BY JACKIE STRAWBRIDGE
Three Queens libraries are in the running to receive a $20,000 cash prize.
The Sunnyside, Cambria Heights and Langston Hughes (Corona) Queens Library branches are three of 10 finalists in the second NYC Neighborhood Library Awards, co-sponsored by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation and the Charles H. Revson Foundation.
According to Revson Foundation president Julie Sandorf, these awards are meant to address under-funding of libraries, and to draw attention to their importance for many City residents.
“The awards were basically set up to allow New Yorkers to tell us what they loved about their libraries,” Sandorf said. “What you should note is that this isn’t just voting – people write stories.”
Sandorf said she read 1,000 personal branch nominations over the course of her last winter vacation, from seniors who socialize at the library, parents who educate their kids there and immigrant New Yorkers who use cultural resources, among many others.
Both the Langston Hughes and Sunnyside branches were nominated due to their cultural programming and abilities to serve a diverse community. The Cambria Heights library’s youth outreach and engagement distinguished it among nominated libraries.
“We really serve the entire population, and when you visit the branch, you can see that at any point, children, teens, adults, all using the space.” Denise Concoran, director of community library services at Cambria Heights, said. “The staff there works so hard to serve the community. It’s so nice that the community recognizes that,”
“In Queens especially, where 170 languages are spoken, the libraries are a virtual lifeline to immigrants and children of immigrants,” Sandorf noted.
The five winning branches will be announced in May. At least one branch from each of the three library systems – Queens, Brooklyn and New York – will receive an award.
Reach Jackie Strawbridge at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 128, email@example.com or @JNStrawbridge.