Later this year Andrew Jackson, executive director of the Langston Hughes Community Library and Cultural Center in Corona, Queens, will be leaving the position he has held since 1980 to write and teach. A Queens native, Jackson grew up in East Elmhurst, receiving a degree in Business Administration from York College at the City University of New York and his MLS from Queens College. Stepping into the role will be Mikisha Morris, who has spent the majority of her career in nonprofit and public education administration in Philadelphia. Morris recently earned her doctorate in Educational Leadership, focusing on the use of cultural arts programs to serve urban communities.
Former New York City Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott was named president and CEO of Queens Library (QL) on March 1. Walcott, a native of Queens, was selected by the board after a six-month national search. He succeeds Bridget Quinn-Carey, who has served as interim president and CEO since former QL president Thomas W. Galante was placed on administrative leave and then fired in December 2014 for alleged misconduct and mismanagement of library funds. Quinn-Carey will return to her prior role as QL executive vice president and COO. Assuming Walcott’s appointment is approved by the New York State Department of Education (DOE), he will assume his duties at QL on March 14. Although he is not a librarian, Walcott’s career has been devoted to education and social services, serving high-level administrative roles in New York City’s government and community organizations.
Kelvin Watson last month was named Chief Innovation and Technology Officer for Queens Library (QL) in New York. In addition to his prior position as QL’s VP of digital services and strategy, Watson’s background includes positions at companies and organizations including The Library Corporation (TLC), Ingram, Borders, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. He is also the current president of the Black Caucus of the American Library Association (BCALA).
Former Queens Library (QL) president Thomas W. Galante filed a $2 million suit against his former employer on November 1. Galante, who was placed on administrative leave by the library board of trustees in September 2014 and fired in December for alleged misconduct and mismanagement of library funds, is claiming breach of employment, among other points.
In early May, LJ reported that New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s proposed executive budget was set to cut $10 million in funding from New York City library systems. Library advocates rallied against the Mayor’s prospective cuts, and in June there was a massive turnaround—for FY16, the Mayor’s announced budget ultimately included a cumulative $43 million for Brooklyn Public Library, New York Public Library, and Queens Library (QL).
A unique partnership between New York’s Department of Education and the city’s three public library systems, MyLibraryNYC has made its way into 488 pre-K–12 schools across the city this past school year, serving more than half a million students and over 60,000 educators.
NYC Neighborhood Libraries_groupLibrary leaders, staff, friends, and council members gathered May 20 in a grand celebration atop New York City’s Hearst Tower to for the second NYC Neighborhood Library Awards. This year, the Charles H. Revson Foundation and the Stavros Niarchos Foundation teamed up to make the awards even more impactful, doubling the total award amounts and creating strong engagement with library users along the way. The ten winning branch libraries were selected from more than 13,000 nominations. The five winners, which each received $20,000, are: Langston Hughes Library, Corona (Queens); Mott Haven Library, Mott Haven (the Bronx); New Lots Library, East New York (Brooklyn); Parkchester Library, Parkchester (the Bronx); and Stapleton Library, Stapleton (Staten Island).
New York City’s libraries get a fair amount of attention, but all too rarely is it directed to the branches. Those neighborhood hubs arguably have the greatest impact and potential, cultivating the essential connection to the community at the most local levels in more than 207 buildings. Unfortunately, according to the Center for an Urban Future, they are also at risk. The time has arrived to embrace a new citywide strategy to deliver excellent library services to all New Yorkers.
Within 24 hours of being dismissed by the recently reconstituted Queens Library (QL) Board of Trustees on the evening of December 17, former QL President and CEO Thomas Galante announced via his lawyer Hillary Prudlo that he would sue for wrongful termination. The reorganized board had placed Galante on indefinite, paid administrative leave on September 11, citing an ongoing audit of QL’s finances by New York City comptroller Scott Stringer, and investigations by the city Department of Investigation (DOI) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) regarding construction contracts awarded by the library.