The Greenpoint Library (107 Norman Ave.), which re-opened to much anticipation last fall amidst the pandemic, is using its community space to remember the lives lost due to COVID-19.

A new project aims to collect 1000 origami cranes to set up a memorial in honor of pandemic victims. Inspired by the ancient Japanese legend that one thousand paper cranes can bring good fortune, well wishes, or healing, the library is aiming to hang 1000 handmade cranes in the windows and lobby area. Neighbors are encouraged to fold and donate their own cranes, to add to the memorial, which will continue to grow until 1000 are hanging at the library.

“We all have been impacted by the pandemic in some way,” said Greenpoint Library librarian Tenzin Kalsang. “In an effort to support the recovery of our community, the Greenpoint library invites everyone to participate in this activity to create and donate their crane to promote sense of solidarity and resilience during these times.”

So why 1000? A Japanese tradition believes that if one folded 1000 origami cranes, one’s wish would come true. The custom became even more popular and known worldwide when a young girl who suffered wounds from the bombing of Hiroshima, Sadako Sasaki, aimed to fold 1000 paper cranes from her hospital room in 1955. “Today the paper crane has become a symbol of peace, love, hope, and healing during challenging times,” Kalsang said.

So far, 600 cranes have been donated to the library, many from store bought origami paper, but a few from recycled newspapers and magazines. Some also have messages written on the wings, with inspiring terms like “heal, be strong, love, peace, understand”
Everyone in the community is invited to participate. “Each paper crane carries a little wish and eventually becomes a big wish,” Kalsang said. “The message of this project is to promote hope, connection and sense of solidarity and resilience during these times.”
Instructions for folding cranes can be found via this Youtube Tutorial. For additional reading on the tradition of paper cranes, Kalsang recommends the following books:


Sadako and The Thousand Paper Cranes by Eleanor Coer

One Thousand Paper Cranes: The story of Sadako and The Children’s peace
by Takayuki Ishii

Yoko’s Paper Cranes by Rosemary Wells

The Paper Crane by Molly Bang

Sadako y las mil grullas de papel by Eleanor Coerr

Join the Conversation


  1. Wow. What a great library. Full of many good memories from neighborhood residents.
    The Paper Crane project is so thoughtful and a reminder for the lives lost from COVID.

    Excellent theme of hope connection and solidarity.

    Back in 1960 my mom introduced me to the library reading “A Parents Guide to Children’s Reading” and we were photographed at the library. Much success to my old neighborhood library.

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