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Carroll Gardens Library - Local History & Photos
Begun in 1901 in rented quarters at Smith and Carroll Streets, the Carroll Park Branch, as it was then known, moved in 1905 to Clinton Street. A report on the opening called the building, the 5th Carnegie Branch built in Brooklyn, a model one in every respect, large, airy, well lighted and perfectly equipped. The spacious, 14,000 plus square foot interior has the original dramatic barrel-vaulted ceiling supported by columns and some of the original details.
Carroll Gardens has always served the large Italian-American community. In 1907 the Brooklyn Eagle reported that free lectures were given in Italian every Sunday evening. In the 1930s, Carroll Gardens was famous for its citizenship classes and services, and helped over 10,000 people secure their citizenship papers. Today, Italian-Americans are joined by a diverse population that includes Latinos and African-Americans.
In 1973, the branch closed for renovations. When it reopened, it was renamed Carroll Gardens, a change requested by the community. In addition to its regular services, the branch also conducts programs for children and adults. The branch is supported by and active Friends group of the Carroll Gardens Branch.
Carroll Gardens, which was once considered part of Red Hook, was named after Charles Carroll, an Irish immigrant who signed the Declaration of Independence. For the first half of this century, the neighborhood mostly attracted Italian immigrants. Young middle-class professionals began moving into the neighborhood in the 1960s. Carroll Gardens has many brownstones with front yards. Part of the neighborhood was designated a Historic District in 1973. (Source: The Encyclopedia of New York City c.1955)