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Visit the Library

The Othmer Library is located at BHS’s main site at 128 Pierrepont Street.

The Othmer Library Reading Room will be closed Wednesday, December 25th  through Wednesday, January 1st. It will reopen again with regular research hours on Thursday, January 2nd.

It is open to the public Wednesday to Saturday from 1 to 5pm. As a Special Collections library, all BHS collections are non-circulating, which means they cannot be checked out or taken home.

Making An Appointment

No appointment is needed to view books, maps, atlases, and our image database. To view archival collections, you must request an appointment at least two days before your visit by emailing [email protected].

Please include the collection name and number (ARC.### or [year].###), and, if applicable, box numbers. You will receive an email confirmation once you are scheduled.

Several collections are stored offsite and require three weeks notice to use:

Packer Collegiate Institute records
Corporation Counsel records
Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church records
Bureau of Sewers records
Pierrepont family papers
First Unitarian Congregational Society of Brooklyn records

Preparing for your Visit

Here are some tips to help you prepare for your visit to the Othmer Library:

  • Our reading room is open to the public Wednesday to Saturday from 1 to 5pm. You may come and go at any point during the afternoon.
  • Admission to the library is included with suggested museum admission. For upcoming closures, directions, and suggested admission rates, see the Visit page.
  • When you arrive at BHS, please check in at the Admissions Desk on the first floor.
  • You will be asked to check your coats and bags. Keys to lockers are available at no charge at the Admissions Desk. We have small lockers ( 17” x 12” x 11”) available, as well as four tall lockers (17” x 12” x 33”).
  • You can use pencils, notepads, laptops, or tablets during your research at BHS.
  • You must leave pens, food, drink, and gum in your checked bag.
  • It is cold in our library, so bring an extra layer to keep warm!
  • Free Wi-Fi is available.
  • There are a limited number of electrical outlets in our historic reading room.

Cameras in the Reading Room

BHS allows photography of collection materials for research purposes. BHS also allows visitors to photograph the reading room.

  • Hand-held, still photography cameras and cell phone cameras only.
  • Flash is not permitted.
  • Tripods, chairs, stools, ladders, or similar devices are not permitted.
  • Manuscripts, maps, broadsides, and other single sheets must be kept flat on the table while being photographed.
  • Books, bound manuscripts, and other bound materials must be photographed while in a cradle.
  • Please respect the privacy of other researchers and museum visitors, and do not include them in your photographs.

Photocopies

Under limited circumstances, library staff will provide on-site photocopies of materials for researchers.

  • Staff will assess whether or not photocopying will damage the materials in question. We reserve the right to refuse to photocopy certain collections.
  • Photocopies cost fifty cents per page.
  • Large orders may not be fulfilled the same day they are requested.This service is not currently available for off-site researchers.

Contact Information

For additional information or questions, please contact library staff.