The role of the branch library today is more than a repository of information – and while access to information and media of all sorts is still a critical part of what the branch libraries do, they also provide many related social services. The new Greenpoint Library and Environmental Education Center replaces an existing building with a 14,000sf community hub for environmental awareness, activism and education. The Greenpoint Library doubles the size of the previous building, providing significantly enlarged indoor and outdoor spaces to house expanded activities related to the exploration of the environment as well as everyday library use. The primary program elements are adult, young adult, and children reading rooms and collection spaces, and community spaces for regular library programming as well as for the Environmental Education Center. Lab spaces for interactive projects, a large community event space (which divides into two of the lab spaces), a lounge, small meeting rooms, and staff spaces are distributed on the two main floors.
The new Greenpoint Library and Environmental Education Center provides street level exterior green space, clear visual connections to interior activities, and two accessible green roofs on the upper floors. The plaza design offers the public an engaging civic space that demonstrates sustainability and reinterprets the environmental history of the region. Primary exterior building materials include custom sandblasted wood panels on the upper level and custom cast concrete on the lower level. The building will exceed required LEED goals, becoming a demonstration project for innovative approaches to sustainable design and a learning tool for the community.