NEW DORP LIBRARY, STATEN ISLAND
“At the New Dorp Library on Staten Island we have been brainstorming ideas on how to better serve our patrons and community. Programming is a big part of what we do and we are known for: our community thrives on the many programs we offer to them. To date, we have focused on ordering equipment that we would not have otherwise been able to obtain – once they arrive, they will be used for multiple programs.
For instance, we were able to replace our broken PlayStation 3 system and get a PlayStation 4 for our teen programming, as well as purchase a selection of video games. Having these systems allows us to host gaming programs and tournaments for our teen population.
They are extremely popular and a great way to get teens inside our libraries. We find that kids who participate in the tournaments are very welcoming to others – there’s a high level of interaction and a sense of camaraderie that brings different groups of kids together. They also further develop their skills (social, tactical, problem-solving, spatial, etc.); planning a tournament requires great organizational skills. We have also ordered a television, which will be used for our gaming programs and showing family movies; it will also be made available to our ESOL students who frequently utilize audiovisual equipment in the classroom.
An iPad was ordered to help us present interactive story time with our little ones, as well as to be able to use it during our outreach efforts to local schools as well as our visits to nursing homes. We have also ordered other program supplies such as a Rainbow Parachute that our children's librarian will use to play sensory games and sing songs, while encouraging cooperation and social interaction among children. Individual carpet squares will be enjoyed by our little ones during our monthly baby, toddler, and preschool programs, as well as school visits.
We are currently analyzing our spaces to see how else to improve them. One thing we’re considering is spending a small portion of the award on replacing worn and unusable furniture in our staff lounge. This will help refresh the space and provide a nice environment for our team during their downtime.
We are very grateful for this opportunity to help us impact the lives of our patrons.”
- Adriana Blancarte-Hayward, Library Manager
MACON LIBRARY, BROOKLYN
To date, Macon Library has organized and presented two well-attended and exciting community events:
Karamu! Community Kwanzaa Celebration & Awards
On December 28, 2013, Macon Library hosted its fourth annual celebration of the Karamu! Community Kwanzaa Celebration & Awards. Kwanzaa, first celebrated in 1966, is a seven-day Pan-African holiday that promotes and reaffirms family, community and culture through the principles of unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, creativity, purpose and faith. Each year, Macon Library salutes community members who have supported the Library in the spirit of these principles through their volunteer or advocacy efforts.
The 2013 honorees included:
- Maat Silin - T4 (Today’s Teens, Tomorrow’s Techies) Volunteer
- James McTaggart – Resume Coach Volunteer
- Stephanie Burrell - Art & Digital Design Volunteer Instructor
- Karla N. Moore - West African and Caribbean Dance Volunteer Instructor
- Pamela Beckford, Tina Andrews, Deborah Clemmons and Ethel Taylor - Crochet Circle Volunteers
The program featured a West African dance and drumming performance and mini dance workshop by Our Folklore Community Institute as well as a presentation of certificates to the honorees and refreshments. All children in attendance received a free book celebrating Black history or relating to the African Diaspora. More than 80 community members attended the celebration and approximately 50 children’s books were distributed.
"We Are Because You Are" Community Thank You Celebration
On January 28, 2014, Macon Library hosted a special celebration to thank community members for their participation in the first NYC Neighborhood Library Awards. The event, “We Are Because You Are: A Community Thank You Celebration,” featured lively performances by percussionist and music educator Shawn Banks and jazz artists Tulivu Donna Cumberbatch and Robert Daniels. Nearly 90 community members attended the event and branch staff was especially pleased to welcome representatives from The Charles H. Revson Foundation.
Future Programming, Services and Collection Development/Initiatives
Beginning in spring 2014, grant funds will enable the branch to launch several new programs and services:
- Jazz Concert/Oral History Series: “In the Tradition—The Jazz Roots & Culture of Bedford-Stuyvesant” (April)
- Youth DJ Academy (April)
- New York State Common Core Exam Prep (April/May)
- Zumba for Older Adults (May)
- 2014 Summer Reading Kickoff (June)
- Youth Dance Workshops (June)
Neighborhood Library Award funds will also be used to purchase 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. Funding will also be used to purchase new children’s books and popular adult and young adult fiction and non-fiction and to establish 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. In addition, the branch is interested in helping to preserve and promote the literary history of the Bedford-Stuyvesant community and is exploring the possibility of seeking Literary Landmark designation for Macon Library as a “Literary Cornerstone” through the Literary Landmarks Association (a program of United Libraries/ALA).
