Brighton Beach Library - Local History & Photos
The Brighton Beach Branch, the 43rd library in the Brooklyn Public Library system, opened for the first time on Dec. 12, 1949. The original building was a one-story storefront, located at Ocean Parkway and Brighton Beach Ave. At that time, the library circulated some 400- 500 books per day, and ranked 23rd in circulation of the 51 branches.
In 1961 a request for a new library in the Brighton Beach area was submitted to the Board of Estimate by the Oceanfront Community Council. In March of 1964, as part of the Beame Plan, ground was broken for a new building. In August of that year, the Brighton Beach Branch reopened in its new headquarters, a 7,500 sq-ft air-conditioned building located at at 16 Brighton 1st Road.
An expansion/reconstruction project, beginning in 1990, resulted in the present 12,000 sq ft building, that opened in April of 1992. The new design, completed by the New York City Department of General Services, features a 15-foot skylight, and new finishes, lighting, display shelving and library furniture. It also has an outdoor reading court which is heavily used by the neighboring community. The library, now ranking ninth in circulation, serves a diverse community which includes Russian-speaking, Asian, and Hispanic patrons.
The neighborhood is known as "Little Odessa" because it consists mainly of Russian immigrants who began arriving during the 1970s. The main thoroughfare, Brighton Beach Avenue, is lined with Russian shops, groceries, newsstands, restaurants and nightclubs, from Ocean Parkway to Coney Island Avenue. Known for its Russian people and culture, the Brighton Beach community also includes a Hispanic and Asian population.
Neighborhood attractions include the boardwalk and its restaurants, the beach and swimming, Asser Levy Seaside Park, and a venue for Summer Concerts. One famous local institution. "Mrs. Stahl's Knishes", still exists.