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 Michaeline Von Drathen, President of the Friends of Ridgewood Library, as a recipient of the 2023 Shining Star Individual Award!
Here is Michaeline's statement to the New York City Council’s Committee on Cultural Affairs, Libraries, and International Intergroup Relations during their Fiscal Year 2024 Preliminary Budget Hearing.
Good morning. My name is Michaeline Von Drathen and I am the President of the Friends of Ridgewood Library. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to testify about how budget cuts to Queens Public Library will be terrible for my community and borough.
QPL and the Ridgewood Library branch are extremely important to me and my family. The library has always been there for me at every stage of my life, always ready to help and at times provide comfort. My family has been going to Ridgewood Library for over 90 years. I have attended numerous arts and cultural programs, workshops, trainings, information sessions, and concerts, and have borrowed countless books, movies, and music. Sometimes, I just go to the library to escape for a bit. I always leave the library a little wiser and with a better outlook on life. These are just a few of the reasons why I use and love the library.
The library is a priceless and vital resource hub in my community. It is a trusted community institution and safe space, where all are welcome and have access to information and resources, all for free—summer meals, afterschool help, housing resources, English language classes, health and exercise programs, cooling centers in the summer, free Wi-Fi, access to computers, tax help, job training, and cultural programs, just to name a few. The library is also a space where people of all ages can gather to socialize. Whether you’re a child, older adult, a new parent, unemployed, new to the country/area, a reader, or looking to better yourself, the library is the place to go.
Libraries are where public funds should be invested, not taken away. To cut the library’s budget is to deny access to numerous resources, information, and programs for all, especially those in our community who are the most vulnerable. I can’t think of a better place that offers a better return on investment. To invest in libraries is to invest in the people and communities they serve. Libraries, the people who work there, and the people that visit them are essential to our democracy and to our community. So, please support Queens Public Library and reverse the proposed cuts.
Chair Ossé and Council Members, thank you for your time.
For more information about joining an existing Friends group or starting your own chapter for your neighborhood library, visit https://volunteer.queenslibrary.org/qplfriends.
If you're interested in other ways of volunteering at Queens Public Library, you can visit https://volunteer.queenslibrary.org.