PARKCHESTER LIBRARY, BRONX
At the Parkchester Library in the Bronx, the NYC Library Award funds have been used to create a new “Spot for Tots” in the Children’s Room, with tables and stools for the tots, a Silly mirror, and caterpillar wall panels to improve manual dexterity:
“We purchased a carpet and some soft cushions for seating as well. We are waiting on some colorful book shelves for CDs and board books. We are also ordering an additional wall toy. The new paint job and the wall toys immediately attract the children that visit us and most don't want to leave the area once they start playing.
Their caregivers and the teachers that visit our branch love the new addition; we receive daily comments on how cute the space is and how nice it is to have a welcoming space such as this for the tots and parents. Once the books and CDs are placed in this area circulation will likely increase and it is also a great spot to place pamphlets regarding our services and the importance of early literacy. The area is also directly beside the room where one of our ESOL classes is held, so parents attending these classes can't miss it. Any funds left after the area is done will be used for family and children's programming needs, whether equipment or performers. Once the space is complete, we’ll have a better idea of our ongoing needsd I will have a better idea of much that would be once the space is complete. We are deeply appreciative of the funds we received.”
- Wendy Archer, Library Manager
AGUILAR LIBRARY, MANHATTAN
“Aguilar Library has used the Revson Award funds in part to purchase a receipt printer for the Children’s Room. This receipt printer has increased our ability to accommodate school class visits, increasing our capacity from 3 classes a day to up to 5 classes per day! It also allows us to plan events such as a Children’s Room Open House so that school classes can drop in without an appointment to check out books together and explore our services.
We also have been able to purchase a new printer for the main floor of the Library, which allows us to better serve the needs of our adult population who use our computers facilities for job searching services.
Aguilar Library will be closing for the summer for an HVAC upgrade, delaying further implementation of grant funds until the fall of 2014. In the fall, we are planning to use the Award money to purchase a number of popular programs for the community. We would like to host a series of RoboFun Robotics classes for children, which have proved very popular in the past. We also plan to purchase soft-building blocks and play mats to start up a new pre-school program at Aguilar Library. In addition, we plan to host a series of music programs for adults on Saturday afternoons next fall.”
- Christina Park, Library Manager
SHEEPSHEAD BAY LIBRARY, BROOKLYN
The Sheepshead Bay Library has allocated grant funds in three areas to support enhanced community programming and engagement for families and youths:
Multicultural and Intergenerational Programs
Musical events and theatrical puppet shows are especially popular among patrons of the Sheepshead Bay Library, which will present three multicultural and intergenerational programs this spring made possible with the generous support from the Charles H. Revson Foundation. All programs are scheduled on Saturday afternoons to accommodate families and working parents.
Wildlife Theater (April 12 at 3:00 pm)
Central Park’s “Wildlife Theater” group will perform Cool Rainforest Connections, a play which follows a jungle explorer and her puppet sidekick as they go on an adventure to save the rainforest. This humorous story includes a message about human responsibility for conservation and is appropriate for children ages 5 and older.
Urban Stages Theater (April 26 at 3:00 pm)
Urban Stages is an Off-Broadway theatre company that has been producing new plays, many of which are World Premieres for 27 years. Its outreach department provides over 200 programs each year to schools and public libraries throughout NYC, which are high quality, educational, and interactive, and which build skills and instill an appreciation for theatre and the arts.
Matt Moran’s Balkan Party Band (May 17 at 3:00 pm)
Matt Moran is a Brooklyn-based drummer and vibraphonist and a fervent believer in the transcendent power of brass bands. This 4-piece group presents 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.”
Books & Cooks
As one of Sheepshead Bay Library’s most popular programs for teens, grant funds have been allocated to support the purchase of program supplies, equipment and collections for Books & Cooks. Led by Svetlana Negrimovskaya, 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 during its interactive sessions, encourages participants to read and follow recipes, and most importantly instills a passion for cooking--which can help to support a healthy lifestyle and prevent obesity.
