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54 EpisodesProduced by Brooklyn Public LibraryWebsite

Brooklyn has so many stories to tell, and a lot of them start at the library. Every other week, “Borrowed” brings you stories that start here and take you somewhere new. We're talking to people starting businesses, finding their roots, playing Dungeons & Dragons, creating community—and of course, bo… read more

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Goodbye to All Fines

December 21st, 2021


On October 5th, 2021, all three public library systems in New York City eliminated late fines. The change was 125 years in the making, and it made us think: why did public libraries start charging late fines in the …

Happy Birthday, BPL!

November 30th, 2021


In this season of Borrowed, we’ll take a look at what the library was like 125 years ago, the radical ideas that founded public libraries across the country, as well as our missteps along the way. 

Building Brooklyn: We've Been Here Before

October 27th, 2021


The story of Canarsie in reverse, from the racial unrest in the 1990s, to the anti-integration school boycotts in the 1960s, the community of …

Building Brooklyn: Finntown

October 20th, 2021


In the early 1900s, if you walked around Sunset Park, you might have heard Finnish being spoken on the streets. That's because the neighborhood was home to the largest concentration of Finns in New York City, and though …

Building Brooklyn: Eighth Avenue

October 13th, 2021


Brooklyn is constantly changing. This episode takes a look at the changes on just one street in one neighborhood: Eighth Avenue in Sunset Park, which many call Brooklyn's Chinatown. In the early 1990s, BPL and the …

Building Brooklyn: Women on the Waterfront

October 6th, 2021


At the start of World War II, 200 women were employed at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. That number ballooned to 7,000 at the height of the war, but afterward—women workers were gone as rapidly as they appeared. We tell the …

Building Brooklyn: Like Coming Home

September 29th, 2021


In the middle of the 20th century, a ten square block area in North Gowanus was home to the largest Mohawk settlement outside of Canada. We hear about the Mohawk women who built that community while their husbands and …

Building Brooklyn: From Gowanus to Canarsie

August 31st, 2021


We're launching a mini-series about four neighborhoods that made Brooklyn the vibrant, diverse borough it is today! “Building Brooklyn” will take you to Gowanus, the Navy Yard, Sunset Park, and Canarsie to discover some …

New Yorkers: Rank Your Vote!

May 27th, 2021


It’s the start of summer, which means block parties, beach trips, and also, big primary elections here in New York City. This will be the city's first election cycle where voters will get to cast their votes for up to …

That All May Participate

April 7th, 2021


"To me, what all these books say is independence and personal choice," says Nefertiti Matos of the stacks of Braille books at NYPL's Andrew Heiskell Library. In this episode, we talk about what inclusion means, whether …

Good News

March 24th, 2021


It’s been a rough year. So, we gathered all the good news we could find to brighten your podcast feed. Hear kids read to a therapy dog, a library …

Education For All

March 12th, 2021


Ingrid Douglas never finished high school as a teenager. When she started looking for a better job at age sixty, she found not having a degree was a …

Rekindling from Burnout

February 25th, 2021


Burnout from work is something a lot of us are thinking about right now. It's been on the minds of librarians, too. We talk to a group of library workers who got together to combat the stress of the profession, and …

Hear Me Out: Part Two

February 10th, 2021


Hear me out: A Vietnamese refugee opens a restaurant to keep her kids out of gangs, Brooklynites on their changing borough, a daughter seeks justice after her father's death from COVID-19, giving birth during a …

Hear Me Out: Part One

February 3rd, 2021


Hear me out: a Bed-Stuy kid grapples with her Brooklyn identity, a Chassidic woman follows her faith to from South Africa to Crown Heights, …

Showing Up

January 20th, 2021


Our work in the correctional facilities in New York City didn't stop during the pandemic. We talked with the Justice Initiatives team at BPL to hear how they are connecting with patrons who are incarcerated and …

Secret Lives of Librarians

January 6th, 2021


What do librarians do all day? When they're not planning programs or working the reference desk, these librarians are also obscure trivia players, birders and ... sword fighters!

