Bedford Library - Local History & Photos

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Welcome to Bedford Branch, July 2000 Architectural Detail, July 2000 Technology Available to Public, July 2000 Patrons Reading, July 2000 Interior View, July 2000 Bedford Library, 1902 Bedford Library, April 1904 Reference Room, c.1899 Reopening of Branch, Jan. 10 1966 Special Program for Teens, 1949
Branch History

The first branch of the Brookyn Public Library system, the Bedford Branch opened on December 20, 1897 in rooms within the old P.S. 3 on Bedford Avenue. In 1899, the branch was temporarily moved to the 2nd floor of the 26 Brevoort Place, and, in June of 1902, it moved again to Avon Hall.

Between 1901 and 1923 steel magnate Andrew Carnegie donated 1.6 million to the Brooklyn Public Library for the purpose of building 21 new branches. Bedford branch officially opened on February 4, 1905. The plan for this branch was recognized as an excellent example of library planning and design by Library Journal --March 1903. The original configuration included a central control desk and a radially arranged book stack area and mezzanine. The branch closed for renovation in February 1964, and reopened on January 10, 1966.

The Bedford Branch has initiated many innovative programs over the years. In 1949, Bedford Youth Library opened in rooms in the spacious basement. A well-selected book collection provided the basis for various techniques to attract the youthful public -- recordings, films, discussion groups. In the 1970s the branch acted as a base for a mini-school. More recently, the Bedford branch has served the community through a variety of programs featuring writers and musicians, as well as a Hands-On science outreach program. The second floor currently houses one of the Brooklyn Public Library's noted Literacy Centers, which provides a broad range of services and materials to the surrounding community.

Famous Facts

Weeksville Historic District, Stuyvesant Heights Historic District, and the Brooklyn Children's Museum. Famous people include: Lena Horne, who once lived on Chauncey Street, James Weeks, purchased the land called Weeksville in 1838, William Thompson, president of the NYC Board of Education, Isaac Asimov and Norman Mailer, attended Boys High School, F.W. Woolworth and Abraham Abraham, retailing entrepreneurs.