Brooklyn Central Library: Linda Johnson and Toshiko Mori in Conversation

Prospect Heights, Brooklyn

Library interior with low bookshelves and large gold metal light fixture
Credit: Gregg Richards
October 16th, 2021
6:00PM - 7:00PM

Linda Johnson, CEO of Brooklyn Public Library, and architect Toshiko Mori led participants through a virtual tour, conversation, and Q&A about the single largest renovation and restoration in Central Library’s 80-year history, and what the future of the library means for BPL and the surrounding communities. The conversation was moderated by Shannon Mattern, professor of Anthropology at The New School.

Central Library is Brooklyn’s home library, and one of New York City’s foremost cultural, civic, and educational institutions. It receives more than 1.2 million visits each year, and items from its collections circulate 1.6 million times. In 2018, Central Library started construction on a multi-phase renovation for new public spaces and much-needed infrastructure upgrades. Carried out in partnership with internationally renowned Toshiko Mori Architects, the goals of the renovation are to reclaim and optimize public areas, create inspiring and innovative spaces, and restore a Brooklyn landmark. May 2021 marked the completion of the first phase of renovation; the second phase of renovation will begin in 2022.

This talk was offered during OHNY Weekend as a part of Radical Knowledge: Libraries as Community Catalysts, a program examining how libraries serve as both vibrant learning institutions and centers for their communities, providing physical and virtual spaces to enrich civic life, expand economic opportunity, and improve the quality of place and quality of life for New Yorkers.

This talk included a short video with Linda Johnson and Toshiko Mori walking through the renovated library.

 

About Radical Knowledge: Libraries as Community Catalysts
Radical Knowledge: Libraries as Community Catalysts is a year-round program examining how libraries serve as both vibrant learning institutions and centers for their communities, providing physical and virtual spaces to enrich civic life.

This series is being developed with learning institutions, community activists, and leaders across New York City’s diverse communities. Virtual, experiential, and participatory experiences for Radical Knowledge include conversations, workshops, site visits, self-guided tours, and a scavenger hunt. These activities are being designed to reach OHNY’s core audience of city explorers while also engaging underrepresented communities that are often not included in the power structures of New York City. Information about series events will be released in Spring 2021.

Radical Knowledge is the sixth installment of OHNY’s Urban Systems infrastructure series. We are grateful to our program partners: The New York Public LibraryQueens Public LibraryBrooklyn Public Library, and the Metropolitan New York Library Council.