Strategic Direction: Books and Reading
Books and reading are at the core of public library service. The Queens Library celebrates the legacy of the printed word by fostering and promoting the understanding of the vital role of books, reading, libraries and literacy in society.
- Queens Library purchased 871,900 new library items in FY ’01, including best sellers, classic literature, homework help materials, how-to books (especially on computer use!) and more. Many replaced outdated reference books and popularly-used materials that were worn out from heavy use.
- Library representatives traveled the globe to purchase materials in languages other than English, to the Hong Kong Book Fair, the Guadalajara Book Fair and other international venues. The results were books for Queens Library customers at a 40-50% discount, as well as a larger selection and better quality.
- Special start-up collections of Spanish-language books appropriate to teens, their age and interests were placed at 18 branches.
- More computer books in Spanish were added to Central Library’s Cyber Center collection, in response to the heavy demand.
- Queens Library added the first e-books to its collections in FY ’01. E-books (short for “electronic books”) are full-text versions of books that can be read on a display screen, such as a computer monitor, instead of printed on paper. Available through the library’s web site from any Internet-connected computer, they can be accessed around the clock, seven days a week. At the time of their introduction, Queens Library made 4,000 titles available. E-books in languages other than English are expected to become available in FY ’02.
- A book discussion series for Chinese speakers was presented by the International Resource Center at the Flushing Library. Among the featured authors was Gao Xingjian, winner of the 2000 Nobel Prize in Literature.
- A symposium in February, 2000 was organized in conjunction with the exhibit in the Queens Library Gallery, Visible Traces: Rare Books and Special Collections from the National Library of China. Through a partnership with Princeton University East Asian Library, the symposium papers will be published early in FY ’02.
- More than 13,000 books were circulated to the homebound via the mail, while an additional 2,200 large print books were circulated to nursing homes.
- The Adult Learner Program saw a 50% increase in literacy students, who came to gain basic reading and writing skills. Facing illiteracy as an adult takes extraordinary courage and commitment. It also takes extraordinary trust in the library as a friend.
- A resource collection for teachers was established at Central Library, as well as collections aimed at students preparing for standardized performance tests.
- The Gladys Krieble Dalmas Grant enabled Queens Library to present a series of programs with the theme “Writing American: Literature, Memory and Diversity.” Writing workshops and author talks focused on Hispanic-American Heritage Month and the Asian Lunar New Year.
- The Chapter-A-Day Book Club encourages those who think they don’t have time to read by e-mailing a five-minute excerpt from a pre-selected book on a daily basis. Library customers can sign up through the Queens Library web site.