Paerdegat Library - Local History & Photos
In 1950, community volunteers opened the first small library in the Paerdegat section of Brooklyn in the abandoned laundry of the Glenwood Project. To supplement the materials owned by the community library, the Brooklyn Public Library Extension Department sent rotating blocks of books. However, it soon became clear that the growing population needed a branch of its own. Library and community worked together, and on July 11, 1963, a new branch building opened at 850 East 59 Street. Paerdegat Branch is named for the Paerdegat (Horse gate in Dutch) Basin, a channel 1 1/4 miles long which empties into Jamaica Bay. The air-conditioned, 7,225 square foot Paerdegat Branch was the last Brooklyn Public Library building constructed under the fiscal austerities of the Beame administration.
The Branch closed for renovations on November 3, 1986, and reopened on December 14, 1987. Paerdegat serves a population of 36,454 with 70,000 visitors per year. Through its recreational and information resources, the Paerdegat Branch looks forward to serving this vital and growing community into the 21st century.
Paerdegat Branch is named for the Paerdegat Basin which empties into Jamaica Bay. Paerdegat is Dutch for "horse's mouth." Andries Huddie and Wolpert Gerritsen brought the land from the Casketeuw Indians. The first volunteer community library, served by rotating blocks of Brooklyn Public library books, opened in an abandoned Glenwood Projects laundry in 1950. July 11, 1963, the Paerdegat Branch opened on a dirt street surrounded by vacant lots. Despite the conditions, patrons still borrowed close to 200,000 items that year.