All Queens Libraries open on Saturday

Eight-year-old twins Young Tak and Young Rae Kim from Elmhurst had to write a report about bats recently.
“First, I had to find a book, learn about the topic and then write about it,” Young Rae said of the school project.
So, the boys headed to their local library in Jackson Heights, one of 21 Queens libraries that has regularly been providing Saturday service and one of six open on Sundays. Every weekend and after school, the studious youngsters pore over books and comics in the children’s section of the branch, and now that six-day library service has been restored throughout the city, kids and adults in all five boroughs - more than 200 library branches - can do the same.
On Saturday, July 14, the first day that Saturday library service was restored throughout the 63 Queens Library branches, local politicians also pledged to push for seven-day service. Currently, the Central Library in Jamaica and branches in Elmhurst, Flushing, Jackson Heights, Kew Gardens Hills, and Richmond Hill are open on Sunday.
“We will do everything we can to make sure that by the time we leave office that we’ve taken us back to seven days per week,” said City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, speaking to children at the Jackson Heights branch.
“Libraries are not only places of learning; they are places where you can explore the furthest corners of the globe, regardless of your economic background,” Quinn said. “Increasing service to six, full days will give our kids the chance to take a giant leap toward their future, through enhanced access to summer and after school programs. It will also allow harder working New Yorkers to improve their careers by making services more readily available.”
Quinn said that the Council made six-day library service a top budget priority, and as a result, $42.7 million baselined funding in the FY2007 budget was allotted to opening libraries in all five boroughs. The cost to open all Queens Libraries was about $11.3 million.
Next year’s budget calls for $320 million in funding for the city’s three library systems - Queens, New York Public, and Brooklyn Public - and the money will pay for Saturday service and additional literacy programs, career development, and technology.
To staff Queens Libraries on Saturdays, the system will need to hire up to 200 additional employees.
At the Jackson Heights ceremony, City Councilmember Helen Sears pointed to the work of her aunt, Elvira McGuinness, who gathered information about crafts at her local library and went on to become an artist.
“This is an example of the excellent work you can do with a library card,” Sears said.

More from Around New York