The Brooklyn Public Library unveiled two new facilities at its main branch while celebrating 125 years of book-lending in the borough.
Borough leaders gathered at Grand Army Plaza on Nov. 29 to issue the storied book lender a proclamation, celebrate 125 years of service to Kings County, and officially unveil two new facilities at the central branch: the Civic Commons and the TechMobile.
“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 Borough President and Mayor-elect Eric Adams, whose office issued the library a proclamation. “The two new facilities we are unveiling today, the Civic Commons and the TechMobile, point the way forward.”
The Civic Commons, built as part of a renovation of the Art Deco main branch building with $2 million in funding from Borough Hall, acts as a dedicated hub for organizations that promote civic involvement. It includes a room for public meetings, a computer lab, an IDNYC and passport office, and a rotating “community partner office,” according to the library.
A spokesperson for the library said the commons were tantamount to their goals of helping Brooklynites be active members of their communities.
“Equity and democracy have long been at the heart of Brooklyn Public Library’s mission,” said Fritzi Bodenheimer. “The Civic Commons embodies our goal to provide every Brooklynite the resources and spaces they need to participate in public life.”
The TechMobile acts as something of a mobile computer lab, bringing technology services including wireless internet access, laptops to loan, desktop computers, and printing services to communities in need — part of the library’s efforts to bridge the “digital divide” that creates obstacles for under-resourced neighborhoods.
“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,” said Adams. “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 that Brooklynites and New Yorkers rely on.”