The Charles H. Revson Foundation announced today on the Brian Lehrer Show the 10 finalists for the first-ever NYC Neighborhood Library Awards, which celebrate the crucial role of local libraries in serving New York City’s diverse communities. The Awards –the first of their kind to honor individual branch libraries – generated 4,310 nominations from New Yorkers.The remarkable response underscores how much city residents cherish their neighborhood libraries as a welcoming, safe community space, an essential resource for reading materials as well as Internet access, a provider of a wide variety of programs and events, and a gateway to American culture.
“These nominations reveal the passion that New Yorkers have for their neighborhood libraries,” said Julie Sandorf, President of the Charles H. Revson Foundation.“Our libraries promote and reflect the promise of our city – evening the playing field for millions of New Yorkers who seek self-improvement.”
From May 20th to July 1st, New Yorkers submitted nominations through the websites of the Brooklyn Public Library; the New York Public Library, which operates neighborhood libraries in the Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island; and the Queens Library. WNYC’s Brian Lehrer Show, the Foundation’s media partner in this initiative, provided vital radio and online coverage, helping to build awareness of the Awards and the nomination process.
The10 finalists are now being reviewed by a panel of judges, who will decide which five will win the NYC Neighborhood Library Award and $10,000 each. The other five will each win a secondary prize of $5,000. The judges are: R.L. Stine, author of the renowned Goosebumps series; Kurt Andersen, author and host of WNYC’s Studio 360; Carla Hayden,CEO of the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore and former president of the American Library Association; Fatima Shama, NYC Commissioner of Immigrant Affairs; and Don Weisberg, President of the Penguin Young Readers Group. The 10finalists, accompanied by excerpts from nominations, are:
- Aguilar Library – East Harlem South (Manhattan) – “This library is an incredible resource for our family. It’s our weekly tradition to stop by and spend time browsing through the different titles. We can’t afford to buy books so this branch has become a wonderful destination.”
- Corona Library – North Corona (Queens) – “There is a line around the corner of neighborhood residents before the branch opens! People use it for ESOL, homework help after school, internet access, and of course access to books. It is a trusted and safe place where all folks regardless of socio-economic or ethnic backgrounds can come.”
- Kings Bay Library – Sheepshead Bay/Gerritsen Beach/Manhattan Beach (Brooklyn) – “I remember needing help with my resume and two of the employees went out and beyond to help me have the best resume I needed for employment. Well the following week I was hired at St. Lukes Hospital for an L.P.N. position. I am currently attending Kingsborough College and always come back to Kings Bay Library if I need help for anything.”
- Macon Library – Bedford-Stuyvesant/Stuyvesant Heights (Brooklyn) – “I have found this library as a safe haven and opportunity to know more about my roots. The African American Heritage Center is amazing and I feel like I’ve discovered a part of myself here.”
- New Dorp Library – New Dorp/Midland Beach (Staten Island) – “When we came to this country, my elder daughter was 4 years old. During her first years of school, her reading level was very low. Now my daughter is in fourth grade. This year she was the super-reader of the school. If we didn’t have the library perhaps my daughter’s progress would not be the same.”
- Parkchester Library – Parkchester (the Bronx) – “My library creates a welcoming environment by making me feel like I’m at home. I go to the library almost everyday, due to I don’t have internet access at home. They always willing to help with a smile. The space is wonderful, they have something for everyone, a good place to read, and relax, job postings, classes to help with resumes…”
- Queens Village Library – Queens Village (Queens) – “I am homebound. Not only does Queens Village send me books but they have teleconfercing calls several times a week and Skype programs. The calls allow me to meet new people, socialize and they have lectures. The isolation of the homebound is no longer a problem for me.”
- Seward Park Library – Lower East Side (Manhattan) – “My father reads Chinese Newspaper everyday there. The rich collection in Chinese literacy helped him a lot when he first arrived in New York from Beijing. Many of my classmates from the library’s English classes have found better jobs, got citizenships or entered college after several terms’ training.”
- Sheepshead Bay Library – Sheepshead Bay (Brooklyn) – “Last fall I was able to overcome my psychological stress caused by Hurricane Sandy only thanks to Sheepshead Bay Library. Those workshops helped me to come back to myself and get back to my daily routines and reality as a human being.”
- Tremont Library – Claremont/Bathgate (the Bronx) – “I have been coming to this branch since the age of 12 and I am 54 years of age now, and have always felt welcomed. The librarian and staff go above and beyond to help the needs of patrons.”
Read the entire press release here.