In the spring when Dennis Walcott was announced as the new head of the Queens Library system, the editorial staff was astounded at the breadth of his career in public service. We joked then that in March, we already knew who our person of the year would be.
Nine months later, at the beginning of December, it was no surprise when our publisher announced that Walcott would indeed be person of the year.
When he was a child, both of his parents worked for social services provided by the City. His father was an exterminator for New York City Housing Authority and his mother was a social worker for the City’s Human Resources Administration. The civic duty and social ideology his parents instilled in him are now the North Star by which he has guided his life and career.
Walcott’s ideals have always focused on community, family and children. He worked hard to make sure children had a good education and home while working as the executive director of the Harlem Dowling-West Side Center for Child and Family Services. He furthered his cause for education as Deputy Mayor of Education in Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s administration, and then made sure children were not lost in the bureaucracy of government as the city’s Schools’ Chancellor.
And now Walcott has found his home once again within the borough of Queens, pouring all of the talents he has developed into creating a library system that will educate, stimulate and care for the children, families and residents of the world’s borough.
His unwavering commitment to civic causes is an inspiration to us all.