Brooklyn Public Library celebrates 125th anniversary with Grand Army Plaza ceremony

December 1, 2021 Editorial Staff
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A 125th anniversary ceremony for the Brooklyn Public Library took place on Monday at the new Civic Commons of the Central Library at Grand Army Plaza, and Borough President and Mayor-elect Eric Adams said he was looking forward to the next 125 years. 

The Civic Commons, opened earlier this year, is a dedicated hub for organizations and services that facilitate participation in public life, with a new entrance on Flatbush Avenue. It is home to Central Library’s Passport Services Center, IDNYC office, a rotating community partner office and a computer lab. In the future, the space will host civic events such as local committee meetings, informational workshops and voter registration drives.

Issuing a proclamation, BP Adams said, “For more than a century, the Brooklyn Public Library has been a hub of learning, enrichment, and civic participation serving Brooklynites of all backgrounds. As we celebrate the 125th anniversary of this institution this year, it is also worthwhile to reflect on what the next 125 years will look like, and how the library can deepen its commitment to equity. 

“The two new facilities we are unveiling today, the Civic Commons and the TechMobile, point the way forward. These new facilities will help us tackle some of our city’s most pressing issues, such as the difficulty immigrant New Yorkers face in accessing city services, and the shameful digital divide that holds people of all ages back from realizing their full potential,” he added.

Following the proclamation, Adams toured the library’s first-ever TechMobile. The TechMobile will allow BPL to bring much needed computer services to communities in need, both complementing the library’s BKLYN Reach program and supporting the borough’s ongoing commitment to end the digital divide and provide reliable and affordable internet access to all Brooklynites. 

Eric Adams issued a proclamation. Photo by Gregg Richards

The vehicle is outfitted with Wi-Fi and laptops to loan; built-in desktop computers; an all-in-one printer for copying, scanning and printing; external outlets for charging devices and much more. 

Brooklyn Public Library CEO Linda E. Johnson thanked Adams for his commitment to the borough’s libraries throughout his two terms as Brooklyn’s chief executive and for providing $12.5 million to rehabilitate branches throughout the borough, and to upgrade computers in addition to establishing the TechMobile and Central Library’s Civic Commons.

“For 125 years, in one of the most diverse cities in the country, Brooklyn Public Library has welcomed everyone into a singularly democratic and dignified space to cultivate their dreams and connect to their communities,” said Linda E. Johnson, president and CEO of Brooklyn Public Library. “We are grateful to Borough President and Mayor Elect Eric Adams for ensuring that everyone in Brooklyn, now and 125 years from now, has access to millions of books, vital technology, and a staggering array of other equalizing resources.” 

Eric Adams tours the space. Photo by Gregg Richards

The founding of the Brooklyn Public Library system began with an act of the state legislature “to establish and to maintain a public library and reading room” in what was then the independent city of Brooklyn. 

Today, Brooklyn Public Library is one of the nation’s largest library systems with 61 locations as well as a thriving online library with virtual programs, digital resources and outdoor reading rooms throughout the borough.

The new Civic Commons at Brooklyn Public Library’s Central Branch at Grand Army Plaza. Photo by Gregg Richards

It offers access and opportunity for New Yorkers from all walks of life: immigrants learning a new language; job seekers searching for opportunities; students seeking help for homework and preparing for college; older adults seeking companionship; entrepreneurs launching their dreams; children discovering the world; and people of all ages discovering the joy of a good book.

To learn more about BPL’s 125 years of service or to attend current programs, get book recommendations or acquire a library card, visit

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