Bensonhurst Library Wins $20k at the “Oscars of Libraries”

The New Utrecht Branch of the Brooklyn Public Library (Photo by Hannah Frishberg)

BENSONHURST – The New Utrecht branch of the Brooklyn Public Library won $20,000 for excellence as “a pillar of the community” at the NYC Neighborhood Library Awards last night.

The New Utrecht branch was one of five branches citywide awarded the grand prize of $20k for offering a safe environment that is welcoming to the community, and for providing free programs and services on a limited budget.

The library, one of Brooklyn’s most used, was closed for five months in 2016 to undergo renovation.

The library awards, in their 4th year, are an initiative of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation and the Charles H. Revson Foundation.

“For millions of patrons—including the most vulnerable among us—libraries are their second homes, offering a place of refuge, opportunities to learn and a safe haven for all,” said Julie Sandorf, President of the Revson Foundation.

More than 24,000 New Yorkers submitted nominations for their favorite branches—a new record. Ultimately, 10 finalist branches were chosen, from which 5 were selected as Grand Prize winners.

“The New Utrecht Library has provided an educational and welcoming space for cultural exchanges. New Utrecht Library has truly brought our diversified community together as one,” said Sonia, a library volunteer and retiree who nominated New Utrecht.

Cameras inside the @bklynlibrary Very cool cc @bklynerbk

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A short documentary played at the event, highlighting some of the stories of people—especially immigrants—who benefit from NYC Public Libraries.

Another Brooklyn library, in Crown Heights, won $10,000 as a finalist in the competition.

While decisions on how to spend the prize money are forthcoming, last year’s Brooklyn winner—the Sunset Park Library—used their prize money to purchase art and music equipment for their children’s programs.

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Paul Stremple

Paul was a staff reporter at Bklyner, responsible for covering Northern and Eastern parts of Brooklyn between August 2017 and January 2019.

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