April 22, 2009

Press Contact:
Stefanie Arck, Manager of Marketing & Communications
Brooklyn Public Library



Brooklyn, NY, April 15, 2009—Brooklyn Public Library (BPL) announced today that it has received a grant of $100,722 from the Leon Levy Foundation. This grant supports the planning for an Information Commons, a flexible center for learning, research and training, with a strong emphasis on BPL’s wide range of technology databases and resources.

BPL’s vision for the Information Commons is to create an area that encourages prolonged individual and small-group research, reading and studying, quiet socializing and larger group workshops. In this proposed space on the first floor of Central Library, librarians will promote basic information literacy and provide advanced research instruction, anticipating patrons’ needs and encouraging use of our many technology supports.

“The Commons will serve as a comfortable, inspiring space for BPL’s users and better connect them with our librarians’ expertise and our extensive suite of online resources,” says Richard R eyes-Gavilan, Director of Central Library. “And because the space will emphasize wireless laptops over desktop computers, our users will have the ultimate say in how the space works best for their specific needs.”

During the six-month planning period, BPL will work with Pfeiffer Partners Architects, Inc., an award-winning architectural and interior design firm that spearheaded major renovations at both the Boston Public Library and the Los Angeles Central Library. Pfeiffer will identify needed architectural modifications, furniture and equipment, and develop floor plans, a cost model and completion schedule for the Commons.

“Brooklyn Public Library is one of the borough’s most important resources, and its Central Library has special meaning for me since it was the library I went to as a child,” said Shelby White, founding trustee of the Leon Levy Foundation. “That’s part of the reason why we are excited to support BPL on planning this transformation of its popular library into a place that advances its vital role as a free technology and information provider.”

Each year, one million people visit Brooklyn Public Library’s Central Library, located at the intersection of Flatbush Avenue and Eastern Parkway on Grand Army Plaza. The landmarked facility, which opened in 1941, houses millions of items including books, maps, photographs and ephemeral items related to the history of Brooklyn.


The Leon Levy Foundation (, founded in 2004, is a private, not-for-profit foundation created from the estate of Leon Levy, a legendary investor with a longstanding commitment to philanthropy. The Foundation’s overarching goal is to continue the tradition of humanism characteristic of Mr. Levy, by supporting scholarship at the highest level, ultimately advancing knowledge and improving the lives of individuals and society at large.

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 Unite d States with 60 neighborhood libraries around the borough. BPL offers free programs and services for all ages and stages of life, including a huge 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 day20at our website:

Marketing & Communications
Brooklyn Public Library

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