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Something Blue, Something Borrowed
Rendering: Courtesy of Brooklyn Public Library

There’s a beautiful new sculpture inside the Brooklyn Heights Library

"Something Borrowed, Something Blue" pays homage to the library it calls home.

Anna Rahmanan
Written by
Anna Rahmanan

A striking new permanent work of art by Jean Shin will be unveiled inside the Brooklyn Heights Library on February 27. 

"Something Borrowed, Something Blue" won't just add visual appeal to the literary space at 286 Cadman Plaza West but actually imbue the destination with meaning.

In fact, the artist's latest sculpture looks like a gravity-defying inverted tree whose contours form the map of Brooklyn.

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More specifically, each "leaf" symbolizes an area zip code and, according to an official press release, a neighborhood where Brooklyn Public Library has its local branches. You might even notice that each leaf is inscribed with the title of the most circulated book of its respective branch location. 

There’s more: the artist asked librarians and patrons to be part and parcel of the new piece by donating worn jeans and old technology (think headphones, chargers, CDs and more) to be used in the actual construction of her project.

"The canopy of leaves in the sculpture is made with denim-wrapped metal and light components," explains the press release. "Electric cords wrapped in long strips of blue denim jeans and other deconstructed clothing are coiled with old electronic wires to form the tree’s root structure, trunk and limbs."

"Something Borrowed, Something Blue" obviously functions as a metaphor, highlighting the importance of libraries all around the world as “vital ecosystems of knowledge,” especially during the current period we’re living through, with conversations about censorship at the center of many cultural pursuits.

The installation of the artwork will bring to completion the debut of this latest branch of the Brooklyn Public Library, the second largest in the system after Central Library, which functions as the organization's headquarters. 

As a reminder, the opening of the modern-looking 26,000-square-foot location was actually part of a redevelopment project that the library system had undertaken alongside the New York City Economic Development Corporation. 

To put it simply, the two parties were able to leverage funds from a land sale to generate $52 million in revenue for the Brooklyn Public Library, $40 million of which were then distributed to fund repairs and lead improvements across all branches. The additional $12 million were used to build the interior of the new Brooklyn Heights Library. 

The money was clearly well spent.

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