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Press Release

The New York Public Library and NYCEDC Break Ground on New Charleston Branch on Staten Island

Aug 08 2019
The New York Public Library and NYCEDC Break Ground on New Charleston Branch on Staten Island
Rendering by Ikon 5

Elected Officials and Community Members Kick off Construction with a Ceremony at the Site of New Branch, Which Is Slated to Open in 2021

STATEN ISLAND, NY—The New York Public Library and New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) today broke ground on the brand new Charleston Library, a 10,000-square-foot branch on Staten Island that will offer separate areas for adults, children, and teens, multi-purpose rooms for computer use, and a wide range of programming and classes.

The new state-of-the-art library will be located in the Bricktown Commons shopping center; a 10-acre retail complex on Staten Island’s South Shore. NYCEDC managed the sale of the complex, with a parcel specifically set aside for the public library, and contributed to development funding. The new branch will be Staten Island’s 14th public library and is expected to open in early 2021.

“The Charleston community has long needed and wanted its own library, and thanks to the support of our partners in government, we are finally able to break ground,” said New York Public Library President Anthony W. Marx. “We know Staten Island loves its libraries—program attendance has risen steadily for the last five years, for example—so we are excited to provide a new branch that will offer countless opportunities to our future patrons, and strengthen the Charleston community.”

“NYCEDC is excited to partner with NYPL to build Staten Island’s newest, energy-efficient and state-of-the-art library,” said NYCEDC President and CEO James Patchett. “We’re proud to have helped deliver this important community asset that will expand resources and opportunities for residents on the South Shore. I’d like to thank Borough President Oddo and Councilmember Borelli for championing this project and our community partners who helped make this library possible.”

“If you take a moment to think about it, a library is one of the happiest places on Earth. Good things happen there. Individuals get better there. Society improves there. Fun, knowledge, and adventure grow there. They are not only an investment in our future, there are a portal to a better place. I am so pleased to work with my partners in government to make the construction of the new Charleston Branch a reality,” said Borough President James Oddo.

“This state of the art library is going to have dedicated areas for every age group and will engage the community in ways we haven’t seen before on Staten Island,” said Councilmember Joe Borelli. “The community input throughout this process has been thoughtful and inclusive and I think we’re all going to be very pleased with the resulting facility. South Shore parents and readers are excited about this one and so am I!”

The New York Public Library and NYCEDC Break Ground on New Charleston Branch on Staten Island

Rendering by Ikon 5

The new $17 million branch is targeting LEED Gold Certification and will feature a solar panel array on the roof, along with other energy saving measures, making it the first Net Zero library in New York City. Designed by Ikon 5 Architects, plans for the building were informed by the Library’s “Building for You” engagement program, which solicited feedback from the community through public surveys and meetings to identify important amenities and services to the neighborhood. The new Library will feature:

  • Flexible community spaces for a variety of uses
  • Children’s room with computers, storytime area, stroller parking, and bathroom
  • Teens’ room with computers and lounge space
  • Adult reading room with computers, seats, park views
  • On-site programs, classes, and workshops for all
  • An entry plaza with bench seating
  • The artwork installation “Curiouser” by Mark Reigelman, commissioned by the Department of Cultural Affairs Percent for Art program

“I want to thank the New York Public Library and my colleagues in state and local government for opening new doors for children in the Charleston neighborhood to learn and explore,” said U.S. Congressman Max Rose. “Best of all, this library is proof of government working the way it should – it will be built based on the community’s feedback to ensure that it will support this thriving neighborhood for years to come.”

“Public libraries are truly the cornerstone of our community, and I am so thrilled to join my colleagues today as we break ground on the future site of the brand new state of the art Charleston Library,” said Assembly Member Michael Reilly.

“The New York Public Library is a vital component of the very fabric of New York City, and Gilbane could not be prouder to help build its latest branch on Staten Island,” said William Gilbane III, Senior Vice President and Head of Gilbane’s New York Division. “We congratulate the library and EDC for this step forward, and Gilbane looks forward to creating a cutting-edge, environmentally-friendly space for the local community to enjoy.”

With this groundbreaking, all New York City public library systems will have broken ground on new branches in 2019.

The Charleston Library is the second new branch to be constructed on Staten Island in 10 years; Mariners Harbor Library opened on December 15, 2013. The Library also completed an extensive expansion of the Stapleton branch in 2013. Staten Island receives over 1 million visits annually at branches across the borough and circulates over 1.5 million items every year.

The New York Public Library currently has over $600 million worth of capital projects in progress across the Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island, including the full renovation of the Port Richmond Library—a historic Carnegie Library on Staten Island that opened in 1905. The branch will receive improvements to support increased accessibility, as well as upgrades to its interior design and infrastructure.

About The New York Public Library
The New York Public Library is a free provider of education and information for the people of New York and beyond. With 92 locations—including research and branch libraries—throughout the Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island, the Library offers free materials, computer access, classes, exhibitions, programming and more to everyone from toddlers to scholars, and has seen record numbers of attendance and circulation in recent years. The New York Public Library serves nearly 17 million patrons who come through its doors annually and millions more around the globe who use its resources at To offer this wide array of free programming, The New York Public Library relies on both public and private funding. Learn more about how to support the Library at

New York City Economic Development Corporation creates shared prosperity across New York City’s five boroughs by strengthening neighborhoods and creating good jobs. NYCEDC works with and for communities to provide them with the resources they need to thrive, and we invest in projects that increase sustainability, support job growth, develop talent, and spark innovation to strengthen the City’s competitive advantage. To learn more about our work and initiatives, please visit us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.