Dyker Library Takes Home $10K In NYC Neighborhood Library Awards

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Dyker Library (Photo: Google Maps)

Dyker Library (Photo: Google Maps)

Dyker Library (8202 13th Avenue) just won $10,000!

The six winners and five runner ups of the third annual NYC Neighborhood Library Awards — known as the “Oscars of Libraries” — have been determined.

The honor, an initiative of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation and the Charles H. Revson Foundation, awards $20,000 to six outstanding public libraries – places where all are welcome, the programs and resources are free, and the librarians are making it all happen on a shoestring budget.

“We are thrilled to honor these library branches as heroes in their communities,” said Julie Sandorf, President of the Charles H. Revson Foundation. “From ESOL classes for new immigrants, to after-school safe havens for at-risk youth, these institutions play a critical role in shaping the lives of New Yorkers all across the city. To keep up with the high demand for programs and services, we must continue to invest in our libraries.”

These are the winning libraries:

  • Arverne Library – Arverne (Queens)
  • Glen Oaks Library – Glen Oaks (Queens)
  • Inwood Library – Inwood (Manhattan)
  • Morrisania Library – Morrisania (Bronx)
  • Sunset Park – Sunset Park (Brooklyn)

In a new twist this year, a sixth branch was chosen to receive a $20,000 prize: the Heckscher Foundation for Children awarded the Heckscher Prize for Outstanding Service to Children and Youth to the Jerome Park Library (the Bronx)—a branch that has proven its commitment to the City’s youth through special programs, classes and events.

The five finalists, including our own Dyker Heights branch, were presented with checks for $10,000 for their remarkable service to the community. They are:

  • Aguilar Library – East Harlem (Manhattan)
  • Dyker Library – Dyker Heights (Brooklyn)
  • Far Rockaway Library – Far Rockaway (Queens)
  • Fort Washington Library – Washington Heights (Manhattan)
  • Kings Bay Library– Sheepshead Bay (Brooklyn)

 

To document the impact of these exemplary library branches on their surrounding communities, acclaimed filmmakers Juliane Dressner and Nara Garber produced a series of two-minute documentaries on each of the winning branches and five additional finalists.

The mini-documentaries feature stories of New Yorkers whose lives have been improved by libraries and their dedicated staff—individuals like Juan from Sunset Park, a recent immigrant who hopes to take advantage of the free legal services at the library so he can bring his wife to the U.S.; and 89-year-old Gertrude from Glen Oaks, who takes one-on-one technology classes so that she can use her iPad to stay connected with family. Watch all eleven films here.

More than 19,000 New Yorkers nominated their local library to win an award this year – up more than 40 percent from last year’s nominations. This increased participation underscores the ever more vital role libraries play in our communities and the many ways in which libraries support New Yorkers in their daily lives. The nominations were evaluated by Foundation staff and an independent review committee, focusing on libraries that demonstrated exceptional commitment to the needs of their respective neighborhoods. Site visits were conducted at potential finalist branches, and 10 finalists were chosen.

The winners were selected by a distinguished panel of judges: Pulitzer Prize-winning author Stacy Schiff; acclaimed New Yorker writer and author Jelani Cobb; National Book Award finalist and author Angela Flournoy; Richard Reyes-Gavilan, Executive Director for the DC Public Library and former Chief Librarian for the Brooklyn Public Library; and Peter Hatch, Chief of Staff to Dr. Herminia Palacio, Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services.

“Congratulations to the six winning neighborhood libraries and the five finalists who have gone above and beyond to provide exceptional services and programming for their communities,” said Sarah Needham of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation. “In neighborhoods from Glen Oaks to Inwood, these libraries are critical resources for New Yorkers. For providing excellent after-school programs, job search assistance, story-time and adult learning classes, and much more, our City depends on our excellent libraries now more than ever.”

Last year’s winners put their awards to good use. The Langston Hughes Community Library in Queens has added to the collections and lectures available at their Black Heritage Reference Center. New Lots Library in Brooklyn purchased new technology and launched an entrepreneurial series for teens. Stapleton Library in Staten Island is planning arts programs for adults and tech classes for students. In the Bronx, the Parkchester Library is adding furniture and materials to their “Spot for Tots,” and the Mott Haven Library is remodeling their Children’s Reading Room with an interactive wall display.