The Broome County Public Library opened in October 1904. Originally called the Binghamton Public Library, it was created with a gift of $75,000 from Andrew Carnegie. The building was designed to serve as both a public library and a community center. On the first floor was a collection of 14,000 books and the second floor housed the library’s auditorium, the Binghamton Museum of Fine Arts (now part of Roberson Museum) and the Broome County Historical Society
In 2000, the library opened in a modern building at its current location of 185 Court St. The new building went back to its original roots as not only a library, but a community center, offering all types of classes and meeting room space. Over 300,000 people visit the library each year to attend a meeting, check out a book or use a computer.
The computer lab was repurposed as the Creation Station and houses computers with digital photography software. There is also a sewing machine, a Cricut die cut machine. Classes in knitting and beading/jewelry making can be found in the Creation Station as well as yoga and drawing.
A library garden accentuates the property with an originally designed sculpture and gazebo as centerpieces. This gives patrons and community members a quiet place to contemplate or read during nice weather.
Broome County Public Library hosts poetry classes and beginning computer classes. These are taught by students and faculty from Binghamton University. BCPL partnered with SUNY Broome to bring the BIG READ to the community in early 2017. The featured book will be “The Things They Carried” by Timothy O’Brien. Mr. O’Brien will be coming to Binghamton to discuss his book and the Vietnam experience in March.
In 2012, Literacy Volunteers of Broome and Tioga Counties moved into the building to serve their students and teachers in a central location. This is a perfect union of literacy training and libraries. The group holds 3 classes per week in mathematics, reading and English conversation besides offering one-on-one tutoring for adult beginning readers.
The Friends of the Broome County Public Library hold 8 book sales a year and staff a Friends Gift Shop. The Gift Shop is chock full of toys, like Gumby and Pokey, and higher quality used books. The Friends are an integral part of the library and fund adult and children’s summer reading programs. They also purchase a whole host of other library equipment, shelving, books and databases.
Of course, none of this would be possible without a dedicated group of library trustees. They keep the library on target and functioning, creating policies and supporting the community. We are lucky to have such a great synergy with our partners, friends, community leaders and trustees.