Welcome to the Brooklyn College Library, one of the largest academic libraries in New York State, and one of the senior college libraries within the CUNY system. Brooklyn College Library serves a population of over 17,000 undergraduate and graduate students at Brooklyn College, as well as Brooklyn College faculty and staff and various other members of the community. We also collaborate closely with all other CUNY libraries: together, we support over 550,000 CUNY students, in the nation’s largest urban public university.
Brooklyn College Library offers a mixture of the traditional and the cutting edge. The traditional can be seen in the beauty of the Georgian brick structure and some of the internal reading rooms, particularly the LaGuardia Reading Room, whose walls boast two of the only remaining WPA (Works Progress Administration) murals depicting libraries. But the traditional structure is actually a melding of three buildings: an original 1939 building, a 1959 addition, and a 2002 renovation and addition, constructed with the aid of $53 million in funds appropriated by the State Legislature, to remodel the Library’s 125,000 net square feet and add an additional 72,000 net square feet. This renovation (programmed by Randall Rice and Robert Hayes of the Omni Group, with architects Buttrick White & Burtis of New York City and Shepley Bulfinch Richardson & Abbott of Boston) restored the Georgian façade and extended this look to the new space as well. Visitors are frequently astonished that the building is not a single original structure.
Also under the auspices of the Library is a 24/7 facility known as the Library Café – an Internet café that offers students a combination of relaxed study space, high end computing, and those all-important study aids known as snacks and caffeine.
Today, we continue to build. Thanks to a generous donation from the Everett family, in 2008 we began planning a variety of improvements. In 2009-10, we renovated two multimedia viewing and listening rooms, and created spaces offering full theater-style experiences, complete with HD, Blu-ray, and surround sound. We are creating a third computer classroom, to complement two existing library classrooms and two multimedia classrooms. We have renovated the Reference area and added computers – and now boast nearly 800 computers in the Library and Library Café.
The Brooklyn College Library also boasts an impressive Archives and Special Collections Division. Some highlights include the Robert L. Hess Collection, comprised of some of some 5,000 volumes, which documents the colonial period of the Horn of Africa, dating from the late 18th to the mid-twentieth centuries. The Kaplan Boxing Archive, valued at nearly 3 million dollars, is the newest addition to our special collections, providing a rare glimpse into the history of America via the lives and careers of both famous and obscure combatants within the squared circle. Also soon to be added is a collection of papers from famed Brooklyn College alumnus and Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz. The Library also offers, in conjunction with the Department of History, CUNY's only undergraduate minor in Archival Studies and Community Documentation.
The Brooklyn College Library never stands still. Already in 2010, with the support of President Karen L. Gould, we added a laptop loan program and expanded our hours. Recently, we have unveiled online information literacy tutorials, and other new initiatives are added constantly. Our greatest strength is our progressive, energetic, enthusiastic library faculty and professional staff, who deliver both the College’s library and academic computing programs. They are deeply committed to delivering strong resources and innovative services in a creative and supportive environment that supports teaching, learning, and research in all its forms.
As you browse our home page, you will get a good idea of what the Brooklyn College Library and Office of Academic Information Technology is all about. The Library's most recent annual report is also available for your perusal. If there's something you'd like to know that we've left out, please contact me -- I would be very glad to hear from you.
Prof. Stephanie Walker
Chief Librarian & Executive Director of Academic Information Technology
2900 Bedford Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11210