Friends of QPL Shining Star 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 Friends of QPL Shining Star Award.

The Shining Star Award is given to individual Friends members that demonstrate exceptional leadership qualities that inspire and motivate others to action; and Friends groups that exemplify a collaborative spirit and strive to work together to provide ideas, resources, and opportunities that uplift their community.

We are proud to name the Friends of Kew Gardens Hills Library as recipients of the 2023 Shining Star Group Award, and their president, Ethyl Haber, as a recipient of the 2023 Shining Star Individual Award!

Here are some comments from Ethyl about her time with the Friends of Kew Gardens Hills Library.

It seems like yesterday when I walked into the Kew Gardens Hills meeting room and was greeted with a dusty odor of hundreds of books arranged in some orderly fashion known as a Library Book Sale, sponsored by the Friends Of Kew Gardens Hills Library. I recognized the ladies taking money at the front of the meeting room. I knew these women from United Federation of Teachers functions or even parenting playground days. We chatted and I was easily convinced to join their Board.

I was certain I first became involved with the Friends of QPL in 2013, because I found an ancient Kew Gardens Hills newsletter with my name listed as Treasurer. There definitely was a time I was called Member-At-Large, so I must have been with the Friends earlier, perhaps 2012 or 2011.  

I moved to Kew Gardens Hills over sixty years ago. I raised my son and daughter here; they are now adults with adult children of their own. I had retired after 29 years as an elementary school educator and and college professor. I had completed a Master's degree as well as a Doctorate in Curriculum and Teaching. Now that I was retired, I found time to continue taking Adult Education classes, but I still wanted additional structure in my retirement life.

My daughter in Boston was my inspiration. Emily was and still is the CEO of the Massachusetts Service Alliance. They are in charge of volunteerism and service for the state. How could Emily’s mother not be a volunteer? So this began my volunteering as a Friends Board member.

I became president of the Friends when there were only 3 of us left on the Board. Other former members moved away or sadly passed away. When the prior president moved, much to my dismay, I was “it.” That happened a year or two before the pandemic. My proudest moments are many, since I get as much pleasure from my role as I hope I give.

We are a definite asset to the Kew Gardens Hills community. Many families here are Jewish, and the Friends consider this when planning our programs. I was proud to see standing room only at our lecture on Jewish New York. I am proud to see the huge snowman my son mounted on the library wall so we can sell the snowflakes as a fundraiser. I am proud of the success of our book giveaway; that we had so many people interested in our Fusion Glass art class that we had to turn people away; that the ping pong table the Friends purchased for the library is constantly in use; that we work with the KGH children’s librarian to schedule Animals Alive and other educational programs.

As an active Friends group, we will continue to find new ways to raise funds for and support the library. We have funded a color printer, bridge tables, and mahjong sets. We want to encourage a Knitting and Crocheting Club, a Mahjong Club, and other activities.

Looking ahead, the Friends of KGH can remain relevant and an asset to the community by continuing to offer lectures and programs. We will reach out to other Friends groups to share ideas, and we are planning an "interest inventory" to further our awareness of what our community wants and needs.

Our Board members all come from different backgrounds, and we are of varied ages and stages in our life. We all bring our varied expertise to the Friends. There have been countless benefits for me, working alongside them. I still hope to increase our number of Friends members.

The KGH Library staff have been totally supportive and useful. They come to our monthly Board meetings, and together we work on ideas for programs, events, and the library's needs. Our library is a colorful, cheerful, and warm venue because of the amazing job our staff does.

For more information about joining an existing Friends group or starting your own chapter for your neighborhood library, visit

If you're interested in other ways of volunteering at Queens Public Library, you can visit