It’s National Volunteer Week! Service Takes Many Forms here at the Library, and this year we want to highlight the winners of the Friends of QPL Shining Star Award.
The Shining Star Award is given to individual Friends members that demonstrate exceptional leadership qualities that inspire and motivate others to action; and groups that exemplify a collaborative spirit and strive to work together to provide ideas, resources, and opportunities that uplift their community.
Here's our conversation with Shining Star Award recipient David Pecoraro, President of the Friends of Rosedale Library. Learn about his beginnings with the group, his experiences during his tenure, and what lies ahead for the Friends of Rosedale Library.
When did you first become involved with the Friends of QPL?
I was approached by the branch manager, Pat Eshun, to help form the Rosedale Friends since she saw me in the library frequently, and I became one of the two initial founders of the group.
What attracted you to becoming involved with the Friends of QPL?
I have been a Rosedale resident for over 56 years and have used this branch since we had a card catalogue and took out books using a photostat machine. My mother, the late community leader Sheila Pecoraro, helped save the branch by leading a sit-in during the 1970s NYC fiscal crisis. Later, the branch served as a place for reading for my sons Daniel and Samuel. It was just second nature to get involved when asked by Pat.
Why are the Friends of QPL an asset to your community or neighborhood?
Many of the working-class community of homeowners in Southeast Queens use this library for research, reading and video materials, and as a safe place for kids while their parents are at work. The Rosedale Friends have worked with our phenomenal staff and our great City Council Members—first Donovan Richards and then his successor, Selvena Brooks-Powers. With the discretionary funding they have provided, we have been able to set up events that have benefited the community, including our annual Jackie Robinson tributes and our annual Dream to Read events to honor Martin Luther King, Jr. Thanks to the efforts of our council members, we hope to see a needed branch expansion.
What have been your proudest moments to date during your time as a Friend of QPL?
Our January 2021 online storytime reading and Dream to Read Book Give-Away in celebration of the 59th Presidential inauguration were a pair of memorable events linked to important historical events and figures. Also, we organized a memorable LGBTQ+ Pride event in Rosedale when we invited the partner of civil rights and labor icon Bayard Rustin to explain his history and significance.
Friends of Rosedale Library President David Pecoraro (right) and Member-at-Large Clara Pecoraro (left) at the library's annual Jackie Robinson Day book giveaway.
Why was it important for you to remain actively involved with the Friends throughout the past two years during the height of the pandemic? In what ways did the Friends support the neighborhood during this period?
With the support of Council Member Brooks-Powers, we were able to organize multiple book giveaways and a COVID-19 vaccination van. There was a necessity to have events to maintain continuity, even when the branch was closed. We needed to keep the library and the community on the map.
What would you still like to accomplish as a Friend of QPL?
Our branch expansion and the continuation of programming for our hard-working community.
What are the benefits of working alongside other members to accomplish your goals as a Friend of QPL?
I am fortunate to be assisted by an incredible group of women, including Vice-President Jannie Downes-Charles, Secretary Lorraine Gittens-Bridges, Treasurer Stacey Osbourne, and my wife, Member-at-Large Clara Guillermo-Pecoraro. They have provided energy, wisdom, assistance, perspective, and suggestions that have made our events possible.
In what ways have the library staff supported your efforts during your time as a Friend of QPL?
The Rosedale Library staff have been there from day one to help us put our events together. There is no way we could have done all we have done without them.
For more information about joining an existing Friends group or starting your own chapter for your neighborhood library, visit https://volunteer.queenslibrary.org/qplfriends.
If you're interested in other ways of volunteering at Queens Public Library, you can visit https://volunteer.queenslibrary.org.