Shiuli, a Literacy Leaders program associate in the Lower East Side, Manhattan


I provide domestic violence services mostly to South Asian women. We chose the library because it’s a welcoming and safe environment. It has books in Bengali, Hindi, and Urdu, which makes everyone in the neighborhood feel like their existence is acknowledged. They see the library as a place for resources, a stepping stone to learn to navigate the larger system—help with domestic violence, but also careers and public benefits—a path toward independence and safety.

Amber, a teacher in the Bronx

Adults in the South Bronx need access to information, work spaces, and services. We don’t have many book stores, coffee shops, or other similar types of multi-use study and meeting spaces. The library is so powerful because it is open to all ages, cultures and incomes. Middle school kids shouldn’t need to get on a train to Harlem, midtown or Parkchester to have a good selection of books and media on interesting topics.


Number of low-literacy adults living in New York City

Andrew, a former Brooklyn resident


"I am currently a professor in the CUNY system. I owe it all to these beginnings."

Once a week, my mother and I would walk to the Stone Avenue branch to borrow Babar, Madeline, and other assorted children’s books. Those visits made me become addicted to the smell of the library, to books, and to amassing information in general. I am currently a professor in the CUNY system. I owe it all to these beginnings.

Suzanne, a parent in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn

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The children’s collection is excellent. Whatever we are studying at home, we can always find source material. The librarians are so friendly and helpful, sometimes even suggesting other books that might help in our studies. 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.

A parent in east Harlem, Manhattan


Number of items circulated in New York City’s libraries in 2011


My son Diego and I visit this library to borrow books to read right before bed time. Diego loves borrowing chapter books and exploring their science and non-fiction sections. It’s our weekly tradition to stop by and spend time browsing through the different titles. We can’t afford to buy books at Barnes & Noble or other book stores, my husband is unemployed so this branch has become a wonderful destination and resource for our family!