In February 2017, the Stavros Niarchos Foundation and Charles H. Revson Foundation, in association with WNYC’s Brian Lehrer Show, launched the fourth annual NYC Neighborhood Library Awards. 

The NYC Neighborhood Library Awards recognize and reward public libraries for being the unsung heroes of New York – places where all are welcome, the programs and resources are free, and the librarians are making it all happen on a shoestring budget.

Since New York's neighborhoods are very diverse and each library is unique, we asked library users across the city to tell us why their library should win a NYC Neighborhood Library Award! Thousands of New Yorkers nominated their library for exceptional service to the community. The nomination period closed on March 13th, and we received nominations in English, Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Russian, Polish, Bengali, Urdu, Haitian Creole, and Arabic.

Based on patrons’ nominations, data on circulation and program attendance, visits to see the branches in action, and the recommendations of a philanthropic review committee, the pool will be narrowed down to ten finalists. From there, a group of eminent judges will pick five winning branches for the $20,000 prize. The remaining finalists will receive $10,000 each.

More than 19,000 New Yorkers wrote in for the 2015-2016 Awards, and the winning library branches have begun to put their winnings to good use. In Manhattan, the Inwood Library hosted three concerts for Latin American Culture Week in November, and Morrisania Library in the Bronx is planning upgrades for their children and teens areas. Jerome Park Library, winner of the Heckscher Prize for Outstanding Service to Children and Youth, is expanding their creative arts and science activities for their youth after school programs. Arverne Library in Queens created a new Jewish collection and replaced worn-out books in the children’s collection. Glen Oaks Library, seniors in Queens were delighted with the newly purchased Mahjong game tables at the popular weekly game sessions. Sunset Park Library in Brooklyn hosted an El Dia De Los Muertos family cultural celebration with dancers, traditional food, and activities for all ages.