Calling all bookworms! The New York Public Library (NYPL) opened the brand-new Charleston Library today on the South Shore, and it’s a must-see for Staten Islanders of all ages!
Voracious readers will love the extensive book collection, which features approximately 20,000 covers. But there’s more to check out here than just great reads. The 10,000-square-foot library boasts computers, a children’s room, a teen room with lounge space, on-site programs and more for the community to enjoy.
“The opening of the Charleston Library symbolizes an important moment in the history of the New York Public Library and the city we serve—representing a time of growth and renewal after extraordinary challenges,” Anthony W. Marx, president of the NYPL, said. “Libraries are singularly equipped to provide New York City’s communities with spaces that foster connection and collaboration.”
Construction of the Charleston Library
Groundbreaking for the $17 million library was in 2019, but construction was stalled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The project, which was managed by the New York Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) with Gilbane Building Company and designed by Ikon 5 Architects, is LEED Gold, and is the first net zero/net positive library in the city, making the building environmentally friendly. It’s energy efficient, according to NYPL, with solar panels providing nearly 100% of the building’s energy.
Situated in the bustling Bricktown Commons shopping center, the library is a result of advocacy from the community. The NYPL solicited feedback from residents to identify amenities and services most needed in the neighborhood.
“When you think about it, there’s nothing more democratic in the world than a public library,” Vito Fossella, Staten Island borough president, said. “Anybody of any means, of any race, of any gender, can walk through the doors of the New York Public Library and be exposed to that repository of preserved knowledge where you can learn, discover, explore and then go out and build based on what you just absorbed.”
The Charleston Library is the 14th NYPL branch to open in the borough. The last branch to open was in Mariners Harbor in 2013.
“Having spent nearly a decade at NYPL early in my career, I know firsthand the power of branch libraries as a community anchor. As we recover from the pandemic and drive the economic recovery, the educational and small business resources available at your local branch are more important than ever,” said NYCEDC President and CEO Andrew Kimball.
What To Expect at the Charleston Library
There’s lots to see and do at the Charleston Library. Here’s a look at some of the library’s top features:
- Community Connection: Flexible community spaces for programs such as Little Movers Storytime, Infant Lapsit, book discussions, technology workshops
- Cozy Comforts: A special “branch chair” from furniture maker Thos. Moser, a Maine-based company. The chairs were built to be reminiscent of the special chairs that architects Carrère and Hastings designed for the 42nd Street library in 1907, still in use at the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building
- Children’s Room: Features a story-time area, stroller parking, computers and a bathroom
- Teen Room: Features computers and lounge space
- Adult Reading Room: Has lots of computers and views of Fairview Park
- Entry Plaza: Features bench seating
Art lovers will enjoy the library’s permanent artwork by artist, Mark Reigelmän, commissioned by the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs’ Percent for Art Program. The piece, “Curiouser,” is inspired by literature and consists of a collection of objects capturing the essence of important literary items and stories. The small metal sculptures, ranging from keys to cats, are installed on the interior and exterior of the building where they can be discovered by library visitors of all ages.
As if these features aren’t incentive enough to spark a visit, the NYPL, along with the Brooklyn Public Library and Queens Library, announced last year they will no longer charge late fees for overdue books and other circulating materials.
What You Need to Know About Visiting the NYPL Charleston Library
Where is the Charleston Library located?
The Charleston Library is located at 225 Bricktown Way in Staten Island.
What are the library’s hours of operation?
The Charleston Library is open Monday-Thursday, 10am-7pm; Friday-Saturday, 10am-5pm.
Is the library free to use?
Who is the library branch manager?
Jennifer Giordano is the branch manager. Allison De Luca and Liz Lipari are the children’s librarians.