Brooklyn Public Library competition awards nearly $90K to support new initiatives
New programs include tool and repair hub, maternal health workshop series and sewing machine loan program
In a competition designed to expand or enhance the services of libraries across the borough, Brooklyn Public Library has awarded $88,000 to support nine new initiatives developed in partnership with community organizations.
Nearly 140 community partners expressed interest during an open call for proposals with 13 finalists pitching their ideas to a panel of judges, including librarians, staff and nonprofit executives. The winning proposals include: a series of maternal health workshops, a sewing machine loan program; a creative collective to help amplify the voices of persons incarcerated on Rikers Island; and a tool-and-repair hub.
“BKLYN Incubator empowers library staff and partners to creatively and nimbly serve their communities,” said Linda E. Johnson, president and CEO of Brooklyn Public Library. “Many of Brooklyn Public Library’s most innovative and beloved programs were nurtured by Incubator and the Revson Foundation, from the Robotics League to our musical instrument lending library.”
The program is at the center of the Library’s BKLYN Incubator initiative which has awarded nearly $400,000 to librarians and community partners since launching in 2015. The Incubator provides professional development, mentorship and resources to develop innovative library-based community initiatives. Some of the library’s most successful and popular programs were developed via BKLYN Incubator, including the musical instrument lending library, Robotics League, fashion academy, board game exchange, cookmobile and many more.
The winners have one year to launch their programs. They include:
Cultural Codex for Kids
Sunset Park Library
Designed to promote equity and inclusivity in the fields of science, engineering technology and math fields, participants will enjoy STEM projects that trace back to their ancestors, re-inventing ancient inventions to strengthen students’ sense of identity and empowering them to be problem solvers.
Libraries Bring Us Together-Celebrating Language and Culture- Empowering Community Voices
Laurie Davidson, Friends of Cortelyou Library
To amplify the voices of the diverse, multilingual communities within the surrounding neighborhoods, the team will create five events, each highlighting one of the prominent cultures in the community (Mexican, Haitian, Bangladeshi, Nepali, Pakistani) featuring music, bilingual storytime, food, and art making.
Mapping Our Worlds: Where We Stand
Carroll Gardens and Cypress Hills Library
Stingray Arts Collective
A six-week program for teens to build creativity and community through artistic map-making. Designed to address the teen mental health crisis exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, the program will help to bolster teens’ sense of connection and belonging.
Maternal Health for Families
Washington Irving, Crown Heights and New Lots Libraries, and BPL Outreach Services
This workshop series will support families trying to conceive, facing fertility journeys and loss, experiencing pregnancy, preparing for birthing, and transitioning from hospital to home with resources and support from an experienced team of perinatal educators.
Rewriting Rikers: The Re/Creation Collective Workshop
BPL’s Jail and Prison Services
The Re/Creation Collective Workshop amplifies the voices of those striving to survive incarceration on Rikers Island. Incarcerated neighbors will be connected with a larger community of justice-affected writers and artists to help hone their craft.
Mill Basin Library
The program will offer sewing machines, free materials, and free workshops for people interested in learning to sew by hand and/or machine.
The Big Question: Inspiring Curiosity through Literacy and Exploration
Adams Street and Walt Whitman Libraries
Brooklyn Book Bodega
Children and caregivers will dig into literacy through exploration of a “Big Question” in this six-week program. Experts will present interactive workshops designed to answer some of life’s biggest questions. and children can take home books to build their home libraries.
Untold Stories: You Ask, I Tell
Brooklyn Heights Library
Poetic Theater Productions, Veteran Voices Program
LGBTQ+ veterans and teens will share their own powerful stories through a workshop series in which they will learn interviewing, writing and performance skills. The workshop will culminate in a public sharing of their self-created poetry and spoken word.
The Repair Hub at BPL’s Greenpoint Environmental Education Center
The program will create a space where the community can learn and share repair skills, access tools, and explore more sustainable relationships with their belongings.
Support for the Brooklyn Incubator program is provided by the Charles H. Revson Foundation.
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