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Macon Library Podcast Celebrates Bed-Stuy's Creative Pulse

Three librarians turned podcasters are spilling the tea on all things art, books and locals in their podcast.
Bed-Stuy Tea podcast hosts (L-R) Riann Roca, Peter Enzinna and Krishna Paul.

Using a small meeting room snuggled in the depths of the Macon Library in Bedford Stuyvesat, three librarians are spilling the tea on all things art, books and locals through a podcast called Bed-Stuy Tea

Librarians turned podcasters Peter Enzinna, Krishna Paul and Riann Roca noticed that their place of work was a revolving door of locals filled with meaningful ideas, thoughts and conversation about the community's rich culture. In order to highlight all of this, the three co-workers created a podcast last year to spotlight everyday Bed-Stuy residents who may not get the recognition they deserve for their contributions, explained Paul.

“[The podcast] started off as a way to connect with the resident artists in the area — the authors because we knew that this site had so much to offer,” said Paul. “A  lot of these authors and artists actually come into the library. They're checking out books, they're saying ‘hi,’ they're a part of our programs.”  

The podcast has hosted local authors, illustrators, and business owners like Lauren Wilkinson, author of "American Spy" and illustrator Jnéydé Williams, who created BPL’s Black American library card in 2021.  

Brooklyn Public Library’s senior audio producer, Virginia Marshall also helps to put the show together, which came to life in April 2023.   

BedStuy Tea, among other things, has been a bridge for residents to share their narrative in whatever stage of life, whether they just moved to the neighborhood or have been lifelong community members.

“You learn that the neighborhood is never any one story,” said Enzinna. “You know, people can tell stories that seem opposed, or, strange, but it's all part of the story of Bed Stuy. The story of Brooklyn, the story of New York.” 

For decades, the library has been a hub for neighbors to join together and access free resources including business workshops, free digital resources and interactive learning tools for kids. Bed-Stuy Tea is just one of the podcasts created by staff and patrons at BPL. In fact, the first podcast, "Borrowed," debuted in 2019 and has since published over 60-plus episodes. 

“People think the library is something stable. It's there for your needs, for your infant, for information for help with whatever challenge you might be going through,” said Enzinna. 

“But knowing that it's a living part of the community, just like restaurants, just like food, it's something that's part of everyone's life that's there and makes a difference for different people in different ways. And I think it's been amazing to see that highlighted through the podcast through the different guests."

As the podcast has gained popularity, audience members are casting their recommendations for special guests, an exciting development, Paul said.  

For their upcoming season titled "Á La Carte," the hosts will interview local restaurant owners and continue to open the discussion on the library’s importance for community building and initiatives.  

Bed-Stuy Tea and other podcasts at the Brooklyn Public Library are available to listeners on Apple Podcast, Spotify, Castbox and iHeartRadio. 

Brianna Robles

About the Author: Brianna Robles

Brianna Robles is a Brooklyn, NY based freelance writer and journalist specializing in sharing stories about mental health and spectacular women.
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