Central Library facade and plaza. Photo by Gregg Richards.
Central Library's Grand Lobby. Photo by Gregg Richards.
A book sale being held on the Central Library Plaza. Photo by Gregg Richards.
Central Library's Brooklyn Gaze. Photo by Gregg Richards.
A historic photograph of Central Library. Source: Brooklyn Collection.
About Central Library
Central Library first opened its doors to the public on February 1, 1941. With its breathtaking façade, sweeping grand lobby and vast contemporary and historical collections, it has been a Brooklyn icon since its opening. The library was designated a New York City Landmark in 1997 and joined the National Register of Historic Places in 2002. Central Library completed the first phase of major renovations in 2021.
Central Library is Brooklyn’s home library, and one of New York City’s foremost cultural, civic and educational institutions. It is home to the Dr. S. Stevan Dweck Cultural Center, our premiere programming series BPL Presents; the Shelby White & Leon Levy Information Commons, an innovative public coworking and meeting space offering the latest technology; and the Business and Career Center, offering books, resources and assistance on job search, small business entrepreneurship and personal finance. Three floors of collections span a range of subjects, and include reference resources as well as books and materials in more than 30 languages. Central Library is fully wheelchair accessible.
Central Library receives more than 1.2 million visits each year, and items from its collections circulate 1.6 million times.
Book Donations at Central Library
We are currently not accepting book donations at Central.
Explore Central Library
Designed to resemble an open book, Central Library is clad in limestone with impressive Art Deco detailing by sculptors Thomas Hudson Jones and Carl P. Jennewein. Perhaps the building’s most striking feature is its 50-foot-high entry portico, set into a concave façade that reflects the elliptical configuration of Grand Army Plaza. The dramatic entrance is adorned by fifteen bronze sculptures of famous characters and authors from American literature, framed by columns with a series of gilded bas-reliefs depicting the evolution of art and science.
- Take our audio tour!
- Learn about the bronze entrance sculptures (PDF)
- Central Library History and Timeline (PDF)
- Central Library map (PDF)
- Central Library Inscriptions
- View a slideshow of historical Central Library photographs.
Brooklyn Public Library is a selective Federal Depository for government publications. It is a congressionally designated depository for U.S. Government documents. Public access to the Government documents collection is guaranteed by public law. (Title 44 United States Code)
Central Library Renovations
The first phase of Central Library’s renovation began in January 2019 and was completed in 2021. Learn more about the project here.
Alternate Service Hours
Occasionally, Central Library offer alternate hours in order to accommodate large events. For dates, times, and registration information for these events please visit this page.
University Open Air: Lectura Mapa Sonoro de la Música Salsa en Nueva York. En Español1:00 pm, Central Library, Plaza
BPL Home Internet Access Program - ACP Workshop12:30 pm, Central Library, Second Floor Computer Lab
Drop-In Resume & Career Help (Central Library)3:00 pm, Central Library, Business & Career Center
BPL Home Internet Access Program - ACP Workshop4:00 pm, Central Library, Second Floor Computer Lab
Drop-In Resume & Career Help (Central Library)11:00 am, Central Library, Business & Career Center
- Harlequin presents New List
- Brooklyn History & Memoirs
- History of NYC
- New Mass Market paperback that you love
Brooklyn by name : how the neighborhoods, streets, parks, bridges, and more got their namesLeonard Benardo
The Three Graces of Raymond Street : murder, madness, sex, and politics in 1870s BrooklynRobert E (Robert Emmet) Murphy