Friends of the Carroll Gardens Library Collect Thousands of Books for Benefit

The newly formed group is raising money for the children's section

Love Your Library Day is coming to Brooklyn on Saturday, May 14 -- just in time for the newly-chartered Friends of the Carroll Gardens Library to host their first official event to benefit the local branch: a book sale.

The sale is from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. in the downstairs space of the , and there will be fun activites for children, including readings and a musical performance by local favorite Karen K and the Jitterbugs.

Though the Friends of Carroll Gardens Library does not have a set monetary goal for the sale, they hope it will raise enough to get started on a shelving project for the children’s section. Staff feedback indicated that lower shelving and other items for the children’s area would prove more user-friendly for young readers.

The group has already collected approximately 6,000 books to sell and is continuing to accept “gently used” donations at the library through May 5. Drop-off hours are as follows: Tuesday, 1 - 6 p.m., Wednesday 1 - 8 p.m., Thursday and Friday, 1 - 6 p.m., and Saturday 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.

The newly-established group boasts 15-20 active members thus far. Its presiding officers are Nina Guralnick, president; , vice president; Linda Blyer, treasurer; and Tamar Smith, secretary.

“Our goal is to support the staff at the branch, encourage greater use of the library and help develop more programming that will engage the community,” said Guralnick. “This branch could be a real center of community activities for all ages, but that vision could only be fully realized with community participation.”

The Friends became officially chartered by the Brooklyn Public Library in March, a process that took nine months.

“It’s been slow going,” said Pagano. "We've had to go through quite a bit of bureaucratic stuff."

The members' involvement is driven by a lifelong love of books and libraries, said Pagano.

“I’m a book person. Some people can’t walk past a shoe store, and I can’t walk past a book store,” she said with a laugh. “My parents worked to build up our library in the town I grew up in, so I grew up around books.”

“When my children were young, we spent a lot of time at the Carroll Gardens Library,” she continued. “It’s a beautiful library with so many nooks and crannies.”

She recalls a wealth of programming for patrons in the 1970s, followed by a wave of cutbacks in the 1980s.

“There used to be great programs. It was really a community center,” she said. “Now it’s like looking at a smile with a front tooth missing.”

Jeff Schwartz, head librarian of the Carroll Gardens branch, was out of town and unavailable for comment, but a Brooklyn Public Library spokesperson expressed deep appreciation for Friends groups’ efforts.

“The Friends groups really help advocate for the library, for services and our needs, with events like this book sale,” he said, adding that other branches will host Love Your Library festivities, as well. "I <3 BPL" t-shirts and tote bags will be sold at Brooklyn’s Central Branch, for example, with proceeds benefiting library services.

The Friends are still seeking members and volunteers.

“We are a brand new organization so everyone should feel welcome to come and make their mark,” said Guralnick. “We need everyone who is interested to get involved.”


The next Friends meeting will be held Wednesday, May 4, at 6:30 p.m. in the library. All are welcome to attend. Contact FriendsCGLibrary@gmail.com. Volunteers are also needed to help sort and sell books the day of the event, and during the 10 days leading up to it. To sign up for one or more 2-3 hour shifts, visit the library or click here.

lois April 28, 2011 at 11:21 AM
That was my mother's local library in the early 1900s when she lived on Manhasset Place between Henry and Hicks and I brought my daughter there in the 1980s for one of their children's programs. So even tho I live in Brooklyn Heights, I plan to join and support the Friends of Carroll Gardens Library. I wish them good luck with their sale and in all their future work.
Michael Brown April 28, 2011 at 11:57 AM
More on Manhasset Place: http://www.carrollgardensdiary.com/2011/02/manhasset-place.html
Tamar Smith April 28, 2011 at 03:49 PM
Thanks for the great article - for up to date announcements about the Friends of the Carroll Gardens Library and goings on at the branch we can can be found on Facebook.com/FriendsofCarrollGardensLibrary and our blog http://friendsofcglibrary.blogspot.com/
lois April 29, 2011 at 01:52 AM
Michael - thanks so much for the video on Manhasset Place. It's weird to look for a street that has been completely obliterated.


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