Brooklyn Public Library unveils rentable vinyl collection

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The Brooklyn Public Library has unveiled a 400-LP vinyl collection for listening and rental at the Central Branch.
Gregg Richards, Brooklyn Public Library

The audiophile community is rejoicing after the Brooklyn Public Library announced this week the launch of a new vinyl collection, which patrons can either experience at listening stations or check out to take it all in at home.

Visitors to BPL’s Central Branch at Grand Army Plaza can peruse the library’s collection of 400 LPs in the New & Noteworthy Room on the first floor. In the event they find something they fancy, stereoheads can waltz over to the listening stations and put the needle to experience the full breadth of vinyl supremacy. The stations even come with instructions on how to use record players.

For those who prefer to unwind to the beat at home, BPL members can even check out their favorite records for up to three weeks at a time.

The collection is wide-ranging, with something for virtually everyone. There’s timeless classics like Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On, Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours, Prince’s Purple Rain, and The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper, alongside latter-day achievements like Adele’s 21, Lana Del Rey’s Born to Die, and Billie Eilish’s When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go. Stevie Wonder’s Songs in the Key of Life can be found alongside Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly and Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon.

Brooklyn artists are well-represented, with entries like Biggie Smalls’ Life After Death, Joey Bada$$’ All-Amerikkkan Bada$$, and Paul’s Boutique by the Beastie Boys, plus Jay-Z’s modern-day classics The Blueprint and The Black Album.

Plus, there’s some hidden gems others might overlook, such as Green Onions by Booker T & The MGs — whose title track is the best example of a song that no one can name, but everyone has heard — and No New York, the definitive compilation of the nihilistic no wave punk movement that thrived in the East Village in the 1970s.

The vinyl collection is only the latest foray into the musical realm for BPL. The library also houses collections of musical instruments and 17,000 pieces of sheet music for rent, and offers studio space for practicing or recording tunes. And this fall, the home of Kings County’s knowledge will launch a new program offering instruction on DJing, audio production, sampling, and musical coding.