Philanthropist Group Gives Holiday Gift to Qns. Library

Aims To Reduce Impact Of