Programs and Exhibitions

The Brooklyn Collection's display cases are home to rotating exhibitions, curated by the staff, on a myriad of topics relating to Brooklyn's past.  We also host a lecture series, typically on the last Wednesday of the month, with a wine and cheese reception.

Upcoming Programs

Wednesday, February 19th, 2014 -- Closing Reception for Artist-in-Residence Elizabeth Felicella

Photographer Elizabeth Felicella has been capturing images of the Central Library as part of the Brooklyn Public Library: An Open Book exhibit throughout the building.  Join us to meet the artist and see the latest work she's created.  Reception begins at 6:30pm.  

Wednesday, February 26, 2014 -- Come Out Swinging: the changing world of boxing in Gleason's Gym, with author Lucia Trimbur

Author Lucia Trimbur presents the fascinating history of Gleason's Gym and how it's move from the Bronx to Brooklyn impacted this legendary institution and the boxers who call it home.  Reception and distribution of tickets begins at 6:30pm, talk starts promptly at 7pm.






Current Exhibition

Brooklyn Public Library: An Open Book

In conjunction with the building-wide exhibition on the history of Brooklyn's Central Library, the Brooklyn Collection presents photographs of library staff at work through the years.  Although the facade of the building is permanent, the faces inside are ever changing. On display are candid and professional photographs of the librarians, clerks, custodians, and technicians who have kept the library humming along throughout the decades.

Online Exhibits

Generation Preservation Project

The Generation Preservation Project was created by librarian Philip Bond at BPL's Macon Branch in 2009. Working with photographer Niqui Carter, Bond invited neighborhood families into the library to sit for group portraits. The project celebrates the multiple generations of family in this community by providing the space and opportunity to capture a wonderful moment in time and preserve it for future generations to see. See a digital slideshow and learn more about the project here.


"Jamel Shabazz: Prospect Park --

 An Oasis in Brooklyn"

Complementing the exhibitions of Shabazz's work throughout the Central Library building and Brooklyn Collection, this digital slideshow showcases the photographer's images of his longtime muse and stomping ground, Brooklyn's Prospect Park. 

Black History Month at Brooklyn Collection


Past Programs

Brooklyn's Vitagraph Studios, a talk by Trav S.D. -- Wednesday, September 25, 7:00pm

In the early years of cinema, Brooklyn (Midwood, to be specific) was one of America’s great film production centers thanks to the early establishment there of Vitagraph Studios by J. Stuart Blackton in 1907. Brooklyn writer Trav S.D. (Travis Stewart), author of the new book Chain of Fools: Silent Comedy and Its Legacies from Nickelodeons to Youtube, will talk about the central role the studio played in the early industry in the early decades of the twentieth century, aided by historic photographs and film clips.

1948 portrait of Norman MailerMailer’s Brooklyn -- Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Brooklyn Public Library and the Norman Mailer Center present a discussion of American writer Norman Mailer and his impact on the literary culture of Brooklyn. Having spent 40 years of his career living and writing in his Brooklyn Heights home, Mailer’s rich history of iconic literature contributed over 30 pieces of fiction, non-fiction, and plays to the American canon, including his second novel, Barbary Shore, which was written during this time in Brooklyn.




Researching Hispanic Genealogy in New York --Wednesday, May 29th, 2013

The History of Brooklyn's Waterfront with John Manbeck -- Wednesday, April 24, 2013





"Brooklyn": the photography of Lev Dodin -- Wednesday, March 27th, 2013

A self-portrait of the photographer as a young man, c. 1980"Faces on the Path" with photographer Jamel Shabazz

-- Wednesday, February 27th, 2013




"Doing the Right Thing: Labor, Democracy and Organized Crime on the Brooklyn Waterfront during the Cold War" -- Wednesday, January 30th, 2013.

Author Talk with Henrik Krogius: The Brooklyn Heights Promenade -- Wednesday, November 28th, 2012.

In the Footsteps of Willie Sutton -- Wednesday, October 24th, 2012.







Past Exhibitions

Brooklyn Connections Class of 2013: Meet the Students

Brooklyn Connections is a school outreach initiative based out of Brooklyn Public Library's Brooklyn Collection. Our signature partnership program offers classes rare access to original archival materials while completing a customized, standards-based project. Visit the Brooklyn Collection to see the fruits of student research projects from this past school year.

Brooklyn by Lev Dodin

The diversity of Brooklyn is the subject of photographer Lev Dodin’s presentation and exhibition. Shot in Bensonhurst, Dumbo, Brighton Beach, the Brooklyn Botanical Garden and Borough Park, to name a few, his photographs captures the ever changing face of Brooklyn, its neighborhood traditions, architecture and culture.

Reflections by Jamel Shabazz

A prolific photographer of street culture in New York City, Jamel Shabazz has been documenting this borough since the 1980s. His work is showcased throughout the Central Library, and in the Brooklyn Collection we're displaying a selection of images donated by Mr. Shabazz. His photographs are at once up-close and wide-angle, capturing the personal lives of Brooklynites in the larger context of city life.

For information on other Jamel Shabazz exhibitions at Brooklyn Public Library's Central Branch, click here!

Brooklyn, Then and Now

Interns working in the Brooklyn Collection through the Multicultural Internship Program (MIP) set out into the neighborhoods of Greenpoint, Flatbush, East New York, Brooklyn Heights, and Bay Ridge to take contemporary snapshots of historic photographs from the collection.