Storytime Anytime

December 21st, 2020


"We want all the kids to see themselves in all the stories," says Raakhee Mirchandani, author of Super Satya Saves the Day. This episode, we hear …

Missing Them

December 10th, 2020


A special episode, created in partnership with Queens Memory and the online newspaper The CITY, on grief and mourning during the COVID-19 pandemic, and how we can move forward as a community.

On Passing

November 18th, 2020


Belle da Costa Greene and Nella Larsen are two librarians of color, one who is white passing, and the other of mixed heritage who wrote famously …

Votes for Women

October 30th, 2020


To honor the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, we take a trip to Green-Wood cemetery to the grave of Sarah Smith Garnet, one of Brooklyn's Black women suffragists. We also talk with NYC Council Member Farrah …

From Montgomery to East New York

October 26th, 2020


We dig into the history of a once-unacknowledged African burial ground in East New York, Brooklyn, and ask how a new library branch can honor that legacy. 

Marching Onward

October 14th, 2020


From Selma, Alabama to Brooklyn, New York — we look at how racial violence and racial memory impacts our country and our libraries. 

Reopening, Reimagining

September 30th, 2020


You can physically borrow books again, Brooklyn! This episode, we ask how the pandemic can help us re-imagine what we use libraries for. Plus, we talk to LA County Library about how extreme weather is impacting their …

Your Friendly Neighborhood Fridge

August 7th, 2020


Since our libraries were closed for the last four months, we were on the lookout for organizations that were acting in the spirit of public libraries. We found one! Listen to an audio portrait of the food justice …

Rebroadcast: Free Brooklyn

June 25th, 2020


In honor of Juneteenth 2020, the anniversary of the day in 1865 when the news was finally delivered to Galveston, Texas that slavery in the United …

Stories from the Pandemic

June 3rd, 2020


In an unprecedented time of stress and resilience, many Brooklynites are at the front lines of responding to the coronavirus crisis, and many more are encountering a new normal, as we adjust to changing work, education, …

A Folklorist for the Seven Million

May 13th, 2020


In 1943, Brooklyn Public Library launched its first radio program, in partnership with WNYC. “Folk Songs for the Seven Million,” written and …

In Fifty Years

April 22nd, 2020


Earth Day is here, but a lot of us are inside. On this episode of Borrowed, we gather sounds of the natural world from the stoops and parks of Brooklyn, and we look back at the first Earth Day fifty years ago, and ask …

Get Counted

April 1st, 2020


The census doesn’t just distribute representatives in congress and billions of dollars in federal funds—it determines city bus routes, how many …

Social Distancing? We're Here For You!

March 17th, 2020


Working from home? Kids at home? The library is here for you! We’ve got virtual resources galore to help you keep a healthy social distance during the coronavirus outbreak.    Check out eBooks & Audiobooks:

Three Brooklyn Stories

March 3rd, 2020


Listen to three Brooklynites talk about their personal connections to places across the borough. We’ll hear from a Walt Whitman scholar at the base …

Stroller Parking

February 18th, 2020


If you’re a kid or if you take care of a kid, chances are you use the library a lot. Listen in on some creative ways that libraries are engaging with children and their caregivers, from writing workshops just for …

Borrowed, Live!

February 4th, 2020


For our first ever live show, we went back to the basics and talked about books! Listen to our librarians as they match audience members to books on the spot, reveal what, in fact, is the real …

Carnegie's Legacy

January 23rd, 2020


Andrew Carnegie has a classic rags-to-riches story: an immigrant turned steel magnate who financed the construction of over 2,500 public library buildings worldwide, including 21 in Brooklyn. But, his business and …

Librarians, Live!

January 21st, 2020


We’re getting in your ears to tell you about our first ever live recording of Borrowed! It’s free, at 5pm on Sunday, January 26 at Union Hall, as a part of Brooklyn Podcast Festival (event details here:

Plunging into the New Year

January 1st, 2020


To ring in the new year, take a dive into the stories of the Coney Island Polar Bear Club. We hear from voices from across New York City—a cop …

Blocks and Brownstones

December 24th, 2019


Perhaps Brooklyn’s most iconic neighborhood is Bedford-Stuyvesant. The tree-lined streets and grand brownstones have been here for over 150 years, while the Brooklynites who call those brownstones home are constantly …

Our Garbage, Ourselves

December 10th, 2019


At the edge of Brooklyn, there’s a beach covered with glass bottles, nylon stockings, rusting kitchen appliances, and decaying batteries. The trash didn’t float here, though. It’s eroding from a poorly-covered …

Throwing It Out

November 26th, 2019


We're talking trash at the library today. Specifically, the story of a 3,000-ton garbage barge that made a scene in Brooklyn in the 1980s… and, we …

Free Brooklyn

November 12th, 2019


Four hundred years later, this country has yet to reckon with the legacy of slavery. And that is no less true for Brooklyn. This episode, we’re taking a cue from The 1619 Project and telling important stories about the …

Getting Home

October 29th, 2019


It’s not an uncommon experience to be unstably housed in this country. From Brooklyn to San Francisco, communities often turn to public libraries for valuable information, social services and for a safe and comfortable …

Check This Out

October 15th, 2019


Libraries are truly amazing no matter where you go. This season on Borrowed, we’re going to celebrate that, and bring you stories that challenge …

New Americans

July 16th, 2019


Immigration is a pressing topic in our political landscape right now, with concerns about ICE raids and immigration bans. In this episode, we listen …

A Writer Grows in Brooklyn

July 2nd, 2019


There’s something about Brooklyn that makes you want to write. “Everything is alive here,” says poet Mahogany L. Browne. And thank goodness we have writers to capture that. In this episode, we share an interview with …

Teens Take Over

June 18th, 2019


Kairi Hollon tried to go to the library when he was a teenager in Brooklyn in the 1980s, but he kept getting kicked out. Years later, he came back to …

Work in Progress

June 4th, 2019


From “the most expensive pigeon roost in the world” to one of the world’s most unique libraries, Brooklyn’s Central Library has many stories to tell. We’ll dive into the history of Central Library, and bring you stories …

For Kids' Sake

May 21st, 2019


It turns out that libraries weren’t always so friendly toward children. That started to change around the turn of the 20th century, thanks to a librarian who is pretty much unknown today. We're taking a field trip to a …

Weathering the Storm

May 7th, 2019


Sometimes, in the wake of natural disasters, the library becomes an information center, a shelter and a community space. We travel to Coney Island, Red Hook, and Puerto Rico to learn about how neighbors come together …

Across the Reference Desk

April 23rd, 2019


Online search engines are basically universal, so questions at the library reference desk are changing. We follow the story of one question, “I want …

Something to Offend Everyone

April 9th, 2019


“A truly great library contains something in it to offend everyone.” So goes the quote from librarian Jo Godwin. From Dr. Seuss to kosher books to …

Oil Spills and Moldy Paper

March 26th, 2019


Preserving history is about more than battling mold and disintegration. We took a trip to Greenpoint, Brooklyn to learn about how an environmental …

Books Are Not Dead

March 12th, 2019


Books on conveyor belts, book vacuums and books in the mail. This episode of “Borrowed” will take you behind the scenes to see how books travel around the boroughs, from Long Island City to Bensonhurst to your bedside …

Introducing 'Borrowed'

February 21st, 2019


Brooklyn has so many stories to tell, and a lot of them start at the library. Every other week, “Borrowed” brings you stories that start here and take you somewhere new. Brought to you by Brooklyn Public Library. Our …

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