Coney Island Library - Local History & Photos

Coney Island Branch, Feb 1966 Coney Island Branch Coney Island Branch Coney Island Branch Child Using Card Catalog, 1969 Coney Island Beach, 1930s Swimmers at the Beach, May 1948 Exercising, 1950s Bathing Beauty, April 1952 Coney Island Beach, Two walkers
Branch History

The Coney Island Branch of the Brooklyn Public Library opened as an unstaffed deposit station in the store of Edward A. Ancelin at Surf Avenue and West 16th Street, on February 6th, 1911. It was first upgraded to a Station with a permanent collection, and finally to a fully staffed branch. In 1920 the library moved to the old headquarters of the Coney Island Times at 2880 Stillwell Avenue, but facilities in this turreted Victorian building soon proved inadequate for the growing number of patrons.

As early as 1925, community leaders began to try to secure a specially constructed building. However, it was not until October 19th, 1954 that a ground-breaking ceremony finally took place. Designed by Harry Silverman, the two-story library of 12,380 sq-ft was said to be the first ever library built on stilts over the Atlantic Ocean.

A portion of the second floor of the branch provides a home for one of the Brooklyn Public Library's six Adult Learning Centers, offering free instruction in reading and writing to adults over 17, from non-readers up to pre-GED level. Instruction is provided through the use of computer technology and volunteer tutors in a small group format. Through its information resources and innovative programming, the Brooklyn Public Library has served the Coney Island community for over 80 years.

Famous Facts

The Branch is located in the heart of Coney Island a short walk from the beaches, boardwalks, amusements and Nathan's, home of the original Coney Island Hot Dog and Host of the World Famous Hot Dog eating contest. Another annual event: The Mermaid Day Parade. The Parachute Jump can be seen from the Branch. Woody Guthrie used to live on Mermaid Avenue near 35th Street.