Brooklyn Public Library bridges healthcare gap with health and wellness fair

Brooklyn Public Library hosts health and wellness fair
Brooklyn Public Library hosted a health and wellness fair at its Central Library branch on Friday, Aug. 5, making healthcare more accessible to Brooklynites of all ages and backgrounds.
Photo by Jada Camille

The borough’s biggest book-lender connected community members with healthcare resources and professionals at an informative wellness fair on Friday, Aug. 5, held at the Brooklyn Public Library’s Central Branch in Prospect Heights.

Administrators invited nearly a dozen organizations to greet patrons, hand out informative literature on proper health habits and connect attendees with necessary support groups.

According to BPL spokesperson Fritzi Bodenheimer, the health and wellness fair is just one of many mental and physical health-focused events the library system works to put on.

“We work 365 days a year [and] we have an outreach department to help people in the borough with their physical and mental health,” Bodenheimer told Brooklyn Paper. “We run maternal health programs, we’ve been on the frontlines of COVID — handing out masks in the beginning and serving as vaccine centers later on — so this is sorta part of our DNA.”

The fair also serves as a chance for BPL’s partners to come together in one place.

“This [fair] brings together a lot of our partners so that people can take advantage of all the resources and community,” Bodenheimer said.

Participants passed out informative packets at their booths at brooklyn public library
Participating organizations passed out informative packets at their booths and spoke with guests at the Aug. 5 health and wellness fair hosted by the Brooklyn Public Library. Photo by Jada Camille

The branch’s community health coordinator, Sarah Montrichard-Ramón Cabrera, said the focus of Friday’s event was “breaking down that barrier of accessibility” by making it easier for library-goers to speak with various representatives that they otherwise might have trouble connecting with.

“The main reason why we organized this community health fair is to bring our community based organizations to our patrons to kind of meet them where they are,” she said. “The community health initiative is focused on providing information on how to prevent chronic conditions.”

With spokespeople from CABS, LGBTQ+ support groups, and Planned Parenthood, Brooklynites were well equipped with resources that could cater to their needs. Healthcare professionals from Kings County Hospital also stopped by the fair to take people’s blood pressure, hand out masks, answer questions and pass out informative brochures.

According to Montrichard-Ramón Cabrera and Eva Raison, the local library’s director of outreach services, all booth participants present were partners of the library gathered through their outreach program.

“This event is a reflection of a lot of deep partnership that we have in the community so it’s not only event based but these are partnerships that we call on as we develop programs [or] as we respond to different neighborhood needs,” said Raison.

The Central Library, at home on Grand Army Plaza, is the main branch of the Brooklyn Public Library system. The library was designated a New York City Landmark in 1997 and joined the National Register of Historic Places in 2002.