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The Ultimate Guide to Bushwick's Public Libraries: Free Museum Admissions, Film Screenings, and More — Arts & Culture on Bushwick Daily

The Ultimate Guide to Bushwick's Public Libraries: Free Museum Admissions, Film Screenings, and More

The Brooklyn Public Library offers many perks you may not be aware of.

Duncan Ballantine

Contributor

The Brooklyn Public Library (BPL) is a popular and critical institution and is the nation’s sixth largest public library system with nearly 700,000 active cardholders. Bushwick and the surrounding area is home to four BPL branches along with the Ridgewood Branch of the Queens Library system. These Bushwick area libraries were built with money donated to the city by industrialist-turned-philanthropist Andrew Carnegie at the turn of the 20th century, and all function as important community centers with free integrated public services.

Public libraries offer free Wi-Fi, computer access, and printing, as well as classes and events open to any visitor, cardholder or not. Applying for a library card is easy and free, all you need is a valid ID and proof of New York State residence (If you have an out-of-state ID, a piece of mail proving your address will do).

Once you have your library card you can check out physical books and media in person as well as access dozens of online learning resources like archival collections, academic journals, and research throughout the entire BPL system. You can also check out e-books and audiobooks, stream films from the Criterion Collection, and access digital magazine collections, all without stepping foot into a physical library and completely free of charge.

Additionally, the Culture Pass program gives you free admission to museums and attractions to participating cultural institutions across the city. Support your local library branch through a Friends of the Brooklyn Public Library group or check out volunteer opportunities.


Here’s a roundup of five Bushwick area libraries:

Bushwick Library.

Bushwick Branch

340 Bushwick Avenue

(718) 602-1348

Hours

Mon, Tue, Fri: 10 a.m - 6 p.m.

Wed: 10 a.m. - 8 p.m.

Thu: 1 p.m. - 8 p.m.

Sat: 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Sun: CLOSED

Events Calendar

Transit

J/M train @ Lorimer St/Flushing Ave

L train @ Montrose/Morgan Aves

B43, B46, B57, B60 Buses

Amenities

Computers

Wi-Fi

Accessibility

Meeting Rooms

Citibikes nearby

Zipcar

Overview

One of 67 NYC branches built with funding from Andrew Carnegie, Bushwick Library first opened in 1908. Bushwick Library offers technology literacy classes such as iPad Basics and Email Basics and hosts popular events for kids and teens like the Brooklyn Robotics League.

Bushwick Library is one of nine BPL libraries (two of which are in Bushwick) to host reserved spaces for Zipcar, allowing easy access to the car-share service.

Did You Know

The Bushwick Library is located on one of the oldest roads in Brooklyn, Bushwick Avenue, which marks the boundary between Bushwick and Williamsburg.


DeKalb Library.

DeKalb Branch

790 Bushwick Avenue

(718) 455-3898

Hours

Mon, Thu, Fri: 10 a.m - 6 p.m.

Tue, Wed: 10 a.m. - 8 p.m.

Sat: 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Sun: CLOSED

Events Calendar

Transit

J/Z train @ Kosciuszko St

M train @ Central Ave

B38, B46, B47 Buses

Amenities

Computers

Wi-Fi

Accessibility

Meeting Rooms

Overview

The oldest library in Bushwick at 114 years old, DeKalb Library first opened in 1905. Also a Carnegie branch, it has high-ceiling reading rooms and a handsome exterior in a Classical Revival-style. The DeKalb Library offers ample desk space with power ports, Wi-Fi, numerous youth and kids programs, and is home to the library system's premiere Zine collection.

Programs include English Conversation groups, resume and career one-on-one help, and the Library Hotspot program, which allows people without internet access to borrow a mobile Wi-Fi device for up to a year.

Did You Know

DeKalb Library is located on Bushwick Avenue in an area once known as Brewer’s Row due its conglomeration of large homes owned by prominent immigrant brewer families of the 19th century.


Saratoga Library.

Saratoga Branch

8 Thomas S. Boyland Street

(718) 573-5224

Hours

Mon, Thu, Fri: 10 a.m - 6 p.m.

Tue: 10 a.m - 8 p.m.

Wed: 1 p.m - 8 p.m.

Sat: 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Sun: CLOSED

Events Calendar

Transit

J train @ Halsey St.

B7, B27, Q24 Buses

Amenities

Computers

Wi-Fi

Accessibility

Meeting Rooms

Zipcar

Overview

This Classical Revival-style Carnegie branch has a distinctive Spanish tile roof and first opened in 1908. Technically on the Bed-Stuy side of Broadway, the branch serves communities of two neighborhoods and offers ZUMBA for Older Adults, meetings of the New York Tenants Justice League, Resume & Career Help, and many assorted youth and children’s programs. Saratoga Library is the second of two Bushwick area libraries with reserved spaces for Zipcar.

In honor of Black History Month, Saratoga Library is hosting screenings of films celebrating black excellence, with upcoming movie screenings of BlacKkKlansman and Soulfood Junkies this February.

Did You Know

The branch is New York City’s first library with a garden designed by the Horticulture Society of New York. The garden features a gazebo and two flower beds.


Washington Irving Library.

Washington Irving Branch

360 Irving Avenue

(718) 628-8378

Hours

Mon, Tue, Fri: 10 a.m - 6 p.m.

Wed: 10 a.m. - 8 p.m.

Thu: 1 p.m. - 8 p.m.

Sat: 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Sun: CLOSED

Events Calendar

Transit

L/M train @ Myrtle-Wyckoff Aves

B13, B18, B26, B52, B54, Q55, Q58 Buses

Amenities

Computers

Wi-Fi

Accessibility

Meeting Rooms

Overview

The smallest library in size on this list, the Washington Irving branch opened in 1923. Located adjacent to the Bushwick School for Social Justice and a cluster of other schools grades K-12, the Washington Irving branch is often full of students and has a collection of graphic novels and computers loaded with games. Weekly events for youngsters include the “Science Baby!” And “Build With Lego Library Lab” programs. Visit a “Resume & Career Help” session for one-on-one CV tips with a Job Information Resource Librarian.

Did You Know

Washington Irving Library opened in 1923 and is the 21st and final Carnegie library built in Brooklyn. It was named after the famous New Yorker and American literary figure in 1944.


Queens Library at Ridgewood.

Queens Library at Ridgewood

20-12 Madison Street, Ridgewood

(718) 821-4770

Hours

Mon: 9 a.m. - 8 p.m.

Tues: 1 p.m. - 6 p.m.

Wed, Fri: 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.

Thu: 12 p.m. - 8 p.m

Sat: 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Sun: CLOSED

Events Calendar

Transit

M train @ Forest Ave

B12, B20, Q39, Q58 Buses

Amenities

20 public computers with Microsoft Office software

Wi-Fi

Limited free printing

Children’s Room

Meeting Room

Overview

Though actually a part of the separate Queens Library system, which requires its own library card, Ridgewood’s library has many of the same offerings of the Brooklyn branches. Built in 1929, the Ridgewood Library has large, gorgeous windows that let in plentiful light and offers 20 public computers with Microsoft Office software, free printing, a community meeting room, and a extensive children’s collection in a dedicated downstairs children’s room.

Did You Know

The Ridgewood Library is the only library on this list constructed with city funding and not by a Carnegie grant.


Cover photo courtesy of Brooklyn Public Library, all others courtesy of author.

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