Library Journal

Bard and Brooklyn Public Library Partner for Microcollege

The Brooklyn Public Library building against a bright blue sky.Bard College, a private liberal arts college in Annandale-on-Hudson, NY, and Brooklyn Public Library (BPL) have partnered to launch a “microcollege”—an innovative undergraduate program for nontraditional students—at BPL’s Central Library in Prospect Heights. Bard at Brooklyn Public Library is designed to give the experience of attending a small, high-quality liberal arts college to students who have confronted barriers to continuing their education such as poverty, homelessness, foster care, and incarceration. The two-year program will culminate in an associate’s degree.

Classes will kick off on January 16 with an initial cohort of 18 students. Bard faculty and outside instructors will teach seminars representing a broad arts and sciences curriculum, including lab sciences and remedial to advanced mathematics, with a focus on reading critically and writing effectively.

The program will be funded by a $450,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, secured by BPL, as well as additional money raised by both Bard and BPL. Most students will have the bulk of their costs covered by Pell Grants. For those who don’t qualify for Pells, BPL has additional funding from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, but the program will be free for all students. Costs to Bard and BPL will be significantly lowered by holding classes at the library.

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