Happy National Friends of Libraries Week! It’s the annual celebration of library Friends groups and everything they do for their neighborhood libraries.
In honor of Friends of Libraries Week, we asked the staff at our branches to talk about the special relationship they have with their Friends groups, and how their Friends have supported them and their communities, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Visit our blog all week to read their stories!
Hear from our elected officials about the importance of our Friends groups!
Thank you again to all the Friends of Queens Public Library!
Flushing ALC Friends
The Friends of the Flushing Adult Learning Center is a very tight-knit group of students and professionals who are dedicated to helping our Adult Learner population achieve their goals. Before the pandemic, our Friends group continued fundraising activities that included our annual holiday card and craft sale. In addition, the Friends sponsored special educational field trip projects and provided funding for materials for events like our Family Literacy workshops. Up to February 2020, our Friends were very active in the community. They participated in annual Friends conferences, Library Day in Albany, and National Night Out. Also, two of our board members participated in an ongoing community forum designed to assist low-income residents of Flushing.
Nevertheless, since we've gone virtual, our Friends group continues to be a bridge that connects our staff to students and patrons. The Friends of Flushing ALC have assisted with virtual Census outreach and helped students improve their technology and English skills in our virtual ESOL classes. Furthermore, they were integral in virtually recruiting students to our online classes. Finally, they have represented our student populations at various virtual presentations for our library and community partners. We are very thankful to continue our collaboration in this virtual world.
Gary J. Beharry, Flushing Library Literacy Center Manager
Since the library closed in March, we have had several virtual Friends meetings. In each meeting, we usually checked in on each other, including the members who were not able to attend the meeting, and I would give an update on library programs, services, and any specific issues near the Flushing Library building or in the community.
The Friends expressed their support and how much they care about the library. For example, they want to make sure that someone has been taking care of and watering the plants in the library. On several occasions, our Friends contacted us to make sure that we knew about problems with our book return on Kissena Blvd., to ask about donating books, and to offer their opinions about how to keep our library building safe and secure during the pandemic closure.
Our Friends discussed the possibility of fundraising for the library, even though many of them are seniors and some of them have their own health problems. They are truly the eyes and ears of the library in our community. I feel that, although we are not meeting each other in person, we are closer and communicate more frequently than ever before. Friends strengthen the library with their support, their care, and their advocacy. We greatly appreciate the support from the members of our Friends group.
Yang Zeng, Director, Flushing Library
Fresh Meadows Friends
The Friends of the Fresh Meadows Library group, although newly chartered, has been in the works for about two years. We’ve been fortunate enough to gather a wonderful Board comprised of business people and community leaders who keep us informed and engaged with the neighborhood.
Pre-pandemic, our members were eager to be of service to their community and to work with the manager and assistant manager to supply programs and services to Fresh Meadows. Now, the Board has set out to plan online events and hopefully in-person programs when we are all able to resume our “normal” lives. Also during this time, the FM Friends were able to sponsor a New York author reading her children’s book on QPL’s Facebook page!
The Board is also aiming to have a general membership meeting online soon and hope to increase our number of members using an online platform. We had the unusual honor of being the first Friends Group to be chartered in an online event. It featured the Board members—Jim Gallagher Jr. (President), Alan Ong (Vice President), Adrian Peters (Treasurer), Michele Bowles (Secretary), and Norman Cohn (Member-At-Large)—as well as Councilman Barry Grodenchik, Assembly Member Nily Rozic, and QPL President and CEO Dennis M. Walcott and took place on August 12. We see a bright and hopeful future for our Friends group! Hope as well as many other wonderful things lives at our local libraries!
Nancy Weiss, Assistant Manager, Fresh Meadows Library