BPL’s Nicole Bryan honored by Library Journal

May 4, 2022 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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Nicole Bryan, the head librarian at Brooklyn Public Library’s Macon Library in Bedford-Stuyvesant, has been named a “2022 Mover and Shaker” by the Library Journal. The award recognizes emerging and inspiring library leaders from around the world who are developing model programs and moving libraries forward for the next generation.

Bryan began her role as manager in January 2020, two months before the pandemic began. Just a short time later, before most organizations moved their operations outdoors, Bryan was able to arrange to block off the street in front of the Macon branch.

There, she set up an outdoor library with carts of books for browsing and programs for families. Now, many libraries have outdoor seating and events, and many businesses have moved operations to the sidewalk. But back in 2020, Nicole Bryan was among the first.

Bryan also arranged a block skating party (not so secretly to help get people to fill out the census) organizing skate rentals, a DJ and skating performers out in front of the branch. In October, Macon Library, which typically draws big crowds to its annual theatrical show, adapted to the pandemic by decorating the outdoor space and producing a spooky podcast about three children who come face-to-face with the ghosts of Bed-Stuy.

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Councilmember Chi Osse called Nicole Bryan “a gift to the neighborhood.” Photo courtesy of BPL

“I am thrilled that local librarian and hero Nicole Bryan is being recognized as a 2022 Mover and Shaker. She is a gift to the neighborhood and a clear representation of the best that our community has to offer. Nicole is an essential part of local learning and local democracy, and her home at Macon Library is a treasured gem for us all,” said Councilmember Chi Ossè (D-Bedford Stuyvesant-North Crown Heights).

Bryan has also set an example of how to be a good neighbor and a good partner, attending nearly every community board meeting, and getting to know the block associations and Friends of Macon Library (a volunteer group) even amid the pandemic.

“Nicole Bryan’s work in the community, particularly as a partner to community engagement organizations such as Community Board 3 has and continues to be enthusiastic, thoughtful and mindful of the culture she inherited,” said T.J. Wilson, a member of Community Board 3.

Indeed, Bryan was instrumental in working with community members to create a special-edition library card celebrating Black American heritage.

Bryan began working for Brooklyn Public Library in 2015 and is active throughout the system, including training other librarians on how to check in and support one another in difficult times.

“I feel honored and humbled by this experience,” said Bryan. “To be recognized for doing what I truly love is such an honor.”

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