A Million Possibilities

Dee Bowers

Color photograph of fireworks over Brooklyn's Central library
Randy Duchaine, Fireworks over the Central Library, April 14, 1997, color print. Media Relations photographs, Brooklyn Public Library institutional archives. Brooklyn Public Library, Center for Brooklyn History.

Brooklyn Public Library kicked off celebrations of its 125th anniversary on November 30th and will continue them into the new year. In honor of that, and in the spirit of celebration and possibility brought by the New Year this week, today's Photo of the Week is of fireworks at the Central Library for BPL's centennial in 1997.

On November 30, 1896, the Brooklyn Common Council passed a resolution for the establishment of Brooklyn Public Library, following approval by an Act of Legislature of the State of New York in 1892. The new institution began operations in December 1897 with the opening of the original Bedford branch in what had once been a public school building. Given that, the library decided to celebrate its centennial in 1997, one hundred years after beginning operations. That year's annual report detailed the festivities: "Cake, Roberta Flack, dancing, fireworks, and fun!--it was all part of BPL's April 14, 1997 Centennial kick-off party at which 3,000 guests celebrated the year's theme, '100 Years...A Million Possibilities.' The setting was the Library's Grand Lobby, freshly restored to the original design that greeted its first patrons when it opened in 1941."

As we enter into 2022, we once again have a newly restored Grand Lobby at Central, along with many other updates to our main branch. Additionally, we've opened our first completely new branch since 1983, completely eliminated late fines, and celebrated our billionth checkout, among other milestones. These are some bright spots in what has undoubtedly been a long and difficult year for us all. In 1997, the library celebrated "a million possibilities." In 2022, we hope to keep offering each and every Brooklynite as many possibilities as possible to "lay the foundation of a better civilization for the future," just as our founders vowed to do 125 years ago.

Interested in seeing more photos from CBH’s collections? Visit our online image gallery, which includes a selection of our images, or the digital collections portal at Brooklyn Public Library. We look forward to inviting you to CBH in the future to research in our entire collection of images, archives, maps, and special collections. In the meantime, please visit our resources page to search our collections. Questions? Our reference staff is available to help with your research! You can reach us at cbhreference@bklynlibrary.org.


This blog post reflects the opinions of the author and does not necessarily represent the views of Brooklyn Public Library.


Sonia valentin

Congrats on bpls 125th anniversary! We r proud our family have been patrons for generations. Such good memories of events, good books read with our children/grandchild/niece n nephews plus our great nieces n nephews, and senior zoom classes! Thank you BPL for being in our lives. WE APPRECIATE YOU AND STAFF!
Wed, Dec 29 2021 4:36 am Permalink

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