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Visit the Library

The Othmer Library is located at the Center for Brooklyn History at 128 Pierrepont Street.

CBH is currently closed out of concern for the safety of visitors and staff during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. This page reflects policies that will be in place upon our reopening. To contact CBH library staff with research questions, e-mail [email protected].

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 (2014.019)
Brooklyn, N.Y., Department of Law, Corporation Counsel records (2013.015)
Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church records (2009.011)
Brooklyn, N.Y., Bureau of Sewers records (ARC 235)
Pierrepont family papers (ARC 236)
First Unitarian Congregational Society of Brooklyn records (ARC109)

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 CBH, 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 CBH.
  • 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

CBH allows photography of collection materials for research purposes. CBH 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.