Greenpoint Library

Submitted by on Jan 12, 2015


On the corner of Norman and Leonard street sits a one-story 70s-era library that was a second home to me and my sister growing up, is now a place my daughter cannot wait to go to, and will soon be getting a facelift along with ever-changing Greenpoint.

In December, the Greenpoint Community Environmental Fund (GCEF) announced it awarded a Legacy Grant to Brooklyn Public Library to help create the Greenpoint Environmental Education Center (GEEC). That means building a brand new library and community space in Greenpoint that will promote environmental awareness, education, stewardship and advocacy. The now one story building will be expanded to 6,500 sq. ft. with a new accessible green roof with open space for public use and lots more!

If you are not familiar with the GCEF (I wasn’t completely in the know), it is  a joint program of the New York State Office of the Attorney General and Department of Environmental Conservation to give out $19.5 million in grants with monies obtained through a settlement with ExxonMobil over its Greenpoint oil spill. Here is a fact sheet for more information.

There are several important programs from planting more trees to looking at solutions to the litter problem in Greenpoint to creating student environmental leaders. But the one which touches my heart the most is the one to fund Greenpoint library’s expansion.

From the press release:

Greenpoint Environmental Education at Greenpoint Library: The project will remodel the library as a LEED silver certified building (which meets sustainability standards related to energy and water efficiency and the use of recyclable and non-toxic materials), create the Greenpoint Environmental Education Center on the library’s second floor, and an outdoor classroom on the roof for Greenpoint schoolchildren.

Project Lead: Brooklyn Public Library

Grant Amount: $5,000,000 / Matching Contribution: $5,780,300

You have to check out the plans for the site – AMAZING!

View environmental features of the GEEC, proposed first floor plan, proposed second floor plan and proposed rooftop layout.

I look at these changes with eyes of my former self – a little girl of 8 or 9 left to watch over her younger sister and meander through the library picking books while my Dad went food shopping. He would come back what felt like hours later to help us check out our piles of books, offering 25 cents per book read. I went through the entire Nancy Drew series, followed by the Hardy Boys, followed by the Bobbsey Twins and Judy Blume. Stacks and stacks of books would come home with me and quarters would get collected until I had enough for candy.

Coming back years later with my daughter after moving back to the old ‘hood, the Greenpoint Library still smelled the same if that is possible. The smell of minds yearning, searching. The whispers of the pages turning like prayers. The Greenpoint Library was and is my secular church. And now reading it is one of Brooklyn’s busiest, I am happy that others share in the joy and transcendence of the place.



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