New York City

Library lovers: Nominate your branch for the NYC Neighborhood Library Awards

December 2, 2014 By Mary Frost Brooklyn Daily Eagle
The Brooklyn Heights Branch library.  Photo by Mary Frost

Nominations accepted through Dec. 12.

Despite budget cuts and shrinking resources, New Yorkers love their neighborhood libraries and use them more than ever before.

In Brooklyn, libraries have become essential to immigrants learning English, seniors seeking to stay connected, entrepreneurs and job-seekers, and students needing a safe place to study.

The Red Hook branch was a life-saver for residents after Superstorm Sandy; it was reopened, despite heavy damage, for use as a warming center during the subsequent freeze, when many residents were without heat or homeless.

The second annual NYC Neighborhood Library Awards will be handing out $20,000 each to five local libraries nominated by appreciative patrons. In their nominations, users describe what makes their branch exceptional. Nominations will be accepted through Dec. 12.

The Library Awards are co-sponsored by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation and the Charles H. Revson Foundation, in association with WNYC’s Brian Lehrer Show.

In 2013, more than 4,000 NYC library users submitted nominations — and they made it clear that they consider their neighborhood libraries to be the lifeblood of their community.

Here are a few of last year’s Brooklyn nominations:

Rulx (the organizers provided first names only), an immigrant in New Lots, wrote in his submission, “I learn English in this library. I take my advantage of opportunities. The main reasons I come are pre-GED class, use Wi-Fi, computer, take a book to read. I feel welcome when I coming in this library.”

Anthony wrote, “The Macon Library has been a home to me since I was 15 years old. I come here to study for the GED, or just chill out. I also meet with James. Since he helped me put together my resume, I’ve received two calls about jobs.”

Suzanne, a parent in Carroll Gardens, praised the children’s collection at her local branch. “The easy access to a huge variety of children’s books has played a large part in my son taking to reading early, and has encouraged his very real love of reading.”

Many described their libraries as critical community centers. “The Cortelyou Library is at the very heart of this neighborhood; it stitches together all the various ethnic and socio-economic strands of the neighborhood in a way that no other institution could. It’s part of the glue that holds us together,” Tori wrote.

Library fans can nominate their favorite branches by answering four questions online. Organizers say the more detailed and specific your answers, the better. To nominate your library, visit www.nyclibraryawards.org. (Nomination forms are also available in paper form in a number of languages.)

Last year’s winners were the Macon branch (Brooklyn), Sheepshead Bay branch (Brooklyn), New Dorp branch (Staten Island), Corona branch (Queens) and Seward Park branch (Manhattan).

 

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