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The New York Public Library’s New Dorp and Seward Park Branches Winners in First-Ever NYC Neighborhood Awards

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Awards Sponsored by The Charles H. Revson Foundation Generated More Than 4,300 Nominations By New Yorkers

September 20, 2013 – The New York Public Library’s New Dorp Branch in Staten Island and Seward Park Branch in Manhattan were among five winners of the first-ever NYC Neighborhood Library Awards, which sparked 4,310 nominations and was sponsored by the The Charles H. Revson Foundation.
 
The two libraries, each of which received $10,000 for branch needs at a recent awards ceremony in midtown Manhattan, 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.
 
“These five libraries are truly outstanding and reflect the extraordinarily important role that neighborhood libraries play in communities all across the city,” said Julie Sandorf, President of the Charles H. Revson Foundation. “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 New York Public Library had a total of five finalists in the NYC Neighborhood Library Awards. Also nominated were Parkchester Library and Tremont Library in the Bronx, and Aguilar Library in Manhattan. They were presented with checks for $5,000 each.
 
The 4,310 nominations were cast from May 20 to July 1 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:
 
  • 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.
 
  • Libraries are often the only source of books and 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 inter-generational, 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., a Russian poetry club, Spanish-language film screenings, senior acting clubs, Zumba classes, exercise classes for seniors, and even belly-dancing).
 
  • Many of those activities are potentially transformational: from preschool literacy, pre-GED training, resume-writing, and assistance with job searches to healthcare 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.
 
 
About The New York Public Library
The New York Public Library is a free provider of education and information for the people of New York and beyond. With 91 locations—including research and branch libraries—throughout the Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island, the Library offers free materials, computer access, classes, exhibitions, programming and more to everyone from toddlers to scholars, and has seen record numbers of attendance and circulation in recent years. The New York Public Library serves more than 18 million patrons who come through its doors annually and millions more around the globe who use its resources at www.nypl.org. To offer this wide array of free programming, The New York Public Library relies on both public and private funding. Learn more about how to support the Library at nypl.org/support.  
For more information, visit the Foundation’s website: http://www.revsonfoundation.org.