Borough Park Library began life in 1904 as a small collection in the Edgewood Reformed Chapel, a small church near 54th Street and 14th Avenue. By 1907, when the collection became an official BPL branch, more than 60% of Borough Park’s population was foreign-born or first-generation American, with many Germans, Italians, Jews, Poles and Russians residing in the neighborhood. The busy branch was moved to 13th Avenue in 1926, but soon outgrew this new space. On November 28, 1955, the present-day branch opened on 43rd Street with a collection of 53,000 books, nearly double the holdings of the former location.
The Borough Park branch continues to boast one of the highest circulation rates in Brooklyn, with young adult fiction especially popular. As of January 2017, branch visits are up 19% over last year, and the branch ranks in the top 10 of Brooklyn’s branches in terms of program sessions and attendance.
Temple Beth El, at 15th Ave and 48th St, is the oldest synagogue in Borough Park.