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Queens Library would like to take this opportunity to update our library customers and staff on facts concerning the renovations at Central Library, and the compensation of our President and CEO. Queens Library is one of the most highly used and valuable resources in Queens, and we take our responsibility to provide world-class, life-changing library services very seriously.

Renovations and Executive Compensation

Queens Library is one of the largest and most successful library systems in the world. It brings vital educational and informational services to millions from 65 library locations.

In the past ten years, under Thomas Galante’s leadership, Queens Library has hosted 128 million visitors to its libraries.  5.4 million people have attended free programs. More than 200 million library items have been borrowed. An estimated 5 million children have depended on Queens Library as a safe haven after school.

Nationally and internationally, Queens Library is known as a leader and standard bearer in the field. It has been recognized time and again as one of the best public library systems in the world. The library won several national awards as the best library in the United States. (see below)

Under the leadership of Mr. Galante, the library grew to be the highest circulating library in the country. The library embarked on the most ambitious and successful capital renovation campaign in the library’s history, investing in public library renovations and improvements in library services. Even throughout the challenges posed in the Great Recession, the library has remained a reliable and a valuable resource that 40,000 people turn to every single day to enrich their lives.

Gabriel Taussig, Chairman of the Queens Library Board of Trustees, said: “Queens Library delivers world-class library service every day. We need excellent leadership. Compensation for the President & CEO was set by the Board of Trustees in 2005, after careful consideration, market study, and due diligence at the average for New York City Non-Profit CEOs – not more and not less – with an annual cost of living adjustment so the compensation would stay current.”

The Central Library building in Jamaica has been undergoing a $20 million modernization of the building. It is a 50 year old building and has hosted more than 70 million visitors in its lifetime. The modernization includes the upgrade of all customer service areas and central office departments and administrative spaces that manage the 62 libraries in the borough.

A goal is to be able to stop renting annexed office space and save an additional $150,000 per year by bringing those staff and services back in the Central Library. They include the fundraising/development office, capital and facilities management department and the Adult Learning Center. 

As part of this reconfiguration, the President’s private office area was reduced in size, to provide for the use of the administrative office meeting and conference areas. A portion of the adjacent roof was converted into exterior meeting space as a way to add more conference area to the building at a very low cost. No public funds were used for this work. Every area of the building – public and office space --  is being renovated.

The costs of the renovation of administrative offices, which have not been upgraded in decades, is being completed at a modest cost per square foot, significantly below the cost of the public service area renovations.

This is part of an overall strategy to modernize every library in Queens. Under Mr. Galante’s leadership, two-thirds of these renovations have been completed, with the balance in the pipeline.


2014, Queens Chamber of Commerce Building Award for new Glen Oaks Library and Renovations to Bayside
2013, Library of Congress Literacy Awards – Queens Library’s Literacy Zone Welcome Centers recognized as a “best practice”
2013, Mayor’s Excellence in Design Award, new Far Rockaway Community Library
2013, Urban Libraries Council “Top Innovator” Award for response to Hurricane Sandy
2013, “Helping Hand” Award from NYC Small Business Council, for role in recovery after Hurricane Sandy.
2012, Mayor’s Excellence in Design Award, Addition to the East Elmhurst Community Library
2012, Municipal Arts Society MASterworks Award for the Children’s Library Discovery Center.
2011, Excellence in Design Awards from Queens Chamber of Commerce for new construction (Children’s Library Discovery Center) and renovation (Queens Library at East Elmhurst)
2011, NYLA/Mary Bobinski Innovative Public Library Director Award to Thomas Galante.
2011, ASCLA/KLAS/NOD Award for Queens Library’s Mail A Book Program with
          interactive programming
2011, Queens Chamber of Commerce Building Award for Whitestone Reading Garden
2010, Joseph F. Shubert Library Excellence Award for Queens Library for Teens, given by
          New York State Regents Advisory Council on Libraries
2010, Marshall Cavendish Award for Excellence in Library Programming for Queens
          Library HealthLink, given by American Library Association
2009, Library Journal’s Library of the Year Award