From The Chair of the Board
There’s no doubt that 2013 was an extraordinary year for Queens Library. The disaster of Superstorm Sandy galvanized us. We mobilized in a way that made the whole city take notice.
The disaster showed the strength of our institution — and also of our exceptional staff. Front-line library workers volunteered at our locations to distribute donated supplies to those affected by the storm, and staffed the mobile library that began operating just days after the storm, offering comfort, information and conversation. Our support departments did everything from staying overnight to keep our IT nerve center running, to transporting generators to the blacked out Far Rockaway library. I fully believe that we have the best team in the world working for you at Queens Library.
Aside from our hard work in storm-ravaged communities, Queens Library has been pushing into the future and has been among the leading providers of free technology access, free lifelong learning opportunities and so much more. Our renovated libraries are incorporating the best of modern design elements to cement our status as a 21st-century institution.
You all know that libraries are all about community. They are the place that is open to you, for enjoyment, for learning, for relaxation. We also know that communities need their libraries. We saw that was especially true in the wake of Superstorm Sandy, but it’s true every day. We are committed to expanding our programs and our offerings to give everyone in Queens—and New York City—the opportunities they need to thrive. Queens Library increased the number of programs it offered compared with last year.
We will continue to look forward and improve our services. Queens Library will not rest on its laurels. In 2014, we rolled out more bold new innovations. Why? Because we know we need to make the difference for so many people in our borough. The Board of Trustees and I will make sure it always will.
Jacqueline E. Arrington
Chair of the Board
From The President & CEO
2013 filled me with gratitude. Our City Council proved they were library champions and gave us the support we needed to keep every library open at least five days a week. While four of our libraries were destroyed as a result of Superstorm Sandy, we were able to get interim libraries open almost immediately and be of value to the community in unprecedented ways. Private donors stepped up to help replace damaged materials and supplement publicly-funded service hours to help the community recover from the emergency.
Queens Library forged new frontiers in lifelong learning and digital literacy in FY 2013, including advanced job training programs, and online skills-training courses that lead all the way up to advanced professional certifications.
Queens Library is also leading the way in computer tablet lending with Gov. Cuomo’s office. Google donated 5,000 tablets to be circulated. We initially received these devices for the areas affected by Sandy, such as the Rockaways, but they are available to any of our customers, loaded with our own proprietary Queens Library interface for the best experience with our resources.
Thanks to the strong support of our elected officials in city, state, county and federal offices, we have been able to continue a sweeping program of capital improvements. We broke ground on an expanded and much updated Queens Library at Kew Gardens Hills. We reopened Queens Library at Broad Channel just a few months after Sandy sent two feet of water surging through the building. We laid the final steel beam at Queens Library at Elmhurst, which will set a new standard for libraries when it is finished. We opened the brand-new Queens Library at Glen Oaks, a beautiful, award-winning building with skylit reading spaces, a high-tech children’s room, an elegant staircase and more.
We are proud of the value we add to the community, through the efforts of our talented and dedicated staff, and pledge to continue with renewed fervor in the year to come.
Thomas W. Galante
President & CEO