Happy National Friends of Libraries Week! It’s the annual celebration of library Friends groups and everything they do for their neighborhood libraries.
In honor of Friends of Libraries Week, we asked the staff at our branches to talk about the special relationship they have with their Friends groups, and how their Friends have supported them and their communities, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Visit our blog all week to read their stories!
Hear from our elected officials about the importance of our Friends groups!
Thank you again to all the Friends of Queens Public Library!
Lefrak City Friends
The staff of Lefrak City would like to thank the Friends for their continued support of the Lefrak City Library and community. During the past six months, the board members of our Friends group have devoted countless hours to helping residents and local businesses. Despite the fear during the peak of the pandemic, board members volunteered their time to distribute masks to local businesses, including delis, supermarkets, laundromats, and pharmacies. Business leaders were very appreciative of this kind gesture.
With assistance from elected officials, our Friends group board members were able to deliver meals to seniors and homebound residents on numerous occasions. The Board members went above and beyond to distribute masks to every tenant in the Lefrak City complex. Each building consists of 1,000 apartments, and two masks were presented to each household, bringing the grand total of masks distributed to 10,000.
Friends Board members also conducted wellness checks on the parents of our registered Spellabration and Teen Trivia participants. During phone conversations, Friends Board members reminded Lefrak City’s residents about the virtual programs that are being offered by Queens Public Library.
Considering that many individuals are now faced with uncertainties and daunting challenges, the Friends of Lefrak City Library have done their due diligence by staying connected to the seniors, adults, and youths in their community and have done so without demur.
Sharon Diamond-Velox, Assistant Manager, Lefrak City Library
Long Island City Friends
In January, at their rechartering ceremony, the LIC Friends of the Library pledged to advocate for the library and to support the staff, LIC/Astoria's growing homeless population, and library programs. They maintained this pledge throughout the year, especially during the pandemic.
When the library was open before the pandemic closure, the LIC Friends supplied staff with lunch following monthly staff meetings. After the library reopened, they ordered takeout or desserts once a week to encourage onsite workers. Plus, the Friends president donated additional PPE face shields to increase the comfort level of the onsite team. The Friends attended an employee's virtual graduation and supported other workers who have gone back to school.
Our homeless members of the Friends group informed the board that many hotel shelters were popping-up in LIC/Astoria as a result of social distancing. The new sites did not have enough support for security personnel or social services. So, the Friends group reached out to Long Island City Partnership, Queens Public Library, and public officials to solicit support for this exploding population.
The Friends had two programs this year, Black History Trivia and a Reuseable Bag Giveaway. During the pandemic, they have supported the library branch's podcast series, storytime, and STEM summer programs by posting them on their Facebook page. The LIC Friends also rewarded staff with $35 Amazon gift cards for providing the LIC/Astoria community with engaging virtual programs and timely information. During our Census 2020 campaigns, the Friends volunteered at a tabling event, circulated Be Counted flyers, and encouraged LIC/Astoria co-ops like North Queensview to robocall residents to remind them to complete their census surveys.
Tienya Smith, Manager, Long Island City Library
Our thanks and gratitude to the Friends of the Maspeth Library for doing such great work for our community and library. Since their chartering in March 2019, the core team—Crystal Wolfe, Deborah Cox, Pamela Perrotta, Diane Irwin, and Gosia Lewandowska—have worked tirelessly to hold events and advocate for funding for the betterment of our community and library. They met once every month to brainstorm ideas for events and fundraisers. The most successful event was the Holiday Festival in December 2019 with many activities during the day and an attendance of around 200 customers. Other successful programs include many author talks. Programs were scheduled for this spring/summer but unfortunately did not materialize due to the pandemic.
Our Friends advocated and received funds/donations from politicians and other sources. A special “shout-out” to Pam Perrotta for personally raising $1000 for programs. The group has also attended street fairs to promote the library and solicit membership. It is wonderful to have our Friends group and we appreciate all they do for us.
Usha Pinto, Manager, Maspeth Library
Not long after I started with the Queens Public Library in 2016, I came to see just how big a part a Friends group plays in a public library’s success. In Pomonok’s case, in addition to generally advocating for the library, our Friends group is good at getting a number of great programs into the branch.
These programs, especially the musical concerts, usually bring a lot of people into our library. In some cases, these people are new patrons and after coming to a show here they are more likely to come back. This is no doubt a good thing for the library.
We can only hope that once the Pomonok Library reopens after the pandemic, people will come back to the library and in a big way. No doubt the Pomonok Friends have been a big part of helping us out in the past and I look forward to having them do the same in the future.
Andrew C. Gibson, Manager, Pomonok Library