The NYC Neighborhood Library Awards recognize and reward public libraries for being the unsung heroes of New York – places where all are welcome, the programs and resources are free, and the librarians are making it all happen on a shoestring budget. The awards are an initiative of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation and the Charles H. Revson Foundation.
Starting today, New Yorkers can nominate their library for exceptional service to the community, via a form available online, in paper at local branches, and in six languages. Based on patrons’ nominations, data on circulation and program attendance, visits to see the branches in action, and the recommendations of a philanthropic review committee, the pool will be narrowed down to ten finalists. From there, a group of eminent judges will pick five winning branches for the $20,000 prize. The remaining finalists will receive $10,000 each.
Last year, more than 13,000 New Yorkers wrote in, and the five winners have already put their winnings 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.
“Libraries enrich our lives and our communities by providing vital, free resources to all who walk through their doors,” said Andreas Dracopoulos, Co-President of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation. “These prizes not only honor our libraries, but allow them to expand their important work and reach even more New Yorkers.”
“New Yorkers love their libraries – whether they’re providing job training, language skills, early childhood education, or simply a quiet place to read, these institutions play an invaluable role in our lives. Our elected officials made a historic investment in libraries last year, but our branches still haven’t fully recovered from years of cuts,” said Julie Sandorf, President of the Charles H. Revson Foundation. “These awards allow us to highlight our local library heroes, and demonstrate the remarkable returns we see when we invest in libraries.”
Nominations can be submitted at www.nyclibraryawards.org, through each library system’s website, or in person at any neighborhood library, and will be accepted through December 18, 2015. This year’s winning branches will be selected by a panel of judges including Pulitzer Prize-winning author Stacy Schiff, acclaimed New Yorker writer and author Jelani Cobb, and Richard Reyes-Gavilan, Executive Director for the DC Public Library, and former Chief Librarian for the Brooklyn Public Library.
About the Charles H. Revson Foundation
The Charles H. Revson Foundation (www.revsonfoundation.org), established in 1956, operates grant programs in Urban Affairs, Jewish Life, Biomedical Research, and Education. The Urban Affairs program focuses on projects that enhance New York City’s vitality as a leading and livable urban capital; it continually seeks opportunities to strengthen the city’s pluralistic communities and civic spaces, re-envisioning public libraries, affordable housing, and local public affairs journalism to cultivate knowledgeable, creative urban residents. The Jewish Life program operates in the United States, focusing on projects that reinterpret Jewish tradition for an ever-more-diverse community; and in Israel, where the Foundation partners with Israeli organizations to build a stronger, more inclusive society for young people. The Biomedical Research program is devoted to strengthening basic research in the biomedical sciences by awarding fellowships to exceptionally talented scientists. The Education program supports institutions and projects that seek to provide broad access to the knowledge and resources that sustain an informed and engaged citizenry.