Queens Public Library's Go the Extra Mile (GEM) Award

It’s National Volunteer Week! Service Takes Many Forms here at the Library, and one of the ways we recognize it is with our Go the Extra Mile (GEM) Award!

The GEM Award is given to those QPL volunteers who go above and beyond in their service and embody the Library’s mission “to transform lives by cultivating personal and intellectual growth and by building strong communities.”

We are proud to name Tammy Reed, a QPL General Volunteer, as one of our 2023 GEM Award recipients! Read our interview with Tammy below.

Learn more about volunteer opportunities with Queens Public Library at https://volunteer.queenslibrary.org.


Tell us a little about yourself.
My name is Tammy Reed. I am a realtor looking forward to retiring in a couple of years.

Give us 3 words that best describe your personality.
Happy, Kind, Creative.

What was your first memorable experience at Queens Public Library?
My first memorable experience at QPL was getting my very first library card as a teenager. It meant that I could now borrow books that I couldn't buy and it afforded me the opportunity to go to "neverland" for a couple of hours. It's something I still do today. I love fiction and escaping the world!

Why did you first volunteer with QPL? What was your first volunteer experience at the Library?
I volunteered with QPL because I wanted to give back to my community, as the community (specifically the St. Albans branch) has given me so much. My first volunteer experience with QPL was joining the St. Albans Friends Group.

Tammy Reed

"Tammy is a longtime supporter of Queens Public Library and a shining example of a committed volunteer in service to others. She has worked to bring cultural enrichment programs to St. Albans and increase awareness of activities and resources provided at the local QPL branch. Regardless of the task given, Tammy is always ready to help, is a joy to work with, and brings as much energy to the final hours of a volunteer project as she does to its start. Her selflessness, dedication, and commitment to serving others makes her an exceptional volunteer. We are grateful for her contributions and honored to have her as a member of our team."—QPL Volunteer Services


Can you share some of the ways that you have volunteered at QPL and your reasons for volunteering?
I have participated in the Mobile Pantry Food Distribution at St. Albans, and on numerous occasions (including during the pandemic) I traveled to Central Library and helped put together hundreds of Grab-and-Go Kits to be distributed to various communities in Queens. My favorite activity was the Mobile Food Pantry Distribution, because I had the opportunity to work directly with the community.

Can you name some skills that you have learned while volunteering at the Library, and how they are useful to you?
The skills that I have acquired are being a team player and observing leadership skills. Being a team player is always an invaluable skill to have, as a lot of projects require the ability to get along with others and work side-by-side with others. With regards to leadership skills, I got to see how Scott, Jerrie, and Dalicy in Volunteer Services interact with the public; keep team members in order and on task; show compassion where it is needed; and make sure that the interaction between team members and the public, whatever the activity, is fun.

QPL continues to explore different ways for its volunteers to contribute to the community. What are some new ways you would like to support the community through the Library?
I would like to see the St. Albans Friends Group reestablished and more classes at the St. Albans branch for those seeking employment, i.e., OSHA classes. Also, more activities to engage seniors in the community, i.e., a yoga class.

Give us some tips for anyone who is thinking about volunteering at the Library.
Be open to being told what to do and be willing to give from the heart. You can't go wrong when it comes from the heart.