Shelling out for stacks: Donations at BPL bash break million-dollar threshold

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These bookworms have deep pockets!

The Brooklyn Public Library system raked in a whopping $1.1 million from generous literature-lovers who attended its annual gala on Tuesday — roughly $250,000 more than it collected last year.

Attendees filed into an old Williamsburg bank turned event space for the swanky soirée, at which library leaders honored a one-time patron of the book lender who rose to lead the country’s top financial agency — a job she said her days spent in local reading rooms helped prepare her for.

“Among my fondest memories are afternoons spent in the Bay Ridge branch, an inspiring light-filled place where I studied, browsed open stacks, received help from dedicated librarians, and developed a love of learning,” said Janet Yellen, a Fort Hamilton High School graduate who left her position as chairwoman of the U.S. Federal Reserve in February. “It not only provides Brooklynites with equal access to information and resources; it also offers safe gathering places where people from diverse backgrounds connect, speak freely, share concerns, and build strong community ties.”

Yellen — whom the hosts honored along with the Brooklyn Public Library’s outgoing board chairman, Nicholas Gravante, Jr. — accepted the recognition before a crowd packed with notable guests, including Mayor DeBlasio, Borough President Adams, his predecessor Marty Markowitz, and financial journalist Maria Bartiromo, who grew up in Dyker Heights.

The book lender’s 21st gala also featured a performance by an alum of the Broadway smash “Hamilton,” Anthony Ramos, who went on to star in the Netflix series “She’s Gotta Have It” that Fort Greene native Spike Lee created based on his beloved Brooklyn-set film.

The impressive fund-raising haul came amid several ongoing projects at libraries across Kings County, which include renovations at branches in Fort Greene and on the Park Slope–Boerum Hill border; moving a Crown Heights branch into the nearby Brooklyn Children’s Museum; building a new home for the Brooklyn Heights branch; and a massive overhaul of the Central branch in Prospect Heights.

But the funds raised at the event won’t go towards any of those endeavors, according to a spokeswoman, who said the money instead will be used to pay for other programs and services such as teen internships and citizenship classes at branches throughout the borough.

Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718) 260–4577 or by e-mail at Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.
Updated 5:45 pm, July 9, 2018
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