This current iteration of Greenpoint Library (107 Norman Avenue), with its focus on sustainability and environmental education, took years to be fully realized. The original library building opened in 1906, before undergoing demolition in the early 1970s. A replacement building was constructed shortly after.
In 2014, the Greenpoint Community Environmental Fund awarded the library a legacy grant worth around $5 million. With almost $18 million of matching funds, construction started in 2017, and after asbestos and pandemic delays, the new building opened in October 2020.
The library building earned LEED Gold certification, the second-highest level of LEED certification, due to its environmentally conscious design.
The Greenpoint Library serves as a hub for environmental education. It hosts the Greenpoint Environmental History Project, which “is dedicated to documenting and preserving the environmental history of Greenpoint through oral histories and community scanning” according to the library’s website. You can also access the collection online here.
The library’s Document Repository is home to a wealth of information concerning environmental injustice in the area, such as reports and studies concerning the Newtown Creek Superfund site.
While the pandemic hampers the library’s full use as an in-person event space, events and activities still take place. February 3rd will see a workshop entitled “Herbal Remedies for Heartbreak” (though unfortunately, it has already sold out). The next meeting of the virtual sewing circle takes place on January 25th, the same day that Solar One kicks off a three-part series of talks dedicated to helping teens and young adults explore careers in climate justice.
On January 20th, a first-of-its-kind exhibit called Lenapehoking opens at the Greenpoint Library. The exhibit, named after the Lenape name for their homeland that the city of New York currently sits on, “features masterworks by Lenape artists past and present (beadwork, a turkey feather cape, and a culinary tapestry from the seed rematriation project in the Hudson Valley) as examples of the survivance and beauty of Lenape culture.” A series of virtual events will accompany the in-person exhibition, which runs until April 30th, 2022.
The library also features a large collection of Polish language books, and a volunteer group, Friends of Greenpoint Library, offers other ways to get involved.