BEDFORD-STUYVESANT — A historic Bed-Stuy library was honored on Wednesday after beating out more than 200 city branches to win a new award highlighting facilities that play a vital role in the community.
The Macon branch of the Brooklyn Public Library was one of five winners of the 2013 NYC Neighborhood Library Awards, a new prize rewarding "outstanding dedication to serving their communities," according to the Charles H. Revson Foundation.
With 4,310 nominations, judges for the Revson foundations narrowed the choices down to 10 libraries. Of those, five were chosen to win the $10,000 prize.
It reflects the level of service the library provides to the community, according to lilbrary supervisor Antonia Bramble. Macon offers arts and culture programs while also helping locals with tasks like updating their resumes and navigating benefit applications.
"As soon as we open up, we have an influx of people coming in," Bramble said. "We treat everyone as if they're our own."
Of particular note at Macon is the library's African American Heritage Center, which opened in 2008. The center houses books on black history and offers a program to help locals trace their geneology.
Built in 1907 and located in the newly-expanded Stuyvesant Heights Historic District, Macon is the 11th Andrew Carnegie-donated library in Brooklyn. The red brick building still features its original fireplaces, oak paneling, alcoves and wooden benches, according to the Brooklyn Public Library, and was the local branch for historical figures like Shirley Chisholm, Lena Horne and Eubie Blake.
"It's one of the most beautiful Carnegie libraries, maybe anywhere," Brooklyn Public Library President Linda E. Johnson said at Tuesday's presentation.
The library plans to use the money to expand the African American Heritage Center, buy more books and sponsor more programs, Bramble said.
"We have so much to offer," Bramble said.