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Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Brooklyn Public Library: 1941

Brooklyn Public Library: 1941

February 4, 1941. "Foyer, Brooklyn Public Library (Ingersoll Memorial), Prospect Park Plaza." Acetate negative by Gottscho-Schleisner. View full size.

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Foyer à Fark

Ministry of Information

Sam Lowry: I've been told to report to Mr. Warren.
Porter: Thirtieth floor, sir. You're expected.
Sam Lowry: Um... don't you want to search me?
Porter: No sir.
Sam Lowry: Do you want to see my ID?
Porter: No need, sir.
Sam Lowry: But I could be anybody.
Porter: No you couldn't sir. This is Information Retrieval.

Although, the porter in the movie at least had a impressive desk and a real chair instead of a bar stool.

Crown Heights

I grew up in Crown Heights and often went here as a young kid. I remember being awe-inspired and intimidated by the library. As someone else mentioned, it was as if walking into a monumental cathedral to a kid in second grade. Not even on a human scale.

Not just a looker

A gorgeous architectural photo. But today, as Zack wrote, it's overrun with people.

I think the builders would be happy with that result.

When I wait in line at my beautiful local library I always feel lucky that my neighbors appreciate the space and appreciate books.

Well Preserved

I live three blocks from this library and am glad to report that it has not deteriorated. The entrance has recently been redone and the inside (except for the changes noted above) looks pretty good to me.

This is a wonderful building and it greatly contributes to Grand Army Plaza on which it occupies a prominent corner. It looks pretty much the same now as it did then.

The Library

My goodness -- what a beautiful building. All those sweeping columns and recessed lights. To a kid who loved to read, it must have been like going to a cathedral. I hope it's still gorgeous like that even now.

Dial M for Mesmerized

This gorgeous photo is very intriguing. It looks like a still from an Alfred Hitchcock movie. I wish I were clever enough to come up with a dark and suspenseful plot surrounding the two men who are talking and the lone man on the right who is merely pretending to be interested in that wall display.

I guess I'll just enjoy looking at this picture, one of my favorites on Shorpy so far.

Public spaces

Tell you so much, intended and unintended, about the values of the culture. Today, buildings like this are pretty much limited to financial and corporate institutions--and sports venues.

Lonely big spaces

I wonder if some guy named Eddie Hopper is loitering around the corner.

Makes me wish

I had a time machine

A Grand Library

Lots of fond memories of BPL's main branch, and can still remember kids break dancing in front as they waited for it to open. You can't say that about every library!

Re: What a Place

I used to go there from the time I was old enough to go to the library by myself, up through college. So, I remember its heyday as does Zach. It's sad to hear that it has deteriorated. You can thank the decline in civility to the influx of the mongrels.

["Decline in civility"? You should know. - Dave]

In the Stacks

Back in 1965 I spent several days going through that foyer to the newspaper stacks, searching for my grandfather's April 1903 Brooklyn Daily Eagle obit. Since that time, the Library has digitized every copy of the Eaglefrom 1851 through 1902. Someday maybe they'll have enough funding to complete this enormous job.


My first thought was this must be in Eastern Europe -- big empty halls to make you feel so small.

What a place!

I was about to say something about how nice the place looked when it wasn't crowded with metal detectors and security gates and lines everywhere.

These days it's full of kids running around and people having loud conversations in about 50 different languages, and those are great things to have in a library too.

SHORPY OLD PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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