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Photo courtesy of BPL
Photo courtesy of BPL
A look inside the New Utrecht Library.

New Utrecht Library was one of five local branches that took home the top prize of $20,000 at the fourth annual NYC Neighborhood Library Awards, held on Sunday, October 1.

The awards – an initiative of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation and the Charles H. Revson Foundation – honor libraries for being “irreplaceable pillars of their communities, offering a welcoming and safe environment, and free programs and services – all while on a tight budget.”

Other winners this year included the Bronx’s Allerton branch, Manhattan’s Chatham Square branch, and Queens’ Lefferts and Woodside branches.

“It is an honor to recognize and celebrate our city’s phenomenal libraries for their vital contributions to the communities they serve,” said Julie Sandorf, president of 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.”

As for the winning Brooklyn branch, library volunteer, neighborhood resident and parent Sonia Valentin, when nominating her local library for the digs, said, “In keeping with the times, our library has skillfully adapted to the change in demographics by modifying and adding events, classes and programs to embrace our new residents. 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.”

Another Brooklyn branch – the Crown Heights library – took home $10,000 for being one of 10 finalists for the top prize. This year’s winning branches were selected by a panel of judges including acclaimed authors Francine Prose, Min Jin Lee and Eric Klinenberg; Executive Director of the National Book Foundation Lisa Lucas; and Commissioner and CEO of Chicago Public Library Brian Bannon.

The New Utrecht Library has operated in its current location since 1956, according to the Brooklyn Public Library (BPL), but its history dates to 1894 and the opening of the Free Library of the Town of New Utrecht. The branch joined the BPL system in 1901 and today is one of the borough’s busiest branches.

The New Utrecht Library is located at 1743 86th Street.

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