The program is based on a successful initiative that was launched several years ago with funding from the New York State Library. Books & Cooks is offered weekly during the summer months and attended by the branch’s high school volunteers, Book Buddies and teens participating in the Summer Youth Employment program, who assist with the delivery of branch programs (e.g., writing scripts and conducting children’s puppet shows; serving as judges and DJs for the ongoing talent show rehearsals; assisting with Summer Reading programs; conducting chess and arts & crafts programs). The teen volunteers work very hard throughout the summer and look forward to the weekly culinary sessions, where they discuss and vote on the recipes to prepare—all selected from the branch’s diverse collection of cookbooks—and participate in related discussions and readings. The program accommodates approximately 18 participants per session. At the culmination of this summer-long program participants take pride in presenting a beautiful table of cooked and baked dishes that they prepared and which they share with the branch staff and their families at a closing celebration. Grant funds will support culinary supplies, equipment and books.
Library Talent Shows
The annual Talent Show program is one of the Sheepshead Bay Library’s most popular offerings, drawing talented people of all ages from the local community and borough-wide who come together to share their poetry, hip-hop, native dancing and music and instrumental skills. For teens, the talent shows provide a welcoming and safe venue where they can celebrate their creativity while developing social skills, confidence and self-esteem. For many, it also provides an opportunity to overcome a fear of public speaking in a nurturing environment. Year-round monthly rehearsals culminate in the Annual Talent Show, which is scheduled this year on June 7th and will feature three performances: Children (2pm), Young Adults (3 pm) and Adults (4 pm). To enhance the program’s technical capacity the branch has purchased a portable PA system with CD player to improve the sound quality as well as a digital video camera to record the events. Funding will also be used to replace a very old electric keyboard and to purchase token gifts token gifts for participants.
Meeting Room Enhancement
The branch’s public meeting room, which accommodates a wide range of activities and events for patrons of all ages—as well as related supplies and materials—now looks more like a storage room than a welcoming venue for programs and community gatherings. Teen library patrons in particular have shared that they feel uncomfortable in this space since it is full of children’s toys and other clutter. In order to make the room more inviting and attractive to patrons, grant funds will be used to purchase and install storage cabinets so that the arts & crafts materials, children’s toys and other miscellaneous supplies will no longer be visible or a source of distraction. In addition, a glass case will be installed on the building main floor for the display of branch memorabilia and to celebrate community events and achievements.
KINGS BAY LIBRARY, BROOKLYN
The Kings Bay Library provides its local community with a safe haven and welcoming environment for learning and socializing and its goal is to continue to offer free, high quality cultural programs and events that both educate and entertain. Many patrons enjoy the free, age-appropriate educational and recreational programs that are hosted by the branch and more than half of the grant funds have been allocated to support a diverse roster of cultural and intergenerational programs. To date, programs have included a Chinese New Year Celebration (January 25) featuring members of the CBA Cultural Center performing music, magic, dance and acrobatic movements; two Russian arts programs: “Synthesis of Arts” (Nov. 16) and a Russian music concert featuring Anna Grinberg (March 22), with a third program scheduled in May; and a storytelling and music program by Urban Stages (Feb.22) to honor Black History Month. Many more programs are scheduled from May through September, including classical music, magic and storytelling.
Programs for older adults are well attended on Tuesday and Saturday afternoons, and based on a growing demand for instructional arts workshops a portion of funding has been allocated to support creative aging programs—including a holiday greeting card design program that took place in November and a watercolor class scheduled in June.
The branch’s First Five Years programs—serving children ages birth to five and their parents and caregivers—are very popular and include toddler time, preschool and Ready, Set, Kindergarten programs. The purchase of educational toys will support early literacy and learning for preschoolers and toddlers, and science kits will help to introduce children to the STEM concepts (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) at an early age in keeping with the Common Core Standards. Grant funds will also be used to purchase 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.
Grant funds will also be used to purchase nunchuks (attachments for Wii video game consoles) so that more players can participate in the branch’s popular gaming activities, as well as a few additional games and rechargeable batteries. Given the popularity of the two weekly Teen Tech Time programs, these new supplies will be greatly appreciated and enable the branch to serve more youth. Other equipment purchases will include a digital camera to record programs and special events and a new DVD player for the branch’s popular film series for children and adults. The branch also plans to replace old and worn seating in the children’s room with new plastic or vinyl chairs that are more comfortable and easier to clean.
