Rendering: Popular Library at Central Library
Rendering: Civic Commons at Central Library
Rendering: The new Business & Career Center
Brooklyn Public Library is in the midst of our most significant era of rebuilding in history; within five years, more than one third of BPL's system will be rebuilt or renovated. Now, we're embarking on an ambitious plan to meet the needs of a growing borough: an upgrade to Central Library. Throughout the renovation, Central Library will remain open and operational—and is committed to open communication throughout the construction process, with regular updates on progress to our patrons and supporters.
The first phase of construction will begin in April of 2018 with a rehab of Central Library’s front plaza and upgrading infrastructure like elevators and electrical systems. During this phase, the library will also create a Major Owens Welcome Center as well as a reimagined and constantly-curated Popular Library, where patrons can quickly check out top titles.
The IDNYC office and passport services center currently in the entryway will move to a new, more spacious Civic Commons by the Flatbush wing on the first floor, providing a more comfortable experience for patrons seeking civic assistance. On the second floor, there will be a new Business & Career Center. This phase will also include creating a more seamless wayfinding experience throughout the library.
This first phase is fully funded at $35 million—which includes $10 million from NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio and $2 million from the Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams. The Major Owens Welcome Center was funded by NYS Assemblyman Walter T. Mosley; funding to rehab the front plaza comes from the New York State Education Department; and a new Business & Career Center is funded in part by the New York State Regional Economic Development Council.
Construction will begin in April with a rehab of Central Library's front plaza. Work will include plumbing upgrades for the plaza fountains and resetting paver stones. The plaza work will be completed by the end of June 2018. ADA access to the building will be maintained at all times. Read our press release for more details.
Frequently Asked Questions
Central Library will remain open throughout the construction process. Although you may not be able to access certain areas of the library for safety reasons, we are committed to staying open and providing updates during the renovation.
Construction work will begin on Central Library's plaza in April 2018. We expect the first phase of renovations to continue through 2020.
Yes, Central Library will be safe to visit throughout the construction process. You may not be able to access certain areas of Central while they're being worked on, but those areas will be blocked off and clearly marked. Our construction manager, Gilbane, has the highest safety rating and will follow all federal, state and local laws related to safety and hazardous materials.
The first phase of construction is fully funded at $35 million—which includes $10 million from NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio and $2 million from Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams. The Major Owens Welcome Center was funded by NYS Assemblyman Walter T. Mosley; funding to rehab the Central Library front plaza comes from the New York State Education Department; and a new Business & Career Center on the second floor is funded in part by the New York State Regional Economic Development Council.
Major Owens was a community information librarian at BPL from 1958 through the late 1960s. He was known for placing BPL collections in public spaces such as laundromats, stores, bars and anywhere else people gathered. Later, Major Owens went on to represent Brooklyn neighborhoods in the House of Representatives.