A rendering of the New Library and Environmental Education Center. Via BPL

Greenpoint is getting a brand new Library and Environmental Center, and your memories can be part of its collection!

On June 23rd, the new library will begin the “Greenpoint Oral History and Community Scanning Project,” an initiative designed to highlight and document Greenpoint’s relationship with the natural environment. Anyone who has lived or worked in Greenpoint is welcome to share both memories and memorabilia related to local environmental history.

According to Acacia Thompson, Greenpoint Outreach Archivist for the Brooklyn Public Library, “People are welcome to bring in photos, documents, ephemera, and any physical item we can photograph and digitize that informs the history of Greenpoint’s environment. All manner of items are welcome – for example, flyers from environmental events from the 1990s, t-shirts and photos from marches, medical bills documenting asthma, and sustainability projects from area school children.” Additionally, you can schedule an oral history interview to share your experience with the local environment. 

The project is funded through the Greenpoint Community Environmental Fund, and is based on the Brooklyn Public Library’s larger Brooklyn-wide community scanning project, Our Streets, Our Stories. The oral histories and scanned items collected through the Greenpoint project will be available on the Our Streets, Our Stories website within a month of their submission. Full access to the project will be available through the Brooklyn Public Library’s Brooklyn Collection

The project will kick off on June 23, from 10am-12pm, with an event at Bushwick Inlet Park Community Center (85 Kent Ave). Thompson explains that the event, “Pests in Greenpoint!” will be “a talk and community scanning event where we’ll hear from Greening Greenpoint’s Bill Schmidt about the reign and destruction of the Asian Longhorn Beetle on Greenpoint’s urban forest in 1996. We are looking for neighbors who experienced this pest in Greenpoint to attend and tell their story. Following that we’ll hold a scanning event for community members to bring items from their personal collections to scan such as photos, documents, and ephemera to help document Greenpoint’s environmental history.” June’s event will be the first in a series of talks and community scanning dates devoted to the project.


If you’d like to schedule an oral history interview, or keep up with events in the series, reach out to Acacia Thompson (athompson@bklynlibrary.org / (718) 230-2069).

The Community Scanning project is just one way Greenpoint’s new library and environmental center will engage with the community and the natural world. Thompson notes that the new library “will promote environmental awareness, education and advocacy and will offer space for community groups dedicated to addressing environmental issues to hold meetings, host public programming and workshops in addition to standard library functions. The new facility will itself be a model of sustainability, with solar panels, green roofs, and other design features to reduce energy use and storm water runoff, exceeding standards for LEED Gold Green Building Certification. We look forward to making use of the new building to teach visitors about all types of environmental science and sustainability.”

The new Greenpoint Library is expected to open in Spring 2019, but it’s already hosting eco-events as part of a monthly Green Series. The Green Series events are being held throughout the Brooklyn Public Library System, but will return to Greenpoint when the new library is complete. You can sign up for email updates on the Greenpoint Library and see the project timeline here. If you’d like to join the Friends of Greenpoint Library, a volunteer and advocacy group, they can email friends@bklynlibrary.org.

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