Bed-Stuy Librarian Named ‘Health Hero’ For Pandemic Response

BED-STUY, BROOKLYN – A local librarian who was one of the first to move outside services in the early days of the coronavirus crisis has been named a Health Hero, the only library staff to be included in the award.

Nicole Bryan, the senior librarian at the Macon Library branch, was one of 25 New Yorkers to be dubbed the Empire Whole Health Heroes, an award recognizing leadership in reopening New York City after the pandemic.

Bryan, who took over the management of the library in January 2020, was recognized for turning around quickly during the pandemic to help the neighbors by setting up outdoor and online programs.

“In her role as Macon Library Branch Manager, Nicole is a transformative visionary!” said regional librarian LaMeane Isaac. “She is able to combine traditional library services with innovative service approaches to meet the needs of the Bedford Stuyvesant community residents who she and their staff serve.”

The Empire Whole Health Hero Award is presented by Empire BlueCross BlueShield and Crain’s New York Business. Founded last year, it recognizes, according to the organizers, leaders who are committed to the safety and wellbeing of New Yorkers, particularly in relation to the revitalization and reopening of New York City.

This year’s winners include executives from the American Museum of Natural History, City Winery, NYC Hospitality Alliance, and more. The awards recognize indispensable workers and people in the economy or in the healthcare sector.

In her role as library manager, Bryan arranged for the road to be cordoned off in front of the Macon branch in May 2020 to set up an outdoor library before many other companies or community centers decided to move outside.

Then she helped organize a skate party in front of the library – complete with a DJ and performers – with the aim of helping neighbors fill out the census, officials said.

“Nicole is a leader in the Brooklyn Public Library and the community,” said Nick Higgins, chief librarian for the BPL. “Her care and attention to people’s needs in everything she does inspires us all to do our best every day.”

Bryan has been with the Brooklyn Public Library since 2015.

See a full list of Empire Whole Health Heruh here.

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