Brooklyn Public Library is celebrating 125 years of serving Brooklyn.
On November 30, 1896, the Brooklyn Common Council passed a resolution to establish Brooklyn Public Library to nurture “the minds of the people and lay the foundation of a better civilization for the future.” The first branch, Bedford Library, opened in a former public school building and soon after Andrew Carnegie funded the construction of 21 more branches across the borough.
Brooklyn Public Library continued to grow throughout the 20th century and into the 21st. There are now 61 BPL branches in every neighborhood across the borough and outreach sites in schools, homeless shelters, senior centers and jails.
As our library system has grown, so has our definition of literacy. While Brooklynites still visit their local library to read books in a welcoming space, they also come to borrow laptops, hear live music, register to vote, revise their resumes and so much more. The Library has always been the most democratic institution in our borough and it’s become the most versatile, too.
Here's to 125 years of Brooklyn stories. We’re looking forward to the next chapter. Join us as we celebrate our past and look with great excitement toward the next 125 years.
125th Anniversary Programming
Listen to BPL's Borrowed podcast to hear what the Library was like 125 years ago, plus the radical ideas that founded public libraries across the country.
Attend Out of the Box, a special event series hosted by the Center for Brooklyn History. Join experts, eyewitnesses and CBH staff as they uncover gems from the archives and reflect on the history they tell.
A Look Back at 125 Years
Celebrate Our One-Billionth Loan