By Rebecca Henely
City Council Speaker Christine Quinn (D-Manhattan) and Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside) visited the Sunnyside Library last Thursday, where they were greeted with giant cards and handmade jewelry from grateful children and teenagers.
Quinn and Van Bramer were instrumental in preventing $17.6 million from being cut from the Queens Library system in the city budget, which would have caused severe cutbacks to library service and the possible complete closure of some libraries in the Queens system.
To celebrate that accomplishment, young library customers made oversized cards on posterboard, decorated with colorful pictures and messages like, “Thanks for Saving the Library Ms. Quinn and Mr. Van Bramer.” One card was “3-D” and each word of the thank-you message was written on a different piece of colored paper that stood up on the posterboard.
“They are the prettiest cards I have ever gotten,” Quinn told the children.
Galante said the work of Quinn and Van Bramer was able to restore $17.6 million for all libraries in Queens, which means the more than 60 libraries in the Queens Library system will be able to be open for a minimum of five days a week.
“So we can have every library open at least every day after school,” Galante said.
Quinn told the children the Queens Library system has the highest circulation in the United States.
“So you are leading the country in reading,” she said.
Galante said the efforts of Quinn and Van Bramer also resulted in $77 million for libraries being restored across all five boroughs.
“This is a real victory for Queens, a real victory for the city, kids, seniors and adults who use this library every single day,” Van Bramer said.
In a letter to Quinn and Van Bramer that she read during the visit, 15-year-old Tahmina Hussain said kids use the library every day.
“Summer would be extremely boring without the library,” Hussain said.
Hussain said she liked the library because it was a place to read books and hang out with her friends, and that her favorite book was “The Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins.
Quinn, who said she liked reading biographies when she was a pre-teen, thanked the kids for their support and said their passion for the library helped prove to the city that libraries are used.
Van Bramer called libraries an important part of the city’s education system.
“Libraries and the information they hold allow people to educate themselves and learn things they never imagined learning and experiencing,” Van Bramer said.
Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4564.