Brooklyn Public Library to honor life of Major Owens

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The Brooklyn Public Library will honor the life of one of its most famous alums, the late former Congressman Major Owens, at an event next Tuesday featuring members of his family and the library’s newly acquired collection of artifacts from his life.

Owens began his professional life as a librarian at BPL in the late 1950s. He served as a “community information librarian” in the 1960s, bringing the library’s collections into communal spaces in the borough like laundromats, stores, and bars.

While he eventually left to embark on a career in government and politics, he never forgot his roots as a librarian, and fiercely advocated for funding for public libraries and school libraries. He was sometimes known as the “Librarian of Congress,” where he represented neighborhoods like Crown Heights, Bedford-Stuyvesant, and Brownsville from 1983 until 2007. He died in 2013 at the age of 77.

BPL’s new collection of Owens artifacts include speeches, campaign flyers and literature, personal items, and photographs of his time working with BPL.

The event, moderated by BPL librarian Michelle Montalbano and featuring Owens’ three sons Chris, Millard, and Geoffrey, will take place virtually on Tuesday, June 29 at 6:30 pm. Those interested in attending can register at this link.