The Brooklyn Historical Society and the Brooklyn Public Library will combine, the two institutions announced. The latter will serve as the parent of the former, taking on stewardship of BHS's landmark Pierrepont Street building in Brooklyn Heights as well as all of its holdings and programming, while BHS will bring its conservation and preservation expertise to bear on the BPL's own holdings. The institutions are currently seeking funding from New York to support the merger.
As a result of the move, BHS's offerings will be open to all 650,000 BPL cardholders throughout its 59 branches. In addition, BPL’s Brooklyn collection will be combined with the archives of the BHS in its Pierrepont Street building—which comes replete with environmentally controlled exhibition presentation and storage facilities—which the institutions say will result in "the premiere collection of the history of Brooklyn." Moving the Brooklyn collection, BPL said, will free up space at its central library for new public programming, which has yet to be announced. The new combined research collection will be available for scholars, researchers, students, and the public free of charge.
“Brooklyn Historical Society and Brooklyn Public Library are both education institutions dedicated to helping individuals build a sense of self, a sense of place, and a sense of community. Together our institutions hold important collections of material, manuscripts, and artifacts, vital to our shared history that we are committed to making accessible to everyone,” Brooklyn Public Library president and CEO Linda E. Johnson said in a statement. “I’m thrilled this partnership will provide a new level of care and interpretation of our own collections, and that we will greatly expand access to this combined archive through our far reaching networks and library branches.”
Brooklyn Historical Society president Deborah Schwartz added: “By combining with Brooklyn Public Library, the Brooklyn Historical Society immediately extends our reach to every neighborhood in the borough, creating myriad opportunities to educate people of all ages about Brooklyn’s important history and its relevance to each of them. This partnership also provides BHS with financial stability, professional resources, and through our combined programming, an enhancement and expansion of everything we do. This includes the ongoing building of our collections in ways that foster inclusion and reflect the diversity of the borough.”