“When the Peninsula branch of the Queens Library opens to the public on Tuesday, it will be the first time in nearly three years that local residents have a fully restored library. The library, which just received a $3.6 million renovation, has been closed to the public since superstorm Sandy. The facility, which had been slated for renovation before the storm, was decimated: Water inside the building rose to 4 feet, tossing shelves and books around the room. Data and electrical wires were destroyed, a window shattered and books washed down the street.” (via WSJ)
“The Queens Library, criticized for the free-spending ways of its former CEO, held its first public budget hearing Monday night as its new leaders pledged an era of accountability. “Our goal having this hearing tonight is to create a transparent budget process,” said Carl Koerner, president of the Board of Trustees. A small crowd of library patrons and boosters attended the hearing at the Flushing Library to ask for extended library hours, renovations and more money for books and other materials.” (via NY Daily News)
“Four top Queens Library officials resigned last week as the institution continues to reorganize following the ouster of its longtime president amid a financial and management scandal and criminal probe. The four executives who quit, who all bore the title of vice president, are Darlene Askew-Robinson, the library’s general counsel; Lisa Epps, who handled information technology; Angelica Huynh-Rivera, the head of human resources; and Frank Genese, who oversaw capital projects.” (via Queens Chronicle)
“Queens Library President and CEO Tom Galante, under fire from some city officials and at least one state lawmaker for making nearly $400,000 a year, told members of the borough’s press corps that he probably works close to 100 hours a week. Galante makes $392,000 a year as head of the library, a private, nonprofit group that contracts with the city to provide services. His salary was revealed earlier this month by the Daily News, prompting the City Council to hold a hearing and the city comptroller to launch an audit of the library.” (via Queens Chronicle)
“Mark is just one of many young scofflaws who are taking advantage of a program by the Queens Borough Public Library intended to help younger library users eliminate their overdue fines. While the penalties for failing to return an item on time for library users younger than 21 might not seem high – 10 cents per day for a book, $1 per day for a CD or DVD – they can add up and be onerous for children from families of limited means. And once library users have accumulated a total of $15 in fines, their borrowing privileges can be suspended.” (via NYTimes.com)
WNYC Culture – “Digital books are the fastest growing area of publishing, and libraries are seeing a surge in demand for e-book titles — but finding an e-book can be tough. The Central Library in Queens became the first in New York City to start lending e-readers last month — 50 of them, pre-loaded with dozens of books each. “They went as quick as the customers came through the door, the e-readers was gone,” librarian Wanda Wright said.”
Bayside Patch – “Budding activists make bracelets to raise awareness for the Bay Terrace Branch of the Queens Library.”
Queens Courier – ““Save our libraries.”
This was the chant by local public officials and book-lovers who braved the rain and united on May 18 to protest proposed state budget cuts to Queens Library.
Queens Borough President Helen Marshall and City Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer led the rally of supporters carrying placards and posters inside Flushing Library to re-establish funding.
“Libraries provide invaluable services and programs that enrich our communities and improve the academic performance of children in our schools. I will work tirelessly with my colleagues in the City Council as well as advocates to restore as much funding as possible,” said Van Bramer, who is Chair of the Cultural Affairs and Libraries Committee.”
CBS – “Dozens of protestors gathered outside the Peninsula Branch library in Queens Saturday, calling for additional funding of public libraries.
Demonstrators were protesting against possible cuts that could close libraries and eliminate jobs and after school programs.”