From Curbed New York:
The Brooklyn Public Library’s imposing Central Branch will get some 21st-century friendly upgrades as part of $135 million revamp over the next two years.
“We are focused on broadening the definition of what it means to be literate,” Linda E. Johnson, president and chief executive of the Brooklyn Public Library system told the New York Times. “A hundred years ago, it was transactional: You borrowed a book, in English. You took it home. You brought it back.”
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Now the library has holdings in more than 30 languages and offers digital downloads that go poof when the due date expires. It has Wi-Fi. Ms. Johnson said the central library and the 59 branch libraries are the largest source of free internet access in Brooklyn. In warm weather, people with laptops do not go far when the doors close at the central library. They take up positions on the steps outside and log back in.
Like other urban libraries, its mission now includes providing English classes; some are conversation groups led by volunteers. Ms. Johnson said a third of the households in Brooklyn speak a language other than English.