Anthony Suarez. Photo: Beowulf SheehanAnthony Suarez has always had a calling to help others.
So a few years ago, when he found himself out of work and in a shelter because he had no way to pay rent, it wasn’t easy for Suarez to admit he needed help himself.
But after turning to the job-search resources at the Bronx Library Center, Suarez was able to get back on his feet and land a stable job as a caseworker with the city — and return to helping others again.
“The Library gives people the tools they need to move off the breadline and onto a bank line,” said Suarez, who now wears a suit and is working his way up at the city agency he joined two years ago. “It would have taken me a lot longer to find employment and get back on my feet without the Library.”
Job help, along with many other essential programs and services, will be greatly curtailed under the city’s $40 million funding cut to the Library.
Suarez, who grew up in the Bronx and graduated from the College of New Rochelle, fell on hard times after he left the South in the years following Hurricane Katrina to move back to New York City.
In 2008, with the economy in shambles after the economic crisis and no job prospects or paycheck, Suarez soon found himself home — but out on the street.
That’s when he turned to the Library.
“It was hard to share that things weren’t working out the way things were planned,” added Suarez, who had previously worked as a teacher, mentor, and coach. “I didn’t have a laptop or a trust fund or wealthy friends to help me out.”
Initially, the Bronx Library Center was a daily place to relax, recharge, and use a free computer while he didn’t have his own home.
But soon Suarez found the support he needed at its job center — and thanks to the Library’s veteran career counselor Janice Moore-Smith, he was able to land a series of stepping-stone jobs and then finally his current position.
“It was not easy. It was pure hell. There were 100 people applying for each position,” said Suarez, adding that the center’s support went beyond mere résumé help.
“The conversations with Janice were very therapeutic,” he added. “The Library was an inspiration for me to get on the right track and not fall deeper into a hole.”
Despite the setback in his past, Suarez is now determined to keep looking forward, and help others who need a leg up.
“When I see clients now, I say ‘I know where you’re coming from,’” he said. “The Library gave me the tools, resources, and inspiration I needed to get me where I am.”
Please join Suarez and other NYPL users in speaking out against these crippling cuts, which would close up to 12 neighborhood libraries and reduce others to just four days per week. It takes just a few clicks to send a letter to your elected officials urging them to restore funding. Help save libraries!