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Format: 2018-05-25

Queens Library To Take Plastic Bags out of Circulation

2018-02-23

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

QUEENS LIBRARY TO TAKE PLASTIC BAGS OUT OF CIRCULATION
In an Effort to Protect the Environment and Redirect Spending, Queens Library Will End Practice of Distributing Free Plastic Bags to Customers

QUEENS, N.Y. _ Queens Library today announced it will stop offering plastic shopping bags to customers at all of its 65 locations on June 30, 2018, joining the growing number of retailers, cities, states, and countries that have worked to reduce the environmental impact of plastic bags.

"We appreciate that plastic bags are convenient, but the consequences of convenience are too great,” said Queens Library President and CEO Dennis M. Walcott. “Plastic bags harm the health of wildlife, humans and marine life, litter our streets, sidewalks, trees, parks, yards and beaches and are costly to produce."

The Library’s action comes as the Earth Day Network prepares to galvanize people around the world on April 22 to reduce plastic pollution, the focus of its 2018 campaign.

"Plastic bags are an environmental menace—littering our parks, despoiling our communities and clogging our waterways, all with the potential to strangle and poison wildlife," said Roger Downs, Conservation Director for the Sierra Club's Atlantic Chapter in New York. "We applaud the Queens Library’s decision to stop giving free plastic bags to customers and their vision to free New York’s environment from this persistent form of pollution.”

Queens Library started producing and distributing plastic bags more than 20 years ago as a convenience for customers and to increase recognition of the Library’s name.

Made of petroleum, plastic bags release toxins into the ground and water, can take hundreds of years to decompose, and in many cases are used only once. The Library currently gives away 1 million plastic bags each year, adding approximately 24 tons of plastic to the waste stream. The financial savings will be redirected to strengthen the Library’s collections, programs and services, beginning with increasing its electronic book collection.

“We are thrilled that the Queens Library is leading by example and joining a growing list of individuals, institutions, and retailers who have pledged to do the right thing by cutting plastic bag consumption,” said Marcia Bystryn, President of the New York League of Conservation Voters. “While we continue to push for statewide action on carryout bags from our leaders in Albany, the Queens Library will immediately make a huge difference by taking 24 tons of plastic out of the waste stream. This will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, litter, truck traffic, and most importantly, it will help encourage its millions of patrons to make a positive change in their own behavior to benefit the environment."

“We applaud Queens Library for taking meaningful action to safeguard our climate and communities at a time when the federal government is rolling back policies and practices that protect the environment,” said Eddie Bautista, Executive Director of the New York City Environmental Justice Alliance. “We need more organizations like the Library and leaders like Dennis Walcott at the local level to continue to counteract what’s happening in Washington.”

"I am proud that Queens Library is demonstrating environmental leadership by no longer offering plastic bags to customers,” said New York City Council Member Costa Constantinides, Chair of the Council's Environmental Protection Committee. "These disposable bags increase our reliance on fossil fuels and petroleum, release hazardous toxins into our wastewater, and are often found littering the streets. Ending their use will help our city reach our goal of reducing emissions 80 percent by 2050 and improve our environmental health. Thank you to Queens Library CEO Dennis Walcott for ensuring that Queens residents build sustainable habits and stop using disposable plastic bags.”

“Plastic bags are highly detrimental to the environment,” said New York City Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer, Chair of the Council’s Committee on Cultural Affairs, Libraries, and International Intergroup Relations. “I am really proud of Queens Library for taking this step and leading the way on this issue which will have a major impact in New York City. I look forward to other organizations following suit.”

The Library’s decision was also prompted by customers who have said they object to the practice of distributing free plastic bags, said President Walcott.

“We are grateful for their feedback and look forward to encouraging customers to bring reusable bags when they visit us and discussing what we can all do to be responsible stewards of the earth," President Walcott said. “Together we can ensure that public libraries remain the greenest way to read.”

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About Queens Library
Incorporated in 1907, Queens Library is an independent, non-profit public library system and one of three serving the City of New York. It consists of a Central Library and 61 community libraries that attract more than 11.2 million visitors each year. Queens Library is one of the highest circulating library systems in the nation and among the busiest in the world. Visit online at: http://www.queenslibrary.org.

About the New York League of Conservation Voters
NYLCV is the only statewide environmental organization in New York that fights for clean water, clean air, renewable energy and open space through political action. We’re non-partisan, pragmatic and effective. For more information, visit http://nylcv.org.

About the New York City Environmental Justice Alliance (NYC-EJA)
Founded in 1991, the New York City Environmental Justice Alliance (NYC-EJA) is a non-profit, 501(c)3 city-wide membership network linking grassroots organizations from low-income neighborhoods and communities of color in their struggle for environmental justice. NYC-EJA empowers its member organizations to advocate for improved environmental conditions and against inequitable environmental burdens through the coordination of campaigns designed to inform City and State policies. Through our efforts, member organizations coalesce around specific common issues that threaten the ability for low-income communities of color to thrive. For more information, visit http://www.nyc-eja.org.

About the Sierra Club
The Sierra Club is America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with more than 3 million members and supporters. In addition to helping people from all backgrounds explore nature and our outdoor heritage, the Sierra Club works to promote clean energy, safeguard the health of our communities, protect wildlife, and preserve our remaining wild places through grassroots activism, public education, lobbying, and legal action. For more information, visit www.sierraclub.org.

 

Contact: Elisabeth de Bourbon, Queens Library
edebourbon@queenslibrary.org 718-990-0704

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HOLIDAY CLOSING

2018-02-12

All Queens Library locations will be closed on Monday, February 19 for Presidents' Day.

Library materials can be returned 24/7 at more than 40 Queens Library locations and renewed by phone at 718-990-8508 or online.

Digital materials are available for download, even when we're closed—including thousands of free eBooks, audiobooks, eMagazines, songs, movies, and videos!

NYCitizenship Information Sessions

2018-02-05

Queens Library has partnered with the NYC Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs to bring you NYCitizenship, a program to assist New Yorkers along the path to citizenship.

Attend our upcoming information sessions to learn how to apply for citizenship easily; the benefits of becoming a citizen; and how to receive financial counseling.

Thursday, February 8
11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Queens Central Library

89-11 Merrick Blvd., Jamaica
718-990-0778

Tuesday, February 20
3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Jackson Heights Community Library

35-51 81st Street
718-899-2500

Woodside Library Reopens on Saturday

2018-01-30

Woodside Community Library will reopen on Saturday, February 3 at 10:00 am. Mobile library service will continue this Wednesday, January 31 and Friday, February 2. Thank you for your patience, and we look forward to welcoming you back. 

QL President Receives Lifetime Achievement Award

2018-01-30

Congratulations to Queens Library President and CEO Dennis M. Walcott, who received a “50 Over Fifty” Lifetime Achievement Award on January 29 from City & State New York!

City & State’s "50 Over Fifty" list honors some of the most distinguished public servants in New York City who have committed decades of their life to making our city a better place.

“People come through [the doors of Queens Library] and leave more informed,” President Walcott told City and State. “We provide a safe haven for individuals escaping the madness of the day or who need a place where they feel safe and comfortable, and that to me is what public service is about."