Greenpoint Public Library and Environmental Center Begins Welcoming Visitors

The Greenpoint Public Library and Environmental Center is striking indoors and out.
The Greenpoint Public Library and Environmental Center is striking indoors and out.

Bookworms rejoice! Brooklyn families can finally browse and borrow books from some of their favorite public libraries, including the newly reconstructed Greenpoint Library and Environmental Center, one of a handful of Brooklyn Public Library branches that have reopened for browsing and computer use after completely closing down last year. Across all boroughs and public library systems—NYPL, BPL, Queens Public Library—select branches have reopened. Still, none of the debuts is quite as exciting as the multi-million dollar overhaul in the heart of Greenpoint. Read on for details on this new community hub.

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The Brooklyn Public Library's Greenpoint branch opened with a socially distant ceremony way back in October, but only recently have visitors been allowed to linger inside. Even so, only the first floor is currently open for browsing, checking out books, and using computers. Eventually, this location will serve as a full-service library and community hub with its expanded indoor and outdoor spaces serving as a hands-on classroom teaching about environmental awareness, activism, and education. The Greenpoint Library's reconstruction project took years and nearly $23 million, but more than doubled the old library's footprint on the same plot of land.

Its environmental focus is evident even from the outside. There's a second-floor gardened reading deck, a large ground-floor window that acts as a sundial and is also a perfect place to display children's craft projects. A cistern collects rainwater used to water plants in the interior, plus those in the rooftop demonstration garden.

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Child in front of windows that are covered in artwork greenpoint library
The Greenpoint Public Library and Environmental Center invites the outdoors in, with energy-saving design features, large windows, and unique features.

Inside, the library has distinct areas for adult, young adult, and children’s books, lab spaces for library programming as well as those supporting its environmental education mission, a large community event space, lounge seating, small meeting rooms, and staff spaces are distributed on its the two main floors.

The building meets LEED Gold certification standards and includes a sustainable green roof and utilizes energy-efficient lights, plumbing, electrical, and mechanical equipment. Beyond the reading garden, there's also a pollinator garden on the third floor and a bioswale—a native plant garden designed to slow runoff from heavy rain—in the plaza outside the library.

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boy in the children's section at the greenpoint library
Browse books in the sun-drenched children's section at the Greenpoint Public Library and Environmental Center.

While no exact date has been announced as to when the Environmental Center and additional spaces will open, the Greenpoint Library currently offers limited programming, including a Birding With Audubon New York series and a Play Recipe Grab & Go series for young children. Check the Brooklyn Public Library's website for more information and updates.

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Boy holding up a book at the checkout at the greenpoint library
While you can browse and check out books currently, a full opening of the Greenpoint Public Library—and other local branches—is expected later this year.

Library branches in the following locations are also open: Brownsville, Canarsie, Central, Clinton Hill, Coney Island, Crown Heights, Flatbush, Ft. Hamilton, Kings Highway, Midwood, Mill Basin, and Red Hook.

All visitors must continue to wear masks and practice social distancing. In some locations, browsing is limited to a set timeframe, and an appointment is necessary to use computers. The full library catalog is up and running, and some locations are offering a grab-and-go service. Officials hope to open more branches this summer and hope for a full reopening across the board later this year.

Photos by the author

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