I have had the honor of serving the Queens Borough Public Library for more than ten years. While I sit on the Boards of other community organizations, all of which are worthy uses of my time, I don’t know of any other institution whose resources are so well-used across every social group, ethnic group, neighborhood, age group or ability. There is not a single individual in Queens, or anywhere else in this City, who cannot derive benefit from the Queens Borough Public Library.
The staff is incomparable. In the past year, they faced challenge after challenge, difficulty after difficulty, and still continued to deliver a level of customer service that was unmatched. They served 16.3 million visitors and circulated 16.8 million items (the largest circulation in the U.S.)!
My fellow trustees are unshakable. In a year when it was difficult to imagine the sun would ever shine again, they managed to look far into the future, making long-range plans for the growth and maintenance of one of Queens’ most valuable assets, its public libraries.
There is a tendency to take our public libraries for granted, and to assume that they will always be there for us. Nothing could be further from the truth. In most parts of the world, people simply don’t have free access to all the world’s knowledge, just for the asking, like we do in our Queens Libraries. I firmly believe that there isn’t another publicly funded agency that gives the taxpayers as much bang for the buck.
If you believe, as I do, that free access to knowledge is a right as basic as any other we enjoy, then prove it: use your public library often. Write to your legislators and urge them to vote for adequate library funding. Join the Friends of the Queens Library (phone 718-990-8585). You’ve got the world’s best library system, right on your doorstep. Queens Library is an asset worth protecting.