BED-STUY, BROOKLYN — A Bed-Stuy librarian named a New York hero for her response during the coronavirus is getting national recognition for her commitment to the neighborhood.
Nicole Bryan, the head librarian at Macon Library, was chosen this week as one of the Library Journal’s “Movers and Shakers” for 2022.
The award brings national recognition to Bryan, who has also earned local “Health Hero” status for her work at the library. Taking over the Macon Library just months before the start of the pandemic, Bryan was among the first to begin serving neighbors outdoors, arranging to block off the street and setting up carts of books on the sidewalk.
“[Bryan] is a gift to the neighborhood and a clear representation of the best that our community has to offer,” Councilmember Chi Ossè said. “Nicole is an essential part of local learning and local democracy, and her home at Macon Library is a treasured gem for us all.”
Bryan is one of nine people chosen for the “Community Builders” category of the Journal’s awards, which recognized a total of 41 recipients this year.
Library Journal editors said this year’s local heroes are those who put the lessons of the pandemic front and center as the nation recovers.
“The class of 2022 is largely looking forward—not ignoring the ongoing toll and risks of the pandemic, but learning its lessons in self-care and care for others, and applying them to their future work, culture, and goals,” said Meredith Schwartz, editor-in-chief.
For Bryan, that recovery meant building on the outdoor library by arranging a block skating party aimed at getting neighbors to fill out their census and putting together a spooky Bed-Stuy-centered podcast for families who would typically visit the library for a theatrical show in Oct.
Brooklyn Public Library officials also noted Bryan’s commitment to getting to know neighbors by attending almost every community board meeting and getting to know local groups even amid the coronavirus crisis.
The librarian was also instrumental in creating a special edition library card celebrating Black American heritage, library officials said.
“Nicole Bryan’s work in the community, particularly as a partner to community engagement organizations such as Community Board 3 has and continues to be enthusiastic, thoughtful and mindful of the culture she inherited,” said TJ Wilson, a member of Community Board 3.
Bryan started with the Brooklyn Public Library in 2015.
“I feel honored and humbled by this experience,” said Bryan. “To be recognized for doing what I truly love is such an honor.”