By Holly Kirkpatrick (Producer and Host of Rise’s podcast, LIFTED)

Thought NYC’s underground was all subways, sewers, and adolescent turtles with ninja skills? Think again dude.

Calling all bibliophiles, library lovers, or people who simply like hearing real-life stories, this is the podcast for you. Borrowed is a brand new show by Brooklyn Public Library and tells stories that start at the library and end up somewhere else.

Library employees Krissa Corbett Cavouras and Felice Belle are our storytellers, and in episode one they guide us through the inner workings of the libraries of NYC. We lend an ear to the sounds of the machinery that sorts the books, and learn how books travel all over the NYC boroughs. And it’s surprisingly sophisticated: one machine sorts six books a second! Although this machine lives in a warehouse above ground, it feels as though we are learning about an underground world – something unseen yet inherent to the city – like the subway, or the sewer system and the ninja turtles that live there. (The theme song is now in your head and I’m not sorry.)

The latest episode does in fact start below ground. It takes listeners from a tiny basement in the Central branch of the library to Greenpoint and the story of a disastrous oil spill. As a resident of a city that has experienced the environmental impact of a once thriving industrial waterway, it’s interesting to hear Brooklynites’ accounts of their waterfront area in dirtier times, and how the cleanup is still happening today. 

The fact that the library is the starting point for such stories demonstrates their integral role in preserving the history of their communities. And this podcast is an excellent way to get some of those fascinating stories heard. 

Borrowed is produced by Virginia Marshall.

Have a podcast you’ve been loving and we haven’t yet covered in our “Listen Up” series? Tell us about it!

Season 2 of LIFTED is coming soon. Get those earbuds ready.