Brooklyn has so many stories to tell, and a lot of them start at the library. Brooklyn Public Library's flagship podcast, Borrowed, brings you stories that start here and take you somewhere new. 

Borrowed is hosted by Krissa Corbett Cavouras, director of marketing and engagement at Brooklyn Public Library, and Adwoa Adusei, librarian at Brooklyn Public Library’s Brownsville branch. Virginia Marshall writes and produces the show, with help from Fritzi Bodenheimer, Jennifer Proffitt, Meryl Friedman and Robin Lester Kenton. Our music composer is Billy Libby.

Can I read a transcript of the podcast?

Yes! You can read full transcripts for each episode by clicking on the title of the episode below. You'll also find pictures and links to articles or books mentioned in the episode. 

I have an idea for an episode. Can I tell you about it?

Yes! We're always looking for stories about our Brooklyn community, or how public libraries impact our lives. Reach out to us by emailing [email protected].

How do I listen?

You can listen right on our website by clicking the audio players below. You can also listen to Borrowed on your smart phone on any podcast app of your choice! All you have to do is search for “Borrowed,” then click “subscribe” or “follow” to get new episodes downloaded to your device as soon as they come out. We release new episodes every other week when we are producing a season.

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Season 5, Episode 5

A Library Sounds Like This

April 27, 2022

From defunct recording technology to vinyl’s comeback, we've been through a lot of media changes over the last 125 years. And we're still changing! We talk about audio's next great frontier with the world's first two podcast librarians.

Check out our list of podcast recommendations, curated by guests and hosts on this epiosde.


Season 5, Episode 4

World Wide Web

March 23, 2022

In 1996, we were one of the first libraries in the nation to connect our patrons to the internet. Today, we're extending our WiFi reach down the block, loaning hotspots, and archiving hyperlocal websites for the future. 

Check out this list of books related to the episode.


Season 5, Episode 3

Decolonizing Dewey (025.49)

February 24, 2022

A lot had changed since Melvil Dewey came up with a classification system to organize all known and not-yet-known knowledge into a string of numbers and search terms. And yet, hundreds of thousands of libraries use the same system to this day, often preserving out-dated and offensive terms. In this episode, we take a look at what has changed—and what hasn't—in our library catalog.

Check out the book list curated specifically for this episode.


Season 5, Episode 2

New Libraries, Old Places

January 28, 2022

Libraries weren't always located in their own stately buildings. Many of our branches used to operate out of pharmacies, laundry rooms, storefronts, and more! In celebration of our first new branch in nearly forty years—Adams Street Library, located in a former factory in DUMBO—we're bringing you stories of new libraries in old places. 

Check out this list of books about DUMBO and Vinegar Hill.


Season 5, Episode 1

Goodbye to All Fines

December 21, 2021

On October 5th, 2021, all three public library systems in New York City eliminated late fines. The change was 125 years in the making, and it made us think: why did public libraries start charging late fines in the first place? And how will the library have to adapt now that we're truly free and truly for all? 


Season 5, Trailer

Happy Birthday, BPL!

November 30, 2021

In this season of Borrowed, we’ll take a look at what the library was like 125 years ago, the radical ideas that founded public libraries across the country, as well as our missteps along the way. 


Season 4, Episode 5

Building Brooklyn: We've Been Here Before

October 27, 2021

The story of Canarsie in reverse, from the racial unrest in the 1990s, to the anti-integration school boycotts in the 1960s, the community of Canarsie's Black residents in the 19th century, all the way back to Brooklyn's first residents, the Native Lenape people, who gave the neighborhood its name. 

Check out this list of books related to the episode.


Season 4, Episode 4

Building Brooklyn: Finntown

October 20, 2021

In the early 1900s, if you walked around Sunset Park, you might have heard Finnish being spoken on the streets. That's because the neighborhood was home to the largest concentration of Finns in New York City, and though most have since gone from Brooklyn, they left behind their co-operative spirit. The Finns built the first non-profit co-operative apartment buildings in the nation, many of which are still standing today.

Check out this book list for titles related to this episode!


Season 4, Episode 3

Building Brooklyn: Eighth Avenue

October 13, 2021

Brooklyn is constantly changing. This episode takes a look at the changes on just one street in one neighborhood: Eighth Avenue in Sunset Park, which many call Brooklyn's Chinatown. In the early 1990s, BPL and the Museum of Chinese in America collected oral histories about Sunset Park. We dive back into that archive, with help from Professor Tarry Hum, urban planner and former Sunset Parker.

Check out this list of books curated for this episode.


Season 4, Episode 2

Building Brooklyn: Women on the Waterfront

October 6, 2021

At the start of World War II, 200 women were employed at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. That number ballooned to 7,000 at the height of the war, but afterward—women workers were gone as rapidly as they appeared. We tell the story using oral histories from women who worked at the yard, and an interview with author Jennifer Egan, who helped create the collection and used it as research for her award-winning novel, Manhattan Beach.

Check out this list of books about women in labor history and the Navy Yard.