Canarsie Library - Local History & Photos

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Welcome to Canarsie Branch, April 2000 Special Exhibit, April 2000 Technology, April 2000 Librarian, April 2000 Meet the Canarsie Staff, April 2000 Exterior View Patrons, 1960 Temporary Location Interior View, 1960 Opening Ceremony
Branch History

Located in southeast Brooklyn, Canarsie takes its name from the Canarsie Indians, members of the Algonquian linguistic group, who originally inhabited the area.

The library originally opened as a deposit station in 1909, and as the 39th branch in the Brooklyn Public Library system on January 11, 1932. When it opened as a branch it was located at 1141 E 92nd Street at the corner of Conklin Avenue. The library then had only 9,000 volumes with which to serve a population of about 25,000.

On January 4, 1937, the library moved to new quarters at 1064 E. 95th Street and Glenwood Road, affording more shelf space and more commodious facilities for both library workers and patrons. The new branch also had a children's room.

By 1957 the library had, once again become too cramped to give an expanding community the service to which it was entitled. More than 50 local groups campaigned actively for a new building. A library constructed as part of the Beame Plan opened at the present location on October 24, 1960. Through its innovative programming and information resources, the Canarsie Branch has successfully served the community for almost 90 years.

Famous Facts

"The area that is known as Canarsie was originally part of the Dutch town of Flatlands. When the Dutch arrived, they named the area after the Native American Indians living, the Canarsees. But the exact meaning of the name Canarsie is still somewhat of a mystery. Some claim that is derived from canard, the French word for duck. Still others believe that the Native Americans coined the name after the fenced built by the Dutch farmers, using the word Canarsee.

At least three churches in the neighborhood date to the nineteenth century, including Canarsie Reformed Church on Conklin Avenue (1877), Grace Protestant Church of Brooklyn New York (1840), and Canarsie Plymouth Congregational Church (1877) on East 96th Street, founded by a colony of blacks whose ancestors had been slaves in the area. 

Abbracciamento on the Pier, a restaurant that has been on Canarsie Pier for more than 13 years, sports a 900-foot dock so that diners can arrive by boat or car." 

Source: Jackson Kenneth T, and John B. Manbec. The Neighborhoods of Brooklyn. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1998. Q974f.723 N