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(Article published in HWW January-February 2014)

by Leigh Hurwitz and Nick Higgins

Brooklyn Public Library (BPL) wants to bring its library to you!

The strength of any public library lies in its ability to serve all members of the community. BPL has a variety of programs at its branches to meet the needs of our patrons. Despite the strength of these services, there are still many people in the community who are not reaping their benefits. BPL’s Outreach Services department is offering programs to address this gap by bringing library services out of the branches and into the community.

Our newest service is the Uni, a portable pop-up library that holds a vast collection of books and literary materials. The BPL Uni will deploy to shelters throughout Brooklyn in 2014. The Uni will rotate among participating facilities, spending up to three weeks at a time in each place. Residents will be able to borrow materials whether or not they have a library card, and can do so easily at any time regardless of whether a BPL staff member is present.

Aiding in life transitions is a large component of Outreach Services. The Uni will bring useful programs and training to shelter residents who want it. Besides offering a brand new collection of books developed specifically for the Uni and tailored to the needs of Outreach Services patrons, Outreach Services staff provide programs such as job readiness training, book clubs, and read-alouds with kids, to name a few. We serve the youngest and oldest of patrons.

What you need to have in order to host the BPL Uni:

• A secure, and large enough space for the Uni to stay while it is at the facility. BPL will handle the loading in and out of the Uni.

• The ability to have BPL Outreach Services staff visit the facility once a week for up to 2 hours to lead programming related to the Uni collection and to provide upkeep (adding/re-shelving books, aiding in borrowing, signing people up for library cards, etc.)

• A facility located in Brooklyn

If you are interested in bringing the Uni to your facility, feel free to contact BPL Outreach Services at (718) 230-2745 or