Brooklyn Public Library Kicks Off Development For New Neighborhood Library Serving DUMBO and Vinegar Hill; WORKac selected as Architect of Brooklyn’s First New Branch since the Opening of the Cortelyou Library in 1983

Friday, September 28, 2018

BPL is in the most significant era of rebuilding in its history; Over the next five years, one third of BPL’s system will have been rebuilt or fully renovated.

BROOKLYN, NY— Brooklyn Public Library President and CEO Linda E. Johnson and Councilmember Steve Levin marked the start of the development process for Brooklyn’s first new neighborhood branch since the early 80s. The branch, serving DUMBO, Vinegar Hill, and the Farragut Houses, will be the 60th branch in the Brooklyn Public Library system.

Located at 135 Plymouth Street, the leased branch will include 6,500 square feet of flexible programming space, traditional book lending services, laptops, desktops and other technologies to meet the needs of the way that Brooklynites work today. Library leadership has identified WORKac as the architect of the project, with deep experience in designing libraries and other public institutions taking into account both community input and high environmental standards.  

“We are thrilled to begin work on the first new library in our system in almost forty years,” said Linda E. Johnson, President and CEO of Brooklyn Public Library.  “With the support of Councilman Levin and in partnership with WORKac, we look forward to opening a newly designed library for the residents of DUMBO, Vinegar Hill, and Farragut. Like every one of our branches, the DUMBO neighborhood library will be a place where the community can come together to read and learn.”

The project was made possible in part through the proceeds of the redevelopment of the Brooklyn Heights library, which itself will bring online nearly 27,000 square feet of public library space as well as 114 affordable housing units in Community Board 2 by 2020.  

“Libraries are an important part of the fabric of a community and this new Brooklyn Public Library location will be a welcomed addition to the DUMBO, Vinegar Hill and Farragut Houses neighborhoods,” said Council Member Stephen Levin. “I want to thank Linda Johnson, President and CEO of BPL for her work in bringing this project to light and look forward to working with her and the team at WORKac to see it through to completion.”

WORKac is a New York-based firm with deep experience in designing libraries and public institutions for the modern era.  The firm spearheaded the redesign of the Issue Project Room, the Kew Gardens Library and PS7 in East Harlem.

Its focus on environmentally-sustainable building and community engagement as two simultaneous and crucial parts of the design process make it an excellent partner for Brooklyn Public Library as it undergoes this transformative project. 

For the past several years, Brooklyn Public Library has invested in closing its $300 Million capital needs gap and updating aging infrastructure system-wide.  The result of that work is that over a third of the libraries in the BPL system have recently been or will be replaced or overhauled.  Thirteen libraries with nearly $53 million in combined capital needs are slated to receive full-scale renovations over the next several years. Another three libraries, Brooklyn Heights Library, Greenpoint Library and Sunset Park Library, are going to be completely rebuilt, and an additional new satellite facility in the BAM cultural district will bring the system’s total number of locations to 61.  

The new branch is set to open by 2020. Brooklyn Public Library and WORKac will begin a comprehensive community input process for the development of this new branch this Fall.

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About Brooklyn Public Library:
Brooklyn Public Library (BPL) is an independent library system for the 2.6 million residents of Brooklyn. It is the fifth largest library system in the United States with 59 neighborhood libraries located throughout the borough. BPL offers free programs and services for all ages and stages of life, including a large selection of books in more than 30 languages, author talks, literacy programs and public computers. BPL’s eResources, such as eBooks and eVideos, catalog information and free homework help, are available to customers of all ages 24 hours a day at our website: