How did the 2013 winning libraries and finalists spend their cash prizes?

THE FIVE WINNERS of the 2013 NYC Neighborhood Library Awards received $10,000 each to spend how they wished. Here are the diverse ways that each winning library spent its Awards funds:


  • Community events including:
    •   Karamu! Community Kwanzaa Celebration and Awards honoring community members for their volunteer and advocacy efforts with a program featuring dance and music workshops, children’s book giveaways, and refreshments
    • “We Are Because You Are” event to thank patrons who nominated Macon for the 2013 NYC Neighborhood Library Awards, with musical performances by local artist
  • A new jazz concert and oral history series called “In the Tradition—The Jazz Roots & Culture of Bedford-Stuyvesant”
  • Programs including the Youth DJ Academy, NYS Common Core Exam Prep, Zumba for Older Adults, 2014 Summer Reading Kickoff, and Youth Dance Workshops
  • Supplies and equipment for some of the branch’s most popular and longstanding programs, including the weekly Knitting & Crocheting Circle, Teen Tech Hour, and an exhibition series organized in partnership with local artists
  • New children’s books, popular adult and young adult fiction and non-fiction, and a new Black Speculative Fiction Collection (a genre that includes science fiction and fantasy) to be housed in the branch’s Dionne Mack-Harvin African American Heritage Center



  • Equipment that it would not have otherwise been able to obtain to be used for a variety of different programs and events, including:
    • A new PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 and a selection of video games for the branch’s popular gaming tournaments and programs for teens
    • A Karaoke system for teen programs
    • A television for gaming tournaments, family movie screenings, ESOL students who need audiovisual equipment in the classroom
    • Six tables for the branch's community room
    • A rainbow parachute used by the children’s librarian to play sensory games and sing songs in various children’s programs
    • Child-size furniture and carpet squares for the branch’s monthly baby, toddler, and preschool programs and school visits
    • An iPad to use for interactive story time with children, outreach efforts at local schools, and nursing home visits
    • Program supplies including paper, ink pads, stamper markers, a laminator, and a dry-erase board


  • Multicultural arts programs, including:
    • Central Park’s Wildlife Theater group’s performance of “Cool Rainforest Connections,” a play which follows a jungle explorer and her puppet sidekick as they go on an adventure to save the rainforest
    • Programs by the off-Broadway Urban Stages Theater company, whose interactive programs build skills and instill an appreciation for theatre and the arts
    • Matt Moran’s Balkan Party Band performed an “acoustic mash-up of Balkan and Gypsy sounds with North American music, weaving the gospel, funk, dub, jazz, and Latin influences of New York’s neighborhoods seamlessly into a Balkan brass setting"
  • Equipment and supplies to enhance the branch’s offerings:
    • Program supplies, equipment, and collections for Books & Cooks, one of the branch’s most popular programs for teens. The program provides young adults with the knowledge and skills needed to prepare healthy meals from a variety of international cuisines. In addition to teaching essential cooking techniques, the program helps teens to develop social skills, encourages them to read and follow recipes, and most importantly instills a passion for cooking—which can help to support a healthy lifestyle and prevent obesity
    • A portable PA system with a CD player and a digital video camera for the annual Talent Show, one of the branch’s most well-attended programs drawing talented local community members of all ages from the local community who come together to share their poetry, hip-hop, native dancing, and musical skills
    • Storage cabinets to store arts & crafts materials for the branch’s public meeting room—a space that accommodates a wide range of activities and events for patrons of all ages, but was in desperate need of renovation



  • This branch is centrally located in a largely immigrant neighborhood and serves as a vital educational and recreational service hub to its residents. Based on its needs, the branch used the Award funds to augment its collections:
    • More than 580 volumes had been purchased as of April 2014
    • The branch plans to purchase an additional 250 adult, children, and international books and 125 multimedia items with the remaining funds


  • Special programming, including:
    • STEM programming for young adults
    • Toys and props for children's programming
  • Creation of a new community garden space that includes new planters, seating area, and a seed lending library
  • Creation of young adult garden program


2013 Finalists

THE FIVE FINALISTS of the 2013 NYC Neighborhood Library Awards received $5,000 each to spend how they wished. Here are the diverse ways that each finalist spent its Awards funds:


  • A new Read & Seed program offered by the Horticultural Society of New York
  • A Brazilian music concert by Choro Down Neck
  • A new young adult craft program entitled "Etch Your Sketch"
  • A variety of supplies and enhancements, including:
    • A receipt printer for the children’s room to free up staff time, allowing more programming to be offered
    • Supplies for RoboFun Robotics class for children
    • Supplies for a series of music programs for adults
    • Soft-build blocks and play mats for the preschool program
    • A new printer for the main floor of the branch     




  • Community events, including:
    • A Chinese New Year Celebration featuring members of the CBA Cultural Center, an organization “dedicated to the development of traditional Chinese arts in the spirit of exchange and dialogue with other cultures in the world”
    • Three Russian arts and music programs
    • A storytelling and music program put on by Urban Stages in honor of Black History Month
  • Enhancement of the branch’s myriad programs for children and teens, including:
    • Educational toys for First Five Years, Toddler Times, Preschool, and Ready, Set, Kindergarten programs
    • Science kits to introduce STEM concepts to children
    • Arts and crafts supplies for children’s and young adult programs, including a popular weekly volunteer-led preschool program and after-school drawing programs for children and teens
    • A digital camera, nunchuks (attachments for Wii video game consoles), and a DVD player for its two weekly Teen Tech Time programs
    • New chairs for the Children’s Room
  • Supplies for new Creative Aging program, which includes a holiday greeting card design program and a watercolor class for seniors


  • Investments in the branch’s offerings for families and children, including:
    • A new “Spot for Tots” in the children’s room with tables and stools for toddlers, a silly mirror, caterpillar wall panels to improve manual dexterity, new carpet, soft cushions for additional seating, and colorful bookshelves for CDs and board books
    • Repainting of the children’s room
    • A new Saturday Family Fun Time program
    • Chinese Ribbon and African Dance classes
    • A tribute to Maya Angelou and performance by the Hudson Tubes Duo
    • Supplies for the branch’s various programs for families and children


  • Additions to the branch’s collections, providing more opportunities for patrons to broaden their learning, education and enjoyment:
    • Additions to the collections of the Mail-A-Book program for homebound seniors, including 110 new books in large print, regular print, and audio formats
    • 200 books and DVDs for the Queens Village collection with the potential to reach as many as 8,000 individuals, based on current circulation data
  • Funds have also gone toward supporting programs the branch holds for everyone from toddlers to seniors


  • Program expenses such as:
    • Supplies for a children’s event celebrating music and songs from around the world
    • Materials for an Open House event
    • A projector for the auditorium
  • A wall mural designed by a local artist for the young adult area
  • A microwave to add to the branch staff room’s amenities