The main branch of the Brooklyn Public Library, located at Flatbush Ave. and Eastern Pkwy. on Grand Army Plaza and across the street from Prospect Park, was designed by Githens & Keally was opened its doors in 1941.
The architects designed a wide plaza with a bold, stark, curved limestone façade.
The façade ornament is limited to pylons covered with gilded relief carvings that combine modern-age figures with ones from antiquity.
Sculptor C. Paul Jennewein’s signature, dated 1939:
Above the front doors, Thomas Hudson Jones designed a bronze grid with gilt figures of literary subjects:
The lobby is a brightly lit, soaring, 3-story high space with curved pylons and walls covered in wood veneer:
Here’s an interesting bit of trivia: before it became part of NYC, Brooklyn founded its own public library system in 1892. That was 3 years before Manhattan embarked on the same project, but its majestic main library was finished in 1911, before the construction of the one in Brooklyn had even started [for more, check out the NYT].
The BPL is now the 5th largest public library system in the US, and this branch contains over 3 million cataloged books, magazines, and multimedia materials.