Adding Classes and Content, Resurgent Libraries Turn a Whisper Into a Roar
almost 2 years ago
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"Story time at libraries in Manhattan and the Bronx is now so popular that ticket lines must be formed, while coding classes have waiting lists in the thousands. A library in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, runs a fully equipped recording studio that can be reserved at no cost; many libraries in the borough lend laptops and portable wireless devices to those without internet access at home. In Queens, which has a large South Asian population, a library in Jamaica offers sewing classes in Bengali for Bangladeshi women, some of whom now earn a living as seamstresses. Libraries in Flushing and South Jamaica teach social media skills to small-business owners."
"One young man wrote that he was homeless when he started going to the Arverne branch of the Queens Library, where the staff not only helped him study to become a security guard but also hired him to work as a mentor to teenagers. Today, that man, Richard Johnson, has two jobs and his own apartment. “Ever since becoming a member of the Queens Library, I have been bettering my life,” he wrote in his statement."
"Libraries are now open on Saturdays, and in some cases, Sundays, too. At the Queens Library, which has 65 locations, more than 765,000 people visited on Saturdays alone from last November to May. Library officials have hired another 129 staff members and spent more than $2.6 million on new books, including e-books and periodicals. “We are energized and serving the needs of the people who come through our doors,” said Dennis M. Walcott, the president of the Queens Library and former schools chancellor, who works from a desk on the main floor of the Central Library in Jamaica so he can take questions and complaints in person."
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