Walt Whitman Library - Local History & Photos
The predecessor to Walt Whitman Library opened in a storefront on Nassau and Bridge streets in 1900. Eight years later, a beautiful new library, funded by philanthropist Andrew Carnegie and built in the Classical Revival style, opened on St. Edwards Street in Fort Greene. When it opened, the branch boasted a substantial collection on naval architecture and science to serve workers at the nearby Brooklyn Navy Yard. Today, Walt Whitman Library serves the residents of numerous public housing complexes, including the Raymond Ingersoll Houses and the Walt Whitman Houses.
In addition to the Navy Yard, Walt Whitman staff and patrons are within walking distance of cultural venues like the Brooklyn Academy of Music and Barclay’s Center. Several parks are within a lunch break’s stroll, including Commodore Barry and Fort Greene. The Jay Street–MetroTech station, served by the A, C, F and R lines, is also nearby, but there’s little need to venture from a neighborhood that features such staff favorite dining options as Myrtle & Gold, Forno Rosso Pizzeria and Golden Fried Dumpling.
Walt Whitman library is a popular destination for young people, many of whom come to the library to do homework or simply blow off steam playing games. Story time sessions for youngsters are always well-attended.
Noteworthy people who grew up or lived near the branch include Richard Wright, Jhumpa Lahiri, Nelson George and, of course, Walt Whitman.
Did you know?
Walt Whitman Library was so named in 1943, to commemorate the 125th anniversary of the poet’s birth.