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Format: 2016-10-25

Queens Library Makes Key Executive Appointments


JAMAICA, NY, May 16, 2016  -- Dennis M. Walcott, President and CEO, Queens Library has announced several key executive appointments. Nicolas Buron has been selected to be Chief Librarian and Senior Vice President. Kelvin A. Watson has been appointed Chief Operating Officer and Senior Vice President. Gitte Peng has joined the organization as Chief of Staff and Senior Vice President.

In announcing the appointments, Mr. Walcott said: "Queens Library's mission is pivotal to the educational and cultural profile of the borough. These talented individuals will help me continue the great work that Queens Library does, and propel it into a solid future."

Nicolas  Buron is the new Chief Librarian and Senior Vice President. He has been with Queens Library since 1993. He began as a librarian, then was promoted to a library manager. He took on increasingly complex responsibilities and most recently served as Vice President of Public Library Services. In addition, Mr. Buron has been active with the American Library Association. He served as a Councilor and on the Board of the Young Adult Library Services Association.

Prior to his appointment as Chief Operating Officer and Senior Vice President, Kelvin A. Watson served as Queens Library's Vice President/Chief Information and Technology Officer. He joined Queens Library in 2012 as Director of E-Services and Strategy. Mr. Watson is president of the Black Caucus of the American Library Association.  He serves on the New York State Regents Advisory Council on Libraries and the Metropolitan New York Library Council Board.  He is a lecturer at Queens College's Graduate School of Library and Information Science. Prior professional affiliations included USDA, Borders, the Library Corp and Ingram Book Company.

Gitte Peng is the new Chief of Staff and Senior Vice President. Gitte previously served as Senior Education Policy Advisor for the Mayor's Office, where  she served as Chief  Advisor on all issues of education policy and school reform. She played a lead role in crafting and implementing historic school governance reform legislation establishing mayoral control of the city's public schools as well as developing and overseeing the educational vision, strategies, and initiatives throughout the system. She is a graduate of Yale College and Yale Law School and an independent documentary filmmaker.


Queens Library Partners with NYCitizenship


In partnership with the Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs, library users can take advantage of citizenship legal services and financial counseling at Queens Library locations. The program is called NYCitizenship. The goal is to assist New Yorkers along the path to citizenship.

Counseling appointments are currently available at Central Library in Jamaica, Queens Library at Flushing and Queens Library at Jackson Heights. Beginning in May, appointments will also be available at Queens Library at Ridgewood. To make an appointment, please phone 311 or call the NYCitizenship Hotline at 212-514-4277. 

“Public libraries are on the front lines of fighting inequality. Queens Library has long history of providing tools that help new Americans succeed. We offer free English classes, digital literacy workshops in multiple languages and provide popular reading materials in 50 languages. We are so excited to offer library customers free qualified legal assistance and financial empowerment through NYCitizenship and to partner with the Mayor’s office to help our newest New Yorkers towards the full benefits of citizenship,” said Dennis M. Walcott, President and CEO, Queens Library.



The Queens Borough Public Library’s Board of Trustees announced the selection of Dennis Walcott as President and CEO of the Queens Library after an extensive national search. Walcott’s appointment is subject to the approval of the New York State Department of Education and he is expected to officially assume responsibilities on March 14, 2016.

“We are confident that Dennis Walcott has exactly the right skills and depth of experience to lead the Library through the challenging years ahead,” said Board Chair Carl S. Koerner and Vice Chair Judith Bergtraum, who served as chair of the Board’s Search Committee.

Walcott is a life-long resident of Queens and has spent his entire career in public service and education.  He is currently serving as the state-appointed monitor of the East Ramapo School District, advising the NYS Education Department on reforms and improvements to ensure more effective and equitable service for the district’s students.  In 2014, he was named Honorary Distinguished Fellow at the University of the West Indies and has been an adjunct professor at Fordham University's graduate program, The Fordham Center for Nonprofit Leaders.  From 2011 through 2013, Walcott served as Chancellor of the New York City Department of Education, where he led transformational change across the nation’s largest school system, which serves more than 1.1 million students in 1,800 schools across the five boroughs.

“I look forward to working with all the fantastic, creative, dynamic staff and Friends and visiting every community library, meeting and listening to their ideas and participating in initiatives that make life better and richer for their neighborhoods,” said Dennis Walcott. “I have been a lifelong patron of the Queens Library and wholeheartedly believe in the mission of this great institution.”

Prior to his appointment as Chancellor, Mr. Walcott served as Deputy Mayor for Education and Community Development during the Bloomberg Administration, overseeing and coordinating the operations of the Department of Education, the New York City Housing Authority, the Department of Youth and Community Development and the Mayor’s Office of Adult Education.  He served on the board of the Governors Island Preservation and Education Corporation, was the Board Chair of NYC's Fund for Public Education, and previously served as Co-Chair of the Mayor’s Commission for Construction Opportunity. Mr. Walcott served as the President and Chief Executive Officer of the New York Urban League for more than 12 years, where he expanded educational and youth service programs, including Jeter’s Leaders, Bridge to Brotherhood, Healthy Start, Northern Manhattan Perinatal Partnership, and the 140th Street Building Block Program.  He began his career as a kindergarten teacher.

Mr. Walcott graduated from New York City public schools, including P.S. 36, I.S. 192, and Francis Lewis High School, all in Queens. He graduated from the University of Bridgeport in Connecticut with a bachelor’s degree and a master’s in education in 1973 and 1974, respectively. In 1980, he received his master’s in social work from Fordham University. He has served on numerous boards including Carver Bank Corporation, Primary Care Development Corporation, and the former New York City Board of Education. He has also served as an adjunct professor of social work at York College and as a talk show radio host. Walcott and his wife Denise have four children—Dejeanne, Dana, Shatisha, and Timmy—and five grandsons.

Personalized Reading Suggestions


In this weather, don't you love to cuddle up with a great book?

Queens Library's BookMark is a free service that offers personal reading suggestions, just for you, based on books you have previously read and loved. Click here to get started.

The Diversity of Romance


Queens Library Presents... "The Diversity of Romance."  Meet authors of romantic fiction who will read from their work and talk about why everyone loves "love." Romantic fiction comes in all races, sexual orientations and heat levels, from chaste to spicy. "The Diversity of Romance" will take place on Tues. Jan. 19, 6:30 pm, Manducatis Rustica, 46-35 Vernon Boulevard, Long Island City. This is a hot ticket, reserve now!