About Us

Brooklyn Lifelong Learning (BLL) is an independent, 501(c)(3) nonprofit program on the campus of Brooklyn College. We foster peer learning among adults through non-credit classes, seminars and cultural activities designed and conducted by members and volunteers in an informal, noncompetitive and intellectually stimulating environment. We are one of the oldest lifelong learning programs in the United States and continue to adhere to our basic concept — to create, adapt and maintain an academically oriented, campus-based lifelong learning program run by adults for adults.

In addition to our regularly scheduled courses on numerous subjects, we offer lectures, performances, art exhibitions, and trips to places of historical and cultural interest. BLL caters to every interest and is a vital force in the lives of our members.

Although we are independent of Brooklyn College, we owe it a debt of gratitude for giving us a home, providing us with offices, meeting rooms, classrooms, services, use of the fine library and other campus resources.  We would not be able to exist without the support of the college.

BLL, founded as The Brooklyn College Institute for Retirees in Pursuit of Education (IRPE) in 1977 under the leadership of Violet D. Klein, its first president, began with a membership of 150 and only a few course offerings.  From the beginning, Dr. Leslie Jacobson, Vi Klein and her group laid down certain basic principles that would guide the new organization to which we still adhere. 

  1. The institute is self-governing and independent of Brooklyn College.
  2.  Policy is established by a Board of Directors and carried out by the president and officers. A number of committees assist in the formulation and execution of policy.
  3. Membership dues are kept as low as possible.
  4. All services are provided by volunteers. BLL has only two paid employees: its administrative assistants. With this exception, no worker receives payment of any kind.
  5. BLL is an academically oriented, campus-based learning center run by adults for adults to provide intellectual stimulation, information and recreational activities.
  6. BLL plays a social role in its participants' lives, centering on the commonality of intellectual and other interests.
  7. The curriculum emphasizes but is not restricted to academic learning. Courses cover a range of topics and interests.  BLL also conducts trips to places of historical and cultural interest.