Books and Bronze

I did some local wandering this weekend to stop by the Brooklyn Public Library’s main branch and walked back home through the park.

I rarely read physical books anymore, but I am an avid ebook reader. The Brooklyn Public Library has a fantastic ebook lending system so I am a big supporter. Its no surprise that Brooklyn Public Library had the highest program attendance of any public library system in the United States in 2009. The Brooklyn Public Library is one of three separate and independent public library systems in New York City. It is a separate library system from the New York Public Library, which serves Manhattan, Staten Island and the Bronx. This is because the system was founded before the boroughs were all incorporated into NYC.

The central library, my favorite location, was originally built in 1912, but the design was too  expensive. With World War I and the Great Depression the construction stalled. The current building was designed by  Githens and Keally in the Art Deco Style and opened in 1940.

The Central Library Facade

The Central Library Facade

The building is shaped to look like an open book which is hard to see in this image, but its quite an effect. The entryway is detailed in bronze and was designed by C. Paul Jennewein and Thomas Hudson Jones.  It features fifteen different literary characters and luminaries, including Herman Melville’s Moby Dick, Mark Twain’s Tom Sawyer, and Brooklyn’s own Walt Whitman. See if you can spot them.

The gilded gateway of the central Library

The gilded gateway of the central Library

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