Greenpoint Environmental Education Center at Greenpoint Library 2019-06-11T18:39:53+00:00

Project Description

Greenpoint Environmental Education Center at Greenpoint Library

Project Lead: Brooklyn Public Library – Greenpoint Branch
2014 Project Partners: Newtown Creek Alliance; Greenpoint Waterfront Association for Parks and Planning; North Brooklyn Neighbors (formerly Neighbors Allied for Good Growth); North Brooklyn Boat Club (formerly North Brooklyn Community Boathouse); NYC Department of Education Community School District 14 including: Francis Perkins Academy, John Ericsson M.S. 126, Automotive High School, P.S. 31 Samuel F. Dupont, P.S. 34 Oliver H. Perry and P.S. 110 The Monitor School; Friends of Brooklyn Public Library – Greenpoint Branch; SolarOne; City University of New York’s Center for Urban Environmental Reform; Town Square; and Community Board One
2018 Project Partners: National Wildlife Federation’s Greenpoint Eco-Schools; North Brooklyn Neighbors; Newtown Creek Alliance; and North Brooklyn Boat Club
Project Location: 107 Norman Avenue @ Leonard Street
GCEF Grant: $5,000,000
Matching Contribution: $6,030,300
2017 Budget Addition: $49,428
2018 GCEF Grant: $25,286
2018 Matching Contribution: $20,496
2019 Budget Addition: $14,400
Fact Sheet: Environmental Education Center at Greenpoint Library PDF
Project Status: Ongoing

In 2014, Brooklyn Public Library received a $5,000,000 GCEF grant (and provided $6,030,300 in matching funds) to renovate the Greenpoint Library to integrate state-of-the-art “green” building features and create an Environmental Education Center. Major activities to be funded by the GCEF grant include designing and constructing an intensive green roof and a community composting space, and replacing concrete with native plant landscaping and permeable pavement. The project also includes installation of high-efficiency HVAC and lighting systems and building management controls, water efficient plumbing systems and fixtures, rainwater harvesting and storm water runoff control systems, and alternative energy systems such as solar arrays and wind turbines. The project also conducts workshops and presentations for Greenpoint schools, community groups, and residents about the green building and its environmental benefits both during and after construction. The new Greenpoint Library & Environmental Education Center is expected to open at the end of 2018. Major project activities funded by GCEF include:

  • Designing and constructing an intensive green roof and replacing concrete with native plant landscaping and permeable pavement
  • Installing high-efficiency HVAC, lighting systems, building management controls, water efficient plumbing systems and fixtures, rainwater harvesting and storm water runoff control systems, and alternative energy systems such as solar arrays
  • Conducting workshops and presentations about the green building and its environmental benefits for Greenpoint schools, community groups, and residents during and after construction

NOTE: In early 2016, and in consultation with the project’s Community Advisory Committee, project managers determined that rebuilding the library was preferable to renovating the existing structure due to cost factors and issues with age, condition and configuration of the building’s current physical plant (i.e., HVAC, plumbing, etc.). Accordingly, it was decided to construct an entirely new Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) silver-certified building to replace the current library, with significantly more indoor and outdoor space for public programs and activities. GCEF-funded “green” building features proposed for the original renovate will be integrated into the new library. GCEF funding will also be used to create an Environmental Education Center at the new library that will serve – in partnership with local environmental groups and Greenpoint residents – as a hub for community-based environmental programs, exhibits, and information.

In 2017, through a competitive process, the Brooklyn Public Library was awarded an additional $49,428 to support the purchase of collections for the new Environmental Education Center. The additional funding will also be used for a community oral history/scanning project that will enable community residents to share their personal narratives as well as historic photographs, documents, memorabilia and ephemera that capture Greenpoint’s environmental history. Staff will create a printed and online inventory of the new collections and make them available on Tumblr, SoundCloud, iTunes, and the Brooklyn Public Library web page.

Greenpoint Environmental Education Center – Youth Environmental Education & Digital Remediation Report Acquisition
In 2018, through a competitive process, the Brooklyn Public Library-Greenpoint Branch was awarded $25,286 in additional funding to enhance programs and services including to increase the availability of digital remediation reports, and creating environmental lesson plans and toolkits for students to be offered at the new library – the grand reopening in late 2018 – all aimed at deepening community understanding of the Greenpoint environment.

