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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.

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” on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, TuneIn, Spotify, Google Play Music or RadioPublic, to name just a few. 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.

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].


Season 2, Episode 6

Carnegie's Legacy

January 23, 2020

Andrew Carnegie has a classic rags-to-riches story: an immigrant turned steel magnate who financed the construction of over 2,500 public library buildings worldwide, including 21 in Brooklyn. But, his business and labor policies often hurt the very people his libraries served. As one Carnegie steel worker said in 1900: “After working 12 hours, how can a man go to a library?” We dig into Carnegie’s complicated legacy, with a special appearance from the Bowery Boys!

Click here for John Leighton's BookMatch list curated especially for this episode.


Season 2, Bonus Episode

Plunging into the New Year

January 1, 2020

To ring in the new year, take a dive into the stories of the Coney Island Polar Bear club. We hear from voices from across New York City—a cop speaking openly about his wife's drug addiction, Russian immigrants looking for tradition, and a mother mourning her daughter's death—who all have their own reasons for jumping into the freezing ocean every Sunday.


Season 2, Episode 5

Blocks and Brownstones

December 23, 2019

Perhaps Brooklyn’s most iconic neighborhood is Bedford-Stuyvesant. The tree-lined streets and grand brownstones have been here for over 150 years, and the Brooklynites who call those brownstones home are constantly changing. In this episode, we tell the story of this neighborhood through the lives of three women who set down roots here in different ways: activist Hattie Carthan, writer Paule Marshall, and novelist Naomi Jackson. 

Click here for June Koffi's BookMatch list curated especially for this episode.


Season 2, Episode 4

Our Garbage, Ourselves

December 10, 2019

At the edge of Brooklyn, there’s a beach covered with glass bottles, nylon stockings, rusting kitchen appliances, and decaying batteries. The trash didn’t float here, though. It’s eroding from a poorly-covered landfill. We start this episode at Dead Horse Bay, where we ask what trash can tell us about structures of power, and end the episode in 1960s Bed-Stuy, where the local Civil Rights Movement took on a surprising enemy: garbage collection.

Click here for Melissa Morrone's BookMatch list curated especially for this episode.


Season 2, Episode 3

Throwing It Out

November 25, 2019

We're talking trash at the library today. Specifically, the story of a 3,000-ton garbage barge that made a scene in Brooklyn in the 1980s… and, we ask what happens to library books when they get too old. Finally, we take a trip to East Harlem, where one sanitation worker spent 30 years creating an archive of New Yorkers' trash.

Click here for a link to Katya Schapiro's BookMatch list curated especially for this episode.


Season 2, Episode 2

Free Brooklyn

November 12, 2019

Four hundred years later, this country has yet to reckon with the legacy of slavery. And that is no less true for Brooklyn. This episode, we’re taking a cue from The 1619 Project and telling important stories about the struggle for freedom, from a young girl “auctioned” at Plymouth Church in 1860 to the story of Crown Heights’s Weeksville as a site of resistance and power before the Civil War.

Click here for June Koffi's BookMatch list, curated especially for this episode.


Season 2, Episode 1

Getting Home

October 28, 2019

It’s not an uncommon experience to be unstably housed in this country. From Brooklyn to San Francisco, communities often turn to public libraries for valuable information, social services and for a safe and comfortable place to be. This episode, we listen to stories of patrons experiencing homelessness, and ask how the library could be better when it comes to creating a sense of home for everyone.

Click here for a link to Nick Higgins's BookMatch list curated especially for this episode.


Season 2, Trailer

'Borrowed' Season 2: Check This Out

October 15, 2019

Libraries are truly amazing no matter where you go. This season on Borrowed, we’re going to celebrate that, and bring you stories that challenge your idea of the public library, and of Brooklyn, too. 


Season 1, Episode 10

New Americans

July 16, 2019

Immigration is a pressing topic in our political landscape right now, with concerns about ICE raids and immigration bans. In this episode, we listen to inspiring stories of recent asylees, the case for more bilingual librarians, and what the library means when we say “American.”

Click here for a full list of book recommendations curated for this episode, "New Americans." Find "Know Your Rights" information from NYC's immigration office, handouts in several languages, or in video form.


Season 1, Episode 9

A Writer Grows in Brooklyn

July 2, 2019

There’s something about Brooklyn that makes you want to write. “Everything is alive here,” says poet Mahogany L. Browne. And thank goodness we have writers to capture that. In this episode, we share an interview with Mahogany Browne and Brooklyn poet laureate Tina Chang, plus a story about the classic novel A Tree Grows in Brooklyn


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