Congratulations are in order for the fine folks at the Sheepshead Bay Library (2636 East 14th Street) and the Kings Bay Library (3650 Nostrand Avenue) for receiving cash prizes from the Charles H. Revson Foundation as part of their first ever NYC Neighborhood Library Awards. According to a press release, Sheepshead Bay Library took home a top prize of $10,000, along with four other institutions, and Kings Bay Library brought back $5,000 for being considered as a finalist.
Earlier in the month, we reported on the nominations of Sheepshead Bay Library and Kings Bay Library, both selected by thousands of voters across the city to be finalists for the top prizes. The release described the voters participating and the qualities the foundation was looking for in their nominees:
The 4,310 nominations were cast from May 20th to July 1st 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.
Julie Sandorf, President of the Charles H. Revson Foundation, expressed the special roles these winning libraries play in their communities.
“These five libraries are truly outstanding and reflect the extraordinarily important role that neighborhood libraries play in communities all across the city. 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,” Sandorf said in the release.
Brooklyn Public Library President Linda E. Johnson was grateful for the nominations and recognition of the Brooklyn-based institutions.
“Hundreds of thousands of Brooklynites depend on their neighborhood libraries for story times, homework help, computers, and access to books, DVDs and electronic resources. We are grateful to the Charles H. Revson Foundation not only for its generous donation to Brooklyn Public Library, but also for raising awareness about the many ways our libraries contribute to the well-being of their communities. Thank you to everyone who played a part in helping BPL win these awards, especially the staff of Sheepshead Bay, Macon and Kings Bay,” Johnson said in an email.