“Study period–Between classes St. Francis College students crowd into the school library to bone up for tests, term papers and assignments. Students are kept busy working toward degrees in the sciences, arts and in business administration.”

-Nov 22, 1954, Brooklyn Public Library, Brooklyn Collection

Although the 1950s students in the picture above are more formally dressed and not checking Facebook on their laptops they seem to have a lot in common with students of today who also seek out the library to study, socialize or even sleep! One big difference however, is that the library they are studying in doesn’t exist anymore. In 1954 when this picture was taken, St. Francis College was located at 35 Butler Street (in present day Carroll Gardens). The library in the picture above was probably housed somewhere in this building.


St. Francis didn’t move to Remsen Street until 1963 when the school took over the site of the former Brooklyn Union Gas Company. Some alternate sites that had been considered over the years had been Nassau County and Ellis Island (deemed too risky for students to get to in hazardous weather)! The library was housed in the building below.

Union Gas Company Headquarters

Technical Services Librarian Renee Susman described the library of the 1980s as being a “gathering place for dynamic bibliofiles.” In 2004 the building was demolished for the construction of the Frank and Mary Macchiarola Academic Center which housed the library in the first 3 floors. This is the library we see today in the screenshot below from Google Streetview. Still a place for “dynamic bibliofiles” but now with ebooks and virtual reference help!


* Much of the information in this post and the Union Gas Company picture came from
Florentz, Christopher J., ed. St. Francis College: The First Hundred Years. Brooklyn: St. Francis College, 1984. Print.

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