PROJECT UPDATES

September 2015: The project received proposals from 10 architecture firms in response to a “Request for Proposals” to provide design services for the Greenpoint Library and Environmental Center. After reviewing the proposals and interviewing seven of the firms, the Brooklyn Public Library selected Marble Fairbanks. Currently, Marble Fairbanks is in the process of surveying the existing building and land, and the Library will conduct a public design workshop with the architect in the fall.

August 2016: Brooklyn Public Library and project architect Marble Fairbanks are developing the design of the new Greenpoint Library and Environmental Education Center. In the past several months, the Library presented updated renderings to our Community Advisory Committee, the New York City Public Design Commission, and Community Board 1. Since receiving the GCEF grant in 2014, the Greenpoint Library has held or co-sponsored over 30 events and meetings with an environmental education focus.

August 2017: The NYC Public Design Commission presented the Annual Awards for Excellence in Design on May 11th, honoring BPL and Marble Fairbanks as one of this year’s recipients for the design of the Greenpoint Library and Environmental Education Center. The Greenpoint Library was closed at the end of June 2017 to prepare for demolition of the existing library and to allow sufficient time to lay the foundation before winter. Interim programming is being offered at the Greenpoint YMCA and Krakus Senior Center. Book mobile service is available nearby (Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11am to 4pm) and a pop-up library is available at the Park Church Co-Op (109 Russell St.) for browsing and borrowing (Tues.-Thurs. 12pm-4pm; Saturday 10am-2pm; Sunday 1pm-4pm). Demolition will likely wrap up in the fall and a groundbreaking event was held on October 23rd.

February 2018: The former Greenpoint Library was demolished in September-October 2017. On October 23, BPL held a groundbreaking ceremony at the site with local elected officials, members of the community, children from P.S. 34, and representatives from GCEF. When excavation proceeded in November, the team discovered the original Carnegie Library’s (circa 1906) basement and foundation. Asbestos pipes were part of this structure, which needed to be tested and then safely removed. Plans for the new library’s foundation also needed to be revised based on the need to excavate around some of the existing foundation. Interim programming continues to be offered at the Greenpoint YMCA and Krakus Senior Center. Book mobile service is available near the library construction site (Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11am to 4pm) and a pop-up library is available at the Park Church Co-Op (109 Russell St.) for browsing and borrowing (Tues.-Thurs. 12pm-4pm; Saturday 10am-2pm; Sunday 1pm-4pm). The Green Series events for adults and children continue to be held at BPL’s nearby Leonard Library (81 Devoe St.) on a bimonthly basis. Visit www.bklynlibrary.org/geec for a schedule.

August 2018: Excavation and foundation work continued at the Greenpoint Library and its Environmental Education Center through March 2018. In April, more asbestos from the original Carnegie Library was discovered at the site. Due to the crumbled state of the asbestos in the soil, there was a substantial delay in finding a facility that would remove the material and no work could occur at the site during that time. Work resumed in June and progress has been made in July and August with the installation of the elevator pit, footings, plumbing connections, and foundation walls.

The Green Series, events for adults and children with environmental themes, continues to be held at BPL’s Leonard Branch twice a month.

A Greenpoint Outreach Archivist was hired in April to manage the Greenpoint Oral History and Community Scanning Project, part of additional funding awarded in 2017 to collect community residents’ personal narratives and historic documents. In June, the Outreach Archivist held the project’s first event, “Pests in Greenpoint!,” that combined the opportunity for community members to bring historical documents to be copied electronically in order to create an electronic file with a lecture and discussion on the destruction wrought by the Asian Longhorn Beetle in Greenpoint in the 1990s. Ten historical documents were copied and digitally preserved at this event and future events are being planned for the fall. Thus far, the project has recorded 15 oral histories and the Outreach Archivist continues to set up interviews with other community members.

February 2019: Delays in construction due to the discovery of asbestos during excavation and foundation work were exacerbated in the fall because of unusually rainy weather. In late 2018, the foundation and basement work was finally completed, and steel beams and decking were erected. The building structure is currently being winterized so work can continue in cold weather. Brooklyn Public Library now expects to complete the new building in late summer 2019.

