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Annual Report 2004
Your Community Library
Queens Library is a world-class urban library system serving Queens through 63 community libraries dedicated to providing collections and information that reflect the diverse communities that it serves. Books and resources are available in the native languages of those communities, served by a friendly and knowledgeable staff. Queens Library is committed to enhancing service quality through innovation, physical environments, information technology and embracing the cultural and language diversity of its customers of all ages. Here are some of the ways:
Customers can borrow materials without waiting in long lines, more librarians are on the floor assisting customers, and customers have direct access to their library accounts by the implementation of the new CUSTOMER SERVICE MODEL. This includes self-service stations and reconfiguring and renovating interior spaces. Customers have more seating, fresher, cleaner buildings and an enhanced overall library experience.
- Customers no longer have to spend time on long lines. The new Customer Service Model has been completed at Lefferts, Lefrak City, Poppenhusen and Laurelton Branch libraries. This innovation includes no-waiting self-service stations. Planning was completed to extend the model in the coming year to Ridgewood, Corona, Court Square, Queensboro Hill, St. Albans, Broadway, Forest Hills, and Jackson Heights.The new service model will be implemented in all 63 locations and plans are being developed to enhance the new service model with automated equipment to pay fines/fees as well.
- Customers can now keep track of their computer accounts as a result of a desktop management system that was implemented in 2004. Extending this system in 2005 will also allow for customer scheduling of computer work stations and enhancements to meet customers’ printing needs.
- Customers can now receive notices regarding book reserve requests and overdue notices much quicker with automatic email notifications.
- Customers can now place electronic book reserve requests, from within the Library’s Online Catalog, instead of asking a librarian to place the reserve request for them.
- The next big change customers will see is a total overhaul of the library’s web presence. The effort initiated in Fiscal Year 2004 will result in a new dynamic and interactive world-class Information Portal which customers will be able to customize for their own languages and interests.
BOOKS and LITERACY are at the core of public library service. Keeping an eye on the blossoming Queens population, the library expanded its COLLECTIONS to include many new LANGUAGES. Our goal is to continue building collections in our customers’ predominant languages while serving the thousands who attend our literacy programs annually.
- Each day, Queens Library’s initiative to bring literacy and books to the growing community is realized in the participation of students from across the borough in the Adult Learners Program, which include basic reading and writing classes, as well as an English for Speakers of Other Languages component. During this fiscal year, 7,674 adults enrolled.
- In an effort to reach almost 20,000 third graders, Borough President Helen Marshall funded a series of Family Reading events to support literacy. Books will be provided to these children in the 2004/05 school year.
- Many telephone directories, high school yearbooks, business catalogs and newspapers published by Senior Citizen Centers are now available in the library’s catalog. Two new web links were added to the Library’s web site covering “Consumer Information” and a “Seniors” link to topics like long-term care, retirement, health, and travel and leisure.
- It is now easier for Chinese readers to search the library catalog on our Chinese language interface home page.
- Customers now have access to books and other library materials in 78 languages. New book collections were added in Thai and Tagalog, currently the largest collections in these two languages in any New York City library. Japanese books were extended to additional branches. With the addition of the Tibetan book collection this year at the International Resource Center, the Center now provides materials in 48 languages.
- Electronic newsletters are now sent to customers focusing on new books and programs in specific areas: Spanish and International, General (including Kids & Teens), Non-fiction, Romance, Mysteries and Seniors.
- A special grant allowed the Central Library to extend its interlibrary loan service to non-English reading inmates in New York State correctional institutions.
Expanded OUT-OF-SCHOOL TIME programs and activities for CHILDREN and TEENS will cultivate the readers and leaders of tomorrow. Enhanced programming covers all facilities – expanded spaces, adding more books of interest to young readers, and employing youth specialists to support young adult services.
- Thirty-seven branches offer After-School and/or Homework Assistance programs, serving more than 135,000 kids.
- Storage space was renovated to create a large Children’s Room in Poppenhusen. Construction is under way for a similar expansion for children at the Ridgewood Branch. Exterior construction is ongoing to build the new 14,000-square foot Children’s Library Discovery Center at Central Library. The needs of Queens’ teens also are being addressed with regard to space and technology by designing areas specifically for them in the Laurelton, Lefrak City and Ridgewood Branches.
- The Summer Reading Club, again supported this past year with a $50,000 grant from Newsday, served more than 19,000 children this summer. Program enhancements included online book reviews completed by kids on their own Summer Reading Club website giving participants ready access to book review information completed by other kids.
- The Laurelton Teen Empowerment Project received an award from the American Library Association acknowledging it as one of the five best in the “Excellence in Library Service to Young Adults” category. This highly successful program is being extended to the Pomonok Branch.
- Online Homework Help was extended to students, from the library or their homes, at the Arverne, Broad Channel, Far Rockaway, Peninsula and Seaside Branches.
- Internet safety for children was enhanced via a uniquely-engineered combination of software solutions that shields children from inappropriate content on the Internet. Our specialty website for kids – KidsLinQ™ – was enhanced with even more content and educational information.
Queens Library continues to move forward in providing SAFE, ATTRACTIVE and COMFORTABLE ENVIRONMENTS, from renovations of current facilities to the development of new branches.
- Our 2004 Building Capital Campaign secured a record $31 million to renovate and expand our libraries in the future, including $5 million towards a new 50,000-square foot Jackson Heights Library, $14.5 million to modernize and expand the Central Library, and dozens of major improvements in branches throughout the borough.
- The new 18,000-square foot Lefrak City Branch opened in August 2003 resulting in a facility two and one half times larger than the old space occupied since 1966 and includes the new self-service model.
- The Poppenhusen Branch kicked off its centennial year by reopening after a complete exterior renovation to its century-old historic architecture coupled with a complete renovation of the interior.
- Planning, design, and construction for new libraries and major renovations were ongoing throughout the year in Cambria Heights, Corona, Long Island City, and Ridgewood.
- Fire and life safety initiatives continued. Design was completed and installation was ongoing for new fire alarm systems at 13 libraries that were near completion at year-end.
- In Fiscal Year 2004, the Library has continued to move forward on 12 major projects for new heating/air conditioning systems, roof repairs, window and door replacements.
- Arverne Branch exterior renovation was completed with new sidewalks, fencing and site work, coupled with developing a program with the Arverne community to create a lawn and garden area adjacent to the branch for the community.
- Thousands of interior improvements and repairs were completed ranging from branch painting, sidewalks, new signage, security gates, new lighting, and more. (to the top)