From January to August 2017, Hester Street (HST) worked with Grain Collective to engage the Sunset Park community in a participatory design process to redevelop the new Sunset Park Library, one of the busiest libraries in Brooklyn. The process included interviews with over 350 residents, local service providers, organizations, librarians, and elected officials to incorporate their ideas on its design and programming. The HST team also conducted a patron survey, two large public workshops, and four focus groups with populations not well represented at the larger workshops, and shared a final community report with Brooklyn Public Library (BPL) to ensure that the community’s priorities for programs, services, and space allocation within the new library were captured. For more details on the outcomes of the community engagement process, read the full Sunset Library report here.

Six years later, the opening of the new Sunset Park Library was celebrated on November 15, 2023 with a ribbon-cutting ceremony hosted by the Brooklyn Public Library and Fifth Avenue Committee (FAC), the nonprofit community-based organization which developed the project’s 49 units of 100% permanently affordable housing which are co-located above the library. The event was attended by numerous community members and public officials including Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso. It is the first public library in NYC to be co-located with housing. Hester Street is proud to have engaged the Sunset Park community in the redevelopment of the new library to better meet the needs of the neighborhood.