Brooklyn Public Library

lib frontThe Brooklyn Public Library, main branch has been my writing home for many years. Although I joined the Brooklyn Writing Space for a few years, leaving right before my son’s birth, I never needed it. This large, airy, majestic and architecturally beautiful library is a block from my home. The second floor, and many other rooms/floors/alcoves/spaces have work tables and abundant outlets to accommodate writers on laptops. (There’s also delicious coffee and food in the lobby these days from Four & Twenty Blackbirds Café.) But its not the bells and whistles or amenities that entice me. It is that near silent room on the second floor with huge windows, high ceilings, the five or six long tables that seat up to 8 people, the cranking heat in winter and cool air in summer, the tens of thousands of bound books sleeping on their feet all around and the cross-section of Brooklyn citizenry circulating with the air, that just makes me purely happy- and productive. I wrote the final draft of The Sign for Drowning in this room, at these tables, and the first draft of my current novel.

baby in libIn fact, as my maternity leave drew to an end in early 2011, I realized that if I brought the baby to the library every morning, I could finish my first draft of the novel before returning to work. I’d bundle him up and plop him in his stroller right before I knew he would start his morning nap and we’d hike over to the library. I discovered their elevators because of his big stroller. Then he’d sleep for over two hours in this room which was not meant for babies, and I’d write in the perfect atmosphere. Many times, I’d eventually look at him after two plus hours, and see that he was already awake, contentedly watching. Maybe he was as pleased as I am to just have a clean well-lighted space to think. He’s got his own library card now and does his own browsing. And I’m back for more hours a week than I have been in recent years, gratefully.

E in lib







  1. Hi Rachel – libraries are precious places, aren’t they. There is something magical about being surrounded by books, as you put it so beautifully ‘sleeping on their feet’. They’re like sentinels, guardians and a reminder of what’s possible.

    I’m really glad that your post was about Brooklyn Public Library as a living, thriving space. Over here in the UK, lots of public libraries are being closed or diminished because the government has cut the tax money they recycle to local communities It’s sad to see.

    Where would you have written, if your local library had been closed? By the way – is the last photo your little boy now? He’s a sharp dresser! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Many of our libraries- or all- are very under-funded too- and also closures and shrunk hours. This main branch is so vibrant: readings, events, programming, lots of great spaces, etc. I think it got better funding in the last couple years and even expanded its Sunday hours. I assume NY is like other big cities, that the cafes everywhere are full of laptops and people who stay for hours. I sometimes do that too. But I love the quiet vast space at this library. Good mojo for now. Thanks for the compliment to my son too- yes, that’s him now at 4 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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