CORONA LIBRARY, QUEENS
The Corona Community Library, centrally located in this low-income, largely immigrant neighborhood, serves as a vital educational, recreational service hub to its residents. With an annual gate count of 266,000 and annual circulation of 298,000, this vibrant community library hosted more than 340 programs and circulated in excess of 75,000 items from November 2013 through February 2014. Library programming was offered for all age groups including adults, young adults, children and seniors, and more than 10,800 individuals attended Corona Community Library programs during this time period. The $10,000 NYC Neighborhood Library Award from the Revson Foundation is being used to augment the Corona collections. More than 580 volumes have been purchased with the Revson Award, with the remaining funds expected to purchase an additional 250 adult, children and international books and 125 multimedia items.
QUEENS VILLAGE LIBRARY, QUEENS
Recognized for its outstanding service to the community, the Queens Village Community Library was awarded finalist status from the 2013 Revson NYC Neighborhood Library Awards. Since receiving the award, Queens Village Community Library’s gate count surpassed 30,000, and more than 45,000 library items were circulated from November 2013 to February 2014. Queens Village Community Library conducted 413 programs in that time period serving every age group from toddlers to seniors, and almost 5,000 individuals participated in those programs. The $5,000 finalist award was distributed to the Queens Village Library and the Queens Library Mail-A-Book program, located and staffed at Queens Village. To date, the Revson Award funded a total of 60 books for adults and children and 20 DVDs at Queens Village. The remaining funds will add 120 more items to the Queens Village collections. These acquisitions will be completed over the next few months, and with the average book being read by 40 people when on the shelves of Queens Library, this gift will potentially provide as many as 8,000 individuals the opportunity to broaden their learning, education and enjoyment.
Bringing the Library to the Homebound
Mail-a-Book is a free service for Queens residents who are unable to visit a library. With a call to our knowledgeable and caring Mail-a-Book (MAB) staff, homebound individuals may arrange to receive books by the authors they love, on subjects of interest, and in the format that best suits their needs (e.g., large print books, books on tape, CD or MP3). They can request specific titles or rely on the recommendations of MAB’s excellent librarians. MAB homebound customers have 45 days to enjoy the book, and return it in the postage-paid mailbag provided.
The MAB program has experienced significant growth in the last fiscal year. Circulation is up by 6% to 53,837 and 182 new customers were registered. While any book available in the system can be requested and mailed to the homebound, MAB also maintains a special reserved Mail-a-Book Collection of 19,000 print and audio items which was distributed to 777 individuals and 35 nursing homes in FY 2013. MAB received $2,500 from the Revson award to expand its collections. An estimated 110 volumes of best sellers in large print, regular print and audio formats will be added to the MAB collections.
To better cater to homebound customers, Queens Library has a MAB website, Facebook page and Twitter account. In addition, MAB conducted 266 virtual programs by teleconference/skype/live stream, up from 200 last year. The virtual programs were extremely useful immediately following Hurricane Sandy when Madlyn Schneider, the award-winning Coordinator of MAB, Skyped the program’s membership to assess their situation and confirm their well-being.
TREMONT LIBRARY, BRONX
“The Tremont Branch has focused efforts on a variety of programming and improvements. The team allocated $1,000 for a variety of programming for all ages. In March, a well-attended children’s event celebrating music and songs from around the world kicked off this programming initiative. We purchased a projector for the auditorium, and a microwave for the staff area. We are presently trying to obtain a mural for the young adult area that will brighten and update the space. We also plan to spend some money towards our Open House on April 24, 2014 (see attached flyer). We’ve purchased pens and will provide refreshments—this will be a great way to gather the neighborhood together in a small gesture of our appreciation in having been selected for this award. The staff and I are truly honored in having been chosen, and will continue to provide the best customer service to our patrons.”
- Sandra C. Pugh, Library Manager
SEWARD PARK LIBRARY, MANHATTAN
“To date, a portion of grant funds supported special programming at the Seward Park Library, including STEM programming for young adults and toys and props for children's programming. The public response to these programs has been highly positive. The Branch is now thinking about a major project that can benefit the entire community – one popular idea among the staff is the creation of a community garden. There is a small fenced-in space adjacent to the branch that contains some gardening equipment. The funds could be used to expand this area and create a garden with a seating area that the public could enjoy. Staff would also be able to use the space to conduct programming as well. The Seward Park team is currently thinking about this and other program options and will most likely some to a decision in the coming weeks.”
- Dawn C. Chance, Library Network Manager