Photo of the Gerritsen Beach Library courtesy of 

The Design Trust’s inaugural project resulted in a series of recommendations that provide design excellence and enhance the level of accessibility, mobility and security in newly constructed or renovated Brooklyn public libraries. More than half of the Brooklyn Public Libraries have now followed our Design Guidelines to create more inviting and accessible libraries.


While only two new branches have opened since the release of the Brooklyn Public Library Design Guidelines Guidelines, thirty-five of the existing fifty-eight have been renovated to expand communal spaces and adhere to contemporary uses. According to the Brooklyn Public Library, eight branches now have additional reading rooms with new furniture and eight have designated technology areas with publicly accessible computer stations. Other improvements include reconfiguring entrances to be ADA compliant, creating reading gardens and modernizing furniture, lighting, windows and facades.


The project paired the Brooklyn Public Library and New York City’s newly-formed Department of Design & Construction in a year-long study to develop recommendations for all of Brooklyn’s branch libraries. The resulting 78-page illustrated manual was distributed to all of the Library’s potential architectural and engineering consultants in order to promote design excellence in renovation, restoration, and new construction projects.


Design Trust Fellow Louise Harpman led a series of interagency, participatory workshops to research the most innovative and up-to-date thinking on library design. In addition to distilling the knowledge and expertise developed over the years by Library staff and the City's in-house designers, these workshops also featured presentations by industry experts on state-of-the-art solutions to existing and emerging library design challenges.  Ms. Harpman also conducted extensive one-on-one consultations with all levels of City and Library staff and various expert, private-sector professionals.