Queens Public Library President and CEO Dennis M. Walcott with New York City Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer.
Dozens of staff and supporters on April 2 kicked off the Library’s “Renewed Promise to the Public,” a long-term initiative to honor and serve the diversity of our customers and communities that includes changing our name to Queens Public Library from Queens Library, a new logo, tagline, pattern and colors, a new website, and sharpening our focus on customer experience.
“We want to make clear who we are, what we aspire to be, and what people can expect from us whenever they walk into one of our locations, have an interaction with us, call us, or visit us online,” QPL President and CEO Dennis M. Walcott said at the launch event at Central Library.
President Walcott said the Library put “public” back into its name to reinforce who is at the center of its work and to whom the Library belongs.
He added that QPL is providing training to every staff member around issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion to help them better understand people’s needs and get them where they want to go. Every location now has translation devices to enable staff and customers to speak in multiple languages, and a language line offering telephone interpretation will soon be piloted at several locations. The Library also launched a new website that is faster and easier to navigate and can be translated into 80 languages through Google Translate.
The Library’s new tagline, President Walcott said, is “We speak your language.” It means QPL not only speaks Spanish, Chinese, Bengali, Russian, Greek, and many other tongues, but also imagination, tech, history, LGBTQ, HTML, finance, nonfiction, science fiction, story time, chess, teens, opportunity, and many other interests and pursuits. It makes clear that the Library is here for everyone, understanding what their needs are and helping them pursue their goals.
“As a gay man, it’s really validating, and it means a lot to me that the Queens Public Library speaks my language,” Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer, Chair of the Committee on Cultural Affairs, Libraries and International Intergroup Relations and a former Library employee, said at the launch. “I love the [tagline]...it is so true to who we are and what this borough is about.”
Maryanne Olson, the assistant manager at Ridgewood Library, said the tagline reflects not only the diversity of QPL’s programs, services, and communities, but also the evolving nature of library services. “The library is always changing how it speaks to its customers,” she said. “There’s never one way of doing things.”