Bed-Stuy’s Macon Library
one of five winners of Revson’s first-ever Neighborhood Library Awards to receive $10K
Winning Branch Emerged From More Than
4300 Nominations by New Yorkers
Congratulations to the Macon Public Library in Bedford-Stuyvesant/Stuyvesant Heights!
The branch was one of five winners in The Charles H. Revson Foundation’s first-ever NYC Neighborhood Library Awards, the culmination of an initiative that resulted in 4,310 nominations from New Yorkers.
The five winning libraries each received $10,000 at an awards ceremony in midtown Manhattan. They were selected from 10 finalists by a distinguished panel of judges: R.L. Stine, author of the renowned Goosebumps series; Kurt Andersen, author and host of WNYC’s Studio 360; Carla Hayden, CEO of the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore and former president of the American Library Association; Fatima Shama, NYC Commissioner of Immigrant Affairs; and Don Weisberg, president of the Penguin Young Readers Group.
The nomination process took place during a six-week period this summer and was promoted publicly with the crucial assistance of WNYC’s Brian Lehrer Show, the media partner for this initiative. A nominator of Macon Library wrote: “I have found this library as a safe haven and opportunity to know more about my roots. The African-American Heritage Center is amazing and I feel like I’ve discovered a part of myself here.”
Julie Sandorf, president of the Charles H. Revson Foundation said: “These five libraries are truly outstanding and reflect the extraordinarily important role that neighborhood libraries play in communities all across the city.”
“It was especially moving to see, throughout the entire selection process, the passion of the nominators and their gratitude for the often life-changing contributions of the neighborhood library.”
The other four winning libraries include: Corona Library – North Corona (Queens); New Dorp Library – New Dorp/Midland Beach (Staten Island); Seward Park Library – Lower East Side (Manhattan) and Sheepshead Bay Library – Sheepshead Bay (Brooklyn).
In addition to the five winners of the NYC Neighborhood Library Awards, the other five finalists were presented with checks for $5,000 each.
The 4,310 nominations were cast from May 20th to July 1st by New Yorkers who identified themselves most frequently as parents, students, seniors, artists, teachers, job-seekers and entrepreneurs. The nominations illuminated the libraries’ extraordinary dedication to serving their communities in a myriad of ways, among them:
*Library staff members make the library feel like a second home – often greeting patrons by name as they enter and making all visitors feel valued.
*The libraries are highly attuned to the neighborhoods they serve – both in terms of the needs of residents (especially youth, seniors and immigrants) and their cultures and languages, and the library branch is often the only source of books and the Internet in a city where 36 percent of residents – including 75 percent of residents of the NYC Housing Authority – have no broadband Internet access at home.
*The libraries play a crucial role as community centers – free and accessible to all; safe for children and for seniors; a crossroads for positive intergenerational, cross-racial and cross-ethnic interactions. They also provide personal quiet space in a bustling city where housing is typically cramped.
*They offer a remarkable range of programs and activities from those traditionally associated with libraries (e.g., story time for children, arts and crafts, and book clubs) to programs addressing contemporary needs (e.g., computer classes, English as a Second Language, workforce development and tax assistance) and offerings tailored to more specific community interests (e.g., film screenings, senior acting clubs, etc.).
*Many of those activities are potentially transformational from preschool literacy, pre-GED training, resume writing and assistance with job searches to health care screenings, exercise classes and citizenship test preparation.
A recent report by the Center for an Urban Future – titled Branches of Opportunity and funded by the Charles H. Revson Foundation – revealed that over the past decade, circulation at New York City libraries has increased by 59 percent, program attendance by 40 percent and program sessions by 27 percent while city funding has declined by 8 percent.
I Love My Librarian Award
to Tomorrow, Sept. 27
Library users are encouraged to nominate a librarian for the 2013 Carnegie Corp. of New York “I Love My Librarian Award.” Nominations are open through tomorrow, Sept. 27. The nomination form is available at ilovelibraries.org/ilovemylibrarian. Up to 10 librarians will be selected as winners. Each will receive a $5,000 cash award.