Two Brooklyn libraries have snagged top honors in the first-ever competition for the Charles H. Revson Foundation’s NYC Neighborhood Library Awards.
Five libraries around the city received the accolade, including the Sheepshead Bay library and the Macon library (located in Bedford Stuyvesant), with each library awarded $10,000 in prize money at the award ceremony that took place in midtown Manhattan.
All New York City libraries were in contention, with more than 4,000 nominations submitted by New Yorkers. They were narrowed down to 10 finalists and then the five winners were selected by panelists: R.L. Stine, author of the renowned Goosebumps series; Kurt Andersen, author and host of WNYC’s Studio 360; Carla Hayden, CEO of the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore and former president of the American Library Association; Fatima Shama, NYC commissioner of immigrant affairs; and Don Weisberg, president of the Penguin Young Readers Group.
Among the criteria: librarians making patrons feel like they are in their second home, even greeting them by name, and libraries that are reflective of the neighborhoods they serve, meeting the needs of residents and displaying cultural sensitivity, including in a wide range of programs for all ages and in a variety of languages.
“These five libraries are truly outstanding and reflect the extraordinarily important role that neighborhood libraries play in communities all across the city,” said Julia Sandorf, president of the Charles H. Revson Foundation.
The Sheepshead Bay library has three floors which includes three children and three adult rooms with topnotch technology. Sheepshead Bay library also includes Chinese, Polish, Russian, Turkish, and Urdu multilingual materials. Sheepshead Bay library has a load of programs and events, including Chess Workshops for all ages, English Conversation Groups, and Talent Shows.
The recently renovated (2006) Macon library is equipped with a children’s room with eight computers and an adult’s room with 10 computers and 15 laptops. Macon library also features the African American Heritage Center (AAHC) containing material on African American history and culture.
It also has material on the Caribbean and Africa. Macon library also has a ton of programs and events, including Neighborhood Story Time, Story and Music Jamboree, and Civil Rights Learn-In.
“Hundreds of thousands of Brooklynites depend on their neighborhood libraries for story times, homework help, computers, and access to books, DVDs and electronic resources,” stressed Linda Johnson, president and CEO of BPL. “We are grateful to the Charles H. Revson Foundation not only for its generous donation to Brooklyn Public Library, but also for raising awareness about the many ways our libraries contribute to the well-being of their communities.”
Head Librarian Antonia Bramble of the Macon library was very excited to be among the winners. “The library offers so much to the community and I’m thankful to the Revson Foundation for reaching out and showing the support is still strong for public libraries,” she said.
Bramble credits her hardworking staff and vibrant community for the success of the library, stating, “By the time the doors open, there is an influx of different races, a melting pot of people and there is no discrimination; we cater to the children as if they are our own.”
Bramble hopes to reestablish the friends group to have even more people in the community aware of the library’s events and programs, and get more teens to attend the programming geared towards them.
The nominations for the NYC Neighborhood Libraries awards were submitted from May 20 to July 1by students, parents, seniors, teachers and other residents.
Another Brooklyn branch, the Kings Bay library (Sheepshead Bay/Manhattan Beach) was a finalist; it and the other four non-winning finalists was each awarded $5,000.