Brooklyn Public Library Celebrates 100th Anniversary of Newly-Renovated Stone Avenue Library

April 21, 2014

Brooklyn Public Library Celebrates 100th Anniversary of Newly-Renovated Stone Avenue Library

In Partnership with See ChangeNYC and Council Member Darlene Mealy, Upgraded Branch Boasts Modern, Flexible Design

Built In 1914, Branch Was Reported As “World’s First Children’s Library”

Brooklyn, NY – Brooklyn Public Library (BPL) celebrated the 100th anniversary of Stone Avenue Library in Brownsville today, as well as the branch’s new renovations completed in partnership with the NYC Department of Design and Construction's See ChangeNYC initiative and Council Member Darlene Mealy.

In 1914, what was reported to be the world’s first children’s library opened in Brownsville, Brooklyn. Then known as the Brownsville Children’s Library, the branch was built to meet a great community need. Now known as Stone Avenue Library, the branch serves all ages while maintaining a focus on children and families.

Building on the branch’s notable history, it has recently been modernized to meet evolving community needs. Its features include:

  • Flexible spaces for different age groups, independent study and one-on-one discussions;
  • A Word Wall featuring Fry words, 1,000 words most used in reading and writing;
  • A giant chess set;
  • Two self-check machines and a new Customer Service desk;
  • New furniture, lighting fixtures, doors and hardware;
  • Refinished floors and millwork;
  • A poet in residence sponsored by See ChangeNYC.

“Today we have two great reasons to celebrate: Not only have we reopened the beautifully renovated and modernized Stone Avenue Library, but we are also commemorating the 100th anniversary of the branch. We cannot thank the NYC Department of Design and Construction’s See ChangeNYC   program, its executive director Lonni Tanner and Council Member Darlene Mealy enough for making this important renovation possible. With flexible spaces, self-check machines, new furniture, and innovative design details like a word wall and giant chess set, Stone Avenue Library will inspire many more generations of Brooklynites to aim high and have fun while learning,” said Linda E. Johnson, President and CEO of Brooklyn Public Library.

"I can’t think of a better way to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the first children’s library in the country than to re-imagine it as a renewed space for learning and community. The Stone Avenue branch library has always been a safe space for our community and along with the Brownsville Heritage House, has provided invaluable resources to the community," said Council Member Darlene Mealy, who represents Brooklyn's District 41. "This transformation has turned our important institution into a dynamic catalyst for learning. I’m honored to have been able to work with these partners to capture the imaginations of the children of Brownsville.There is nothing more important to the health of this community than the minds of our children."

Lonni Tanner, New York City Department of Design and Construction Chief Change Officer and executive director of See ChangeNYC said, "Re-imagining the role of this library meant taking into account the neighborhoods needs. Inspiring learning was job #1.”

See ChangeNYC is an initiative of the NYC Department of Design and Construction that is dedicated to re-imagining the environments and experiences of the City's service centers – including probation centers, senior centers, and libraries – into places where people are activated to improve their lives.

The branch also benefits from a recent gift from Mike Reiss, writer and producer of The Simpson’s TV show, and his wife Denise, which was used to purchase furniture for the children's area, gaming equipment for teens and additional collections.


About Brooklyn Public Library

Brooklyn Public Library (BPL) is an independent library system for the 2.5 million residents of Brooklyn. It is the fifth largest library system in the United States with 60 neighborhood libraries located throughout the borough. BPL offers free programs and services for all ages and stages of life, including a large selection of books in more than 30 languages, author talks, literacy programs and public computers. BPL’s eResources, such as eBooks and eVideos, catalog information and free homework help, are available to customers of all ages 24 hours a day at our website:


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Brooklyn Public Library is an independent New York City library system serving the borough of Brooklyn. It is the fifth largest in the United States. Its Central Library, Business Library, and 58 neighborhood libraries offer free information, programs and computer access to people of all ages. You can reach the Library's resources of over 70 reference databases, catalog information and news 24 hours a day at