The Greenpoint Library and Environmental Education Center models new partnerships and unique, community-driven goals in the planning of public libraries. Pairing state-of-the-art library services with community spaces for events and activities related to environmental education, the building is designed as a demonstration for innovative approaches to sustainable design. The library is one of fifty-eight neighborhood libraries that make up the Brooklyn Public Library system.
Funded in part from a Legacy Grant from the Greenpoint Community Environmental Fund, this project is the result of active engagement between the Brooklyn Public Library and the community. By partnering with local environmental groups, the library offers opportunities to learn about the rich history of Greenpoint and its specific ecological context. Many of those environmental groups are represented on the Community Advisory Committee, which acted as an integral participant in the design process. The library offers a centralized venue for local organizations to collaborate and initiate projects that promote environmental awareness.
The new library doubles the size of the previous building with a 15,000sf community hub for environmental awareness, activism, and education. The design provides enlarged spaces to house activities related to the exploration of the environment as well as everyday library use. Serving residents of all ages, primary program elements are reading rooms, collection spaces, and community spaces for adults, young adults, and children. Lab areas, large community event space, lounge, small meeting rooms, and staff spaces are distributed throughout the library. Street-level exterior green space, and accessible green roofs on upper floors offer the public an engaging civic space via plaza design. Visual elements unify the spaces, furthering notions of community interconnectedness. Exceeding required LEED goals, the project is a learning tool for the community.