Brooklyn Public Library's Brooklyn Collection documents the history of Brooklyn from pre-colonial times to the present. A unique resource for the study of Brooklyn’s social and cultural history, the Brooklyn Collection is a distinct division of Central Library, and is BPL's only collection of archival and rare book material. Founded in 1997 as a small book collection attached to the Library’s History Division, it has become the world’s largest public archive for the study of Brooklyn’s social and cultural history in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Documenting every aspect of the borough’s past in a variety of media, our holdings include more than 5,000 books, 200,000 photographs, manuscripts, newspapers, maps and atlases, directories, prints, illustrations, sheet music, posters and ephemera. Our holdings are continually growing, and contemporary news items related to Brooklyn are added to our files daily.

The Collection documents the ongoing life of the Brooklyn community through exhibits, programming and outreach efforts.


Our hours vary from the Central Library, please see sidebar for Brooklyn Collection division hours.

While we welcome walk-ins, we recommend that you submit a research request, contact the Collection at or call 718.230.2762 before visiting. With advance notice, our staff can plan ahead by setting aside materials for your use. An appointment is required for access to original photographs, rare manuscripts and certain historical ephemera.


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