, photography, gaming and audio workshops.
Brooklyn Public Library Chief Executive Officer, Linda E. Johnson thanked Adams for his “enthusiastic commitment” to the borough’s libraries throughout his two terms as Brooklyn’s chief executive for providing $12.5 million to rehabilitate branches throughout the borough, to upgrade computers, as well as for the techmobile and Central Library’s Civic Commons.
“For 125 years, in one of the most diverse cities in the country, Brooklyn Public Library has welcomed everyone into a singularly democratic and dignified space to cultivate their dreams and connect to their communities,” Johnson said.
“We are grateful to Borough President and Mayor-Elect Eric Adams for ensuring that everyone in Brooklyn, now and 125 years from now, has access to millions of books, vital technology and a staggering array of other equalizing resources,” she added.