The Green Series events for adults and children continue to be held at BPL’s nearby Leonard Branch twice a month.

In the fall, the Greenpoint Outreach Archivist continued to conduct extensive community outreach and put on five additional events for the Greenpoint Oral History and Community Scanning project. To date, over 30 oral histories have been recorded with community members and dozens of items documenting the environmental history of the neighborhood have been scanned. Brooklyn Public Library’s acquisition team has identified items for the environmental education collection, including a mixture of children’s young adult and adult fiction and non-fiction books on topics related to the environment, nature, climate change and sustainability which will be purchased in the spring of 2019.

In July 2018, Brooklyn Public Library formed an advisory committee for hiring and overseeing a consultant to help the library create environmental education lesson plans for youth. Brooklyn Public Library hired independent consultants with strong backgrounds in children’s education (specifically STEM and environmental science); one to develop six lesson plans for children 8 and under, and two consultants to develop six lesson plans for ages 9-18. The consultants worked with the library’s advisory committee to draft the lesson plans, and will be testing them in early 2019 before making refinements and training staff for their use.

In October 2018, Brooklyn Public Library hired a Remediation Records Coordinator to obtain digital versions of various local remediation reports from the Newtown Creek Oil Spill and other environmental concerns previously housed as physical copies at the Greenpoint Library. She has inventoried the reports, reached out to issuing agencies to obtain digital versions, and is in the process of linking them to a Brooklyn Public Library website that will be publicly available along with a user guide.

RELATED MEDIA

New Environmentally Friendly Greenpoint Public Library Is Making Headway on Norman Avenue (Brownstoner, April 30, 2019)

Episode 2: Oil Spills and Moldy Paper (Borrowed podcast – Brooklyn Public Library, March 2019)

Contribute Your Memories of Greenpoint’s Natural Environment in Upcoming Library Project (Greenpoint Post, May 10, 2018)

Architecture in 2018: Look to the streets, not the sky (The Conversation, January 4, 2018)

Officials break ground for Brooklyn Public Library Greenpoint Branch (Brooklyn Daily Eagle, October 24, 2017)

Environmental Education at the Forefront of Groundbreaking for New Greenpoint Library (BKLYNER, October 24, 2017)

Groundbreaking, Reveal For New Brooklyn Public Library At 107 Norman Avenue, Greenpoint (New York YIMBY, October 24, 2017)

Greenpoint Library’s new eco-friendly building gets renderings (Curbed: New York, October 23, 2017)

New library to be built in Greenpoint (Real Estate Weekly, July 21, 2017)

Pics: Greenpoint Library Gets $15M Upgrade And New Environmental Center (Williamsburg Patch, July 5, 2017)

Greenpoint Library Closing at End of June for Year-Long Renovation (DNAinfo, June 13, 2017)

Excellence in Design Awards given to Bronx Zoo zipline, Far Rockaway streetscape (AM NY, May 11, 2017)

City Announces Winners of Annual Design Competition (Gotham Gazette, May 11, 2017)

NYC’s Awards for Excellence in Design winners emphasize resiliency post-Hurricane Sandy (Curbed: New York, May 11, 2017)

Bomb squad building, verdant library, and others score NYC design awards (The Architect’s Newspaper, May 11, 2017)

Four elegant and resilient Brooklyn spaces receive NYC’s Excellence in Design awards (Brooklyn Eagle, May 11, 2017)

Construction to Begin on New Greenpoint Library Later this Year (Queens Ledger, October 21, 2016)

Greenpoint library to renovate, add green spaces (Greenpointers, May 12, 2016)

Check Out Designs for the Brand New Library Coming to Greenpoint (DNAinfo, April 13, 2016)

LOOK: New Renderings of Future Greenpoint Library (Patch Williamsburg-Greenpoint, April 13, 2016)

Greenpoint Library Seeks Local Feedback on New Look (Greenpoint Gazette, October 21, 2015)

Standing O (Greenpoint): It’s a Green Plan (Brooklyn Daily, January 01, 2015)

Brooklyn Public Library Gets $5M for Environmental Education Center at Greenpoint Library (Brooklyn Daily Eagle, December 22, 2014)

Closing Bell: Greenpoint Library Gets $5M Grant to Build Environmental Center (Brownstoner, December 22, 2014)