A Message from Jelani Cobb

Do you remember your first library card? I do.

I was eight years old when my mother took me to the South Hollis branch of Queens Public Library. She told me to speak up and tell the librarian that I wanted a library card. I am still astounded by the idea that there’s a place you can go to get free books. You read them, bring them back, and they give you more. All you need is a library card.

The South Hollis Library became the cornerstone of my world as a child. I lost myself in volumes of Greek mythology, science fiction, fiction — every one of the Encyclopedia Brown books I could get my hands on — without ever imagining I might grow up and write books of my own one day.

Now as an adult, an author, and the Dean of a journalism school, I know everything I did and everything I’ve been able to do has flowed from the moment I received my first library card. That’s why I feel an immense debt of gratitude to Queens Public Library.

No matter what I do, I don’t think I can ever completely repay that debt. But I can give back so that the next neighborhood kid can also find a world of discovery on the Library’s shelves.

I hope you feel the same way, because Queens Public Library needs our support to continue thriving for new generations of readers.

Please join me and give to Queens Public Library during this holiday season. It’s the best gift you can give to children (and adults), to our community, and to the future.

With my best wishes,

Jelani Cobb,
Dean, Columbia Journalism School