Check it out! Brooklyn Public Library and Brooklyn Historical Society to merge

Library advocates to host a 24-hour read-a-thon to protest proposed budget cuts
Brooklyn Public Library’s main branch.
File Photo by Paul Martinka

This is one for the history books!

The Brooklyn Public Library and the Brooklyn Historical Society announced on Thursday that the two iconic borough institutions will merge together, bringing an unmatched catalog of Kings County lore under one unified umbrella.

“By combining with the Brooklyn Public Library, the Brooklyn Historical Society immediately extends our reach to every neighborhood in the borough,” said Brooklyn Historical Society President Deborah Schwartz. “This partnership also provides BHS with financial stability, professional resources and, and through our combined programming, an enhancement and expansion of everything we do.”  

Under the scheme, the lender will serve as the parent institution of the Historical Society — assuming care of all of its archives and programming, as well as it landmarked Pierrepont Street building,

The archives of the two institutions will be combined into one, with regular library-goers now having easy access to the society’s collection of rare Brooklyn-related texts and artifacts. 

The book repository’s massive collection of over 200,000 photos, books, maps, and newspapers of historic Kings County will now be housed in the Society’s archives, which the library says will free up much-needed space for public programing. 

The library’s president lauded the merger as a perfect match that would prove to be a huge benefit to their shared missions. 

“Together our institutions hold important collections of material, manuscripts, and artifacts, vital to our shared history that we are committed to make accessible for everyone,” said Linda Johnson.

The Brooklyn Historical Society, which was founded in 1863 and has been housed in the same Pierrepont Street building since 1881, recently opened its first satellite location in a Dumbo waterfront warehouse — which Johnson indicated in an interview with the New York Times will remain there until 2021, after which the use of the space remains to be determined. 

The news comes after it was revealed that the library faces a whopping $247 Million backlog in overdue repairs.  

The two institutions are reportedly seeking city funding to finalize the merger, but do not need city approval. 

This isn’t the first time the two institutions have partnered, such as when the society donated the former mascot of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, and held a contest to come up with a new name for the bird.