BY JON CRONIN
The Queens Library Board of Trustees’ has selected former NYC Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott as the new President and CEO of the Queens Library, to take office on March 14.
Upon hearing of his appointment, Walcott said, “I look forward to working with all the fantastic, creative, dynamic staff and Friends and visiting every community library, meeting and listening to their ideas and participating in initiatives that make life better and richer for their neighborhoods. I have been a lifelong patron of the Queens Library and wholeheartedly believe in the mission of this great institution.”
Walcott has a long career in education. For the past six months he led a team of state appointed monitors in the East Ramapo school district in Rockland County, whose school board had been investigated for underfunding public schools. He also served for three years as NYC Schools Chancellor under Mayor Michael Bloomberg and for nine years as NYC Deputy Mayor of Education. Walcott also hold a bachelor’s and master’s degree in Education.
“At its core, the Queens Library exists to serve its educational purpose as a community hub of learning, literacy and culture for millions of families,” said Borough President Melinda Katz of the Queens Library Board of Trustees appointment and added, “Queens is grateful to the Board of Trustees for their dedication in convening an extensive search and selection process for the new President and CEO. I have full faith in the direction and future of the Library, and look forward to the great things to come under Dennis’ leadership.”
Interim CEO and President Bridget Quinn-Carey announced in early December that she would not pursue the position.
Quinn-Carey took over after Thomas Galante was ousted during an investigation for misappropriation of funds. Quinn-Carey removed her name from candidacy and stated, “It was my job to continue the great work of this distinguished institution during one of the Library’s most difficult times. I believe that I have not only succeeded in steadying the institution, but with the support of an extraordinary team, have significantly advanced the Library’s goals.
I am proud that I have helped to create a solid new foundation based on transparency and advocacy that will benefit millions of Library users for decades to come. While one can never say that their work for a constantly evolving and living institution like the Queens Library is ever complete, I am nevertheless satisfied with what we have achieved together and I have decided not to pursue the position of President and CEO. I will return to my role of Chief Operating Officer after the new CEO is appointed.”
City Council Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside), Chair of Cultural Affairs and Libraries Committee and former Chief External Affairs Officer of the Queens Public Library, released the following statement on Mr. Walcott’s appointment:
“I congratulate Dennis Walcott on his appointment as CEO of the Queens Library. As the Chair of the Council’s Cultural Affairs and Libraries Committee, former Chief External Affairs Officer of the Queens Library, and a person whose early life was shaped by access to its Broadway Library in Astoria, I’m glad that the Library has chosen a proud Queens resident to lead the institution with a steady hand. Mr. Walcott brings to the Queens Library not only the skills gained over an impressive career as the Deputy Mayor for Education and Schools Chancellor, but also his deep personal love for our borough’s library system.”
Van Bramer noted that he worked closely with Walcott’s wife when she was a member of the first board of the Friends of Cambria Heights Library and learned then how much Walcott cares for the institution.
Reach Reporter Jon Cronin at (718) 357-7400 x125, firstname.lastname@example.org or @JonathanSCronin