Washington Irving Library - Local History & Photos

Welcome to Washington Irving Branch, July 2000
Interior, July 2000
Technology Available to Public, July 2000
Reading Areas, July 2000
Meet the Washington Irving Staff, July 2000
Interior, Historic Fireplace, July 2000
Detail of Historic Fireplace, July 2000

Branch History

The Washington Irving Branch, a two-story Tudor Reviva brick building, sits on a rise in the Bushwick area of Brooklyn, separated from the street by an iron gate which encloses a lawn and stair leading up to the entrance. It was the 21st and last Carnegie library building to be built in Brooklyn and was designed by Edward L. Tilton. The library opened to the public in 1923 as the Irving Branch. At that time, the community was largely made up of German immigrants.

The library was given its present name in 1944. In the 1950's, children from the neighborhood and the high school across the street enjoyed story hours in the library garden, and browsed in the Young Adult collection. The building was renovated twice, in 1960-63 and again in 1986. Following the last renovation, it reopened as a merchandised collection, displaying books in a more accessible format.

Today, the branch looks forward to more changes, including American Disabilities Act improvements and the addition of Internet access computers. The library now serves a predominantly Hispanic and African-American population. Immigrants have come primarily from the Dominican Republic, as well as Guyana, Ecuador, the Caribbean, India and China. Children of all ages are still the mainstay of the library; the Kid's Connection program, Poetry Workshops, films, class visits and the Summer Reading Program supplement the available book collection. The branch looks forward to a bright future, in which it will grow and continue to meet the needs of a changing community.

Famous Facts

The Washington Irving Branch is housed in a Carnegie building which opened in 1923. Since its opening, the branch has undergone many changes. In 1962, the branch opened as a Family Reading Center. In 1977, it became a branch.