Brooklyn Public Library


Make a Tax-Deductible Gift Today

Dec 29, 2009 11:32 AM | 0 comments

2009 has been a challenging year for many Brooklynites. Through it all, Brooklyn Public Library (BPL) has seen a record number of people use our free resources and services to help them achieve their dreams. But, with a current budget shortfall of $7 million and the possibility of more cuts in the future, we need your help.


Please consider making a generous year-end gift to BPL. For a 2009 tax deduction, make your contribution by December 31. Your gift will help BPL provide:


  • Free tutors and after-school programs
  • More than 600 workshops to help jobseekers
  • Books, DVDs, and literary and cultural programs for families
  • Computer and internet access for new Americans and those without home computers  

Please donate online now. You can also make a donation by phone at 718.230.2738.


Brooklynites depend on their libraries, and we rely on your support to help deliver the high quality library service that every Brooklyn resident needs and deserves.


Thank you and all the best in 2010!

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Season’s Readings

Dec 22, 2009 1:41 PM | 0 comments

As the year comes to a close, and (some) people have time off, it’s a good time to catch up on your reading. We asked our Facebook fans and Twitter followers for their fave reads of 2009, and here are their recommendations in no particular order. From sci-fi, to short stories, to kids’ classics, to non-fiction, this list has something for everyone. Happy holidays -- and happy reading!

The Rules of Attraction by Bret Easton Ellis

Finger Smith by Sarah Waters

The Other Side of Paradise by Staceyann Chin

The Book Thief by Markus Zuzak

The Owl Killers by Karen Maitland

The Society of the Spectacle by Guy Debord

The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling

The Autobiography of Fidel Castro by Norberto Fuentes

The History of Love by Nicole Krauss

Step by Step: A Pedestrian Memoir by Lawrence Block

The Secret River by Kate Grenville

Brixton Rock by Alex Wheatle

Confessions of a Radical Industrialist by Ray C Anderson

A Gate at the Stairs by Lorrie Moore

Ms. Hempel Chronicles by Sarah Shun-lien Bynum

The 19th Wife by David Ebershoff  

New York by Edward Rutherford  

The Children's Book by A.S. Byatt

Face by Sherman Alexie    

The Shack by William P. Young

The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing by M.T. Anderson

The Line of Beauty by Alan Hollinghurst

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

Three Weeks to Say Goodbye by C.J. Box

Netherland by Joseph O'Neill

My One Hundred Adventures by Polly Horvath

The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood

Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout

One Night in Chile by Roberto Bolano

Out Stealing Horses by Per Petterson

An Inconvenient Wife by Megan Chance

I Loved, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti by Giulia Melucci

American Wife by Curtis Sittenfield

Op Oloop by Juan Filloy

Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi by Geoff Dyer

The Anthologist by Nicholson Baker  

A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from my Kitchen Table by Molly Wizenberg

White Teeth by Zadie Smith

American on Purpose by Craig Ferguson  

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Atrocity Archives by Charles Stross

To Say Nothing of the Dog, or, How we Found the Bishop's Bird Stump at Last by Connie Willis

Steal Across the Sky by Nancy Kress

The Intuitionist by Colson Whitehead

The Red Tree by Caitlin R. Kiernan

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins  

True and False: Heresy and Common Sense for the Actor by David Mamet

Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned by Wells Tower

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Mmmm, The Simpsons

Dec 16, 2009 3:34 PM | 0 comments

We’re happy to welcome journalist John Ortved to Central Library’s Dweck Center this Thursday evening at 7 PM. His new book, The Simpsons: An Uncensored, Unauthorized History, is the first-ever look at the creation and day-to-day running of The Simpsons, as told by the people who made it: writers, animators, producers and network executives.

And let me tell you, it’s not pretty. The book is full of betrayal, ambition, outsized egos and a whole lot of dysfunction. Sounds a lot like
a familiar cartoon family, doesn’t it?

I was lucky enough to talk to Mr. Ortved about his book and his thoughts on one of the most successful shows in television history.

You must have ruffled a few feathers writing the book. Any death threats?

Fat Tony came to my house and we had words, but we ended up settling our differences over a shared love of sweet Manhattans and stereotypes. Actually, the reaction has been quiet. Al Jean, the showrunner for the past 10 years (who, in the book, bears some of the responsibility for the show’s horrendous decline) called the book “shoddy,” which is a far nicer term than the words his own writers have used to describe his stewardship of the series.

What’s your earliest memory of The Simpsons?

I wasn’t allowed to watch TV as a kid, and I distinctly remember being huddled up in my parents’ bedroom (where the TV was), with my brother and his best friend, and them forcing me to watch Family Matters instead of The Simpsons, and only being allowed to catch glimpses of the series during Family Matters’ commercials. This would have been 1990 and I’m still furious about it.

Of all the behind-the-scenes clashes over the show, what was the ugliest?

Matt Groening and Sam Simon’s feuding over creative credit, and then money seems to be the pussiest sore in the show’s history. It literally got to a point where they would only speak through an intermediary. This poor editor named Brian Roberts used to have to sit between them during screenings and pass along their insults and bitchy comments to each other. The feeling from a lot of the early staff is that Matt Groening has either been given, or has taken, far more credit than he deserves. But the media (that's us!) likes to make heroes out of people. Groening was an alternative cartoonist whose drawings became the biggest thing in media, overnight. That’s a fairly irresistible story.

I’ve heard The Simpsons writers hate The Family Guy writers, even though both shows are on Fox. Is there any truth to that? In a family smackdown, who would win: the Simpsons or the Griffins?


I have to give it to the Griffins; Stewie would bring weapons. I think the notion of a rivalry between the two shows is more wishful thinking on the part of fans than anything else. The series take shots at each other the way they take shots at everything else, but I don't see it as mean-spirited. Family Guy is the embodiment of The Simpsons relative decline. Like, The Simpsons isn’t very funny any more, but only in comparison to those really fast, funny shows, like Family Guy, which is a direct spawn of The Simpsons. Compared to Two and a Half Men, and other crappy network fare, The Simpsons still looks pretty good.

Do you think you’ll ever be as big as The Simpsons?

There is a taco truck near my house where I eat about 70 percent of my meals. At this rate, I'll overtake Homer within a year.


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A Sunny Day in Sunset Park

Dec 14, 2009 1:58 PM | 0 comments

The celebration of 40 years of Sesame Street continues at Brooklyn Public Library! Come to Sunset Park Library on Saturday, December 19, for a fun family day in honor of the anniversary of this legendary children’s show. There will be craft activities, bilingual

story time with NY1’s Jeanine Ramirez, a screening of The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland, and the chance to win a Sesame Street goodie bag. At this library, or any of our other locations, you can also sign up for your first library card, featuring Elmo! 

And there’s still time to come to Central Library to see Sesame Street: A Celebration of 40 Years of Life on the Street. This exhibition features Sesame Street Muppets, storybook art, photographs and other show memorabilia. The exhibition is open through February 21. It’s a great way to sweep those clouds away!

This exhibition is made possible in part by The Jim Henson Company and The Jim Henson Legacy. 

"Sesame Workshop"®, "
Sesame Street"®, and associated characters, trademarks, and design elements are owned and licensed by Sesame Workshop. © 2009 Sesame Workshop. All Rights Reserved.

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The Prize of Peace

Dec 10, 2009 2:31 PM | 0 comments

The Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to 120 Nobel Laureates 90 times since 1901. President Obama is the most recent recipient, in an awards ceremony today in Oslo. There’s been some controversy around giving him the award, primarily because of his short time in office and his decision to send more troops to Afghanistan.

Regardless, it’s a momentous occasion and one that piqued my interest in seeing who else has received the award. The list is long and full of luminaries, including another president (Jimmy Carter), Nelson Mandela, and the 14th Dalai Lama.


There are many books about this important prize and the fascinating people who have received it, and BPL is the place to find them.

A short sampling:


2007 - Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Al Gore

2006 - Muhammad Yunus, Grameen Bank

1991 - Aung San Suu Kyi

1986 - Elie Wiesel

1931 - Jane Addams, Nicholas Murray Butler



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