Greenpoint Library History

Branch History

Greenpoint is the northernmost neighborhood in Brooklyn. It is known for its large Polish immigrant and Polish-American community, and it is often referred to as “Little Poland.” Nearby parks include McCarren Park, the neighborhood’s largest green space, and the smaller McGolrick Park, home to the landmarked Shelter Pavilion and a monument to the ironclad USS Monitor.

The original Greenpoint Library opened in 1906 and was one of Brooklyn’s first Carnegie libraries, but the building’s deterioration resulted in its demolition in the early 1970s. The replacement one-story library opened in 1973 and faithfully served a growing community. A mural by artist Leslie A. Wood adorned one side of the building; its installation in 2013 was made possible by the Friends of Greenpoint Library.

Timeline for the new Greenpoint Library & Environmental Education Center
  • BPL was awarded the GCEF legacy grant in December 2014. Winners were selected by community vote and with oversight from the New York State Office of the Attorney General and Department of Environmental Conservation.
  • BPL formed a Community Advisory Committee in March 2015 comprised of local environmental groups, elected officials and neighborhood organizers.
  • The architects Marble Fairbanks were selected in September 2015.
  • The branch hosted a community design workshop in October 2015; patrons were able to vote for their favorite features in the library for a month.
  • During Fall 2015-2016, BPL and Marble Fairbanks worked to develop the new building design, incorporating feedback from the Community Advisory Committee, various City agencies, and members of the public.
  • Greenpoint Library closed to the public in July 2017 for demolition. 
  • Excavation began in Fall 2017. The foundation of the previous Carnegie library is uncovered, along with asbestos-containing material, causing long delays.
  • Remediation of the asbestos was completed and the new foundation and footings were finished in late 2018. 
  • The new library was scheduled to open in Spring 2020, but work temporarily halted due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • Work began again in Summer 2020, and the library opened for limited lobby service in October 2020.
Did you know?

Many of Greenpoint’s streets, including Meserole and Calyer, are named for the farming families who once inhabited the area.