Over the past 12 months, our city has lost more than 30,000 people to the coronavirus pandemic, many of whom were residents of the borough of Queens. They were our family members, our friends, our neighbors, our colleagues, and our essential workers. More than 770,000 people in the city have contracted COVID-19, and all of our lives have changed.
Thousands of businesses, cultural institutions, and theaters closed, and 1.5 million jobs disappeared. The ways we learned, worked, played, grocery shopped, exercised, celebrated, worshipped, and used our public libraries were completely altered. We missed coming together in person with strangers and people we love.
Today, New York City’s Day of Remembrance, marks the one-year anniversary of the city’s first known death from the coronavirus. Queens Public Library joins our fellow New Yorkers to honor those who died from COVID-19 and to share in our community’s grief. To mourn, remember, and reflect on the challenging and painful events of the last year, the Library is observing a day of silence on our social media channels and on the homepage of our website.
As the fight against the coronavirus continues, I want you to know that Queens Public Library will always be here for you. Every decision we have made about our reopening and all the ways our staff have adapted and innovated our programs and services are rooted in our commitment to you—to your health and safety as well as your learning and growth. We will continue to work towards New York City’s recovery, not only by offering information, resources, connectedness, and opportunity to all and gradually expanding services, but also by providing our locations to the City for use as COVID-19 vaccination sites and as rapid testing sites.
With the arrival of spring, the downward trend in COVID-19 cases and fatalities, and the promised vaccination of all Americans by the Fourth of July, I am optimistic that—as long as we remain cautious—better days lie ahead.
Please stay safe and take care of yourselves and your loved ones, and let us always remember the lives the pandemic has taken from us.
Dennis M. Walcott
President & CEO, Queens Public Library