Branching out! Brooklyn Public Library challenges library-goers to ‘Browse the Branches’

The Brooklyn Public Library has announced a new challenge to visit each of their 62 branch locations.
The Brooklyn Public Library is challenging patrons to check out all of its 62 branches for a chance to win fun prizes.
File photo by Kevin Duggan

Get ready to embark on a novel journey!

The Brooklyn Public Library last week announced a new “Browse the Branches” challenge, aimed at encouraging library-goers to visit each of its 62 branches.

At locations across Brooklyn, visitors can pick up a “passport” which will serve as a marker indicating which branches they’ve visited. At each BPL location, participants in the challenge will receive a special sticker indicating where they’ve browsed.

brooklyn public library branch
Visitors can pick up unique “passports” at each branch they visit. File photo by Susan De Vries

As visitors reach milestones throughout their journey through the BPL system, they will become eligible for different prizes. The very first person to complete the “Browse the Branches” challenge will become the “Branch Trailblazer” and will win a number of prizes — including a professional photo session at BPL’s Central Library location.

The first 100 to finish the challenge will receive a special tote bag as well as a limited-edition BPL Ambassador library card with additional prizes announced throughout the year.

“Browse the Branches encourages patrons to explore all our libraries have to offer and get to know new neighborhoods – all while engaging in some friendly competition with fellow Brooklynites,” said Linda Johnson, president and CEO of the Brooklyn Public Library. “We’re delighted to celebrate the cultural richness that defines our borough, and see our community come together to explore, learn and connect.”

This challenge comes after budget cuts forced libraries across New York City to cease their Sunday services back in November, reducing city funding for libraries by $23.6 million.

Now, elected officials and other library backers hope that the BPL’s “Browse the Branches” challenge will incentivize Brooklynites to visit their local libraries despite the cuts.

“Libraries are an integral part of communities across our borough, and Browse the Branches offers an opportunity for branches in every corner of the borough to get some love and recognition—from the hustle and bustle of the Central Library at Grand Army Plaza to the quiet waterfront charm of the Gerritsen Beach branch,” said Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso. “I look forward to working with BPL on more projects which highlight all of Brooklyn and bring more people to our libraries!”

sunset park brooklyn public library
Elected officials said they hoped the challenge would encourage Brooklynites to visit their local library. File photo by Adam Daly

Supporters also hope that the challenge will encourage visitors to explore the neighborhoods served by each library branch and interact more with the history and culture of each community.

“Brooklyn Public Library is an invaluable resource for Brooklyn and all of New York City,” said Kathy Park Price, Brooklyn organizer at Transportation Alternatives. “Browse the Branches is a fun opportunity for New Yorkers to visit and explore new neighborhoods all over the borough — and we know the best and fastest way to visit all 62 locations will be on two wheels. As New Yorkers bike, walk, and take transit across Brooklyn, we also invite them to join us and fight for truly safe streets across Brooklyn and in all five boroughs.”

Mayor Eric Adams also applauded the challenge, despite his administration’s budget cuts, saying the challenge was an opportunity for New Yorkers to experience the wonder of libraries.

“By exploring all of the Brooklyn Public Library‘s 62 branches, New Yorkers have an opportunity to see the very best Brooklyn has to offer while experiencing the borough’s rich cultural diversity,” said Adams. “Libraries are not just places where we engage with the past, but they are doorways to our future. I encourage everyone this year to explore and visit Brooklyn, find a new neighborhood, and pick up a book.”