53rd Street Library: An Interview with Leib Klein

Student artwork in the halls
Student artwork in the halls

How many years have you been working at this site?

20+ years. I started off part-time, but then became a full-time librarian. I have also worked occasionally at the Avenue J location.

Entrance to Boropark 53rd Street
Entrance to Boro Park 53rd Street

What is the name of your site and where is it located?

It’s the Boro Park 53rd Street Library at the School of Lifelong Education. We’re located at 1273 53rd Street, Brooklyn, NY 11219. Contact us by phone at 718-871-6187 x30017.

What is the history of your site?

The School of Lifelong Education (SLE) Program was established in 1989. Associate and Bachelor degrees are offered.

For a brief period, the SLE moved to 45th Street, but then we returned to 53rd Street.

What is the neighborhood like?

This SLE site is on a centrally located thoroughfare on 13th Avenue named Boro Park. It is a transportation hub, with subways and buses nearby; it is also a major shopping area, renowned for unique clothing boutiques and fine, kosher dining. Some restaurants of note include a Kosher Chinese restaurant called China Glatt for sit-down dinners or events, and a popular Kosher cafe called Spoons.

What programs does your site support?

Programs include: Teacher Education; Special Ed; Psychology (Undergraduate & Graduate); and several Business Administration specialties; also, Judaic Studies.

What are the strengths of site’s collection?

The library has a comprehensive Psychology collection, as well as Education, Judaic Studies, a Holocaust collection, and general history.

What study spaces and other resources are available at library site?

There are 4 public computers; study space accommodates 16-18 patrons. Our room is a re-purposed classroom. It’s not too big, but it does get natural light and it’s a nice spot to work.

Librarian Leib Klein
Librarian Leib Klein in the stacks

Staff duties and responsibilities?

This library site, as well as several others, is managed by one on-site librarian, responsible for the full maintenance of daily operations.

I enjoy my work, and my favorite part is the contact with patrons, since I’m a people person. I prefer working with students and faculty over a job like a cataloger, who is in an office all day. I frequently answer questions about textbooks, using the databases, and help writing papers and citing sources.

What is interesting and unique about SLE site?

The halls and corridors outside the classrooms are adorned by paintings and other art, created by students displaying their talents and craft, taught by a uniquely gifted professor of art, Atara Grenadir. She has also held an exhibition of her students’ artwork at Avenue J this past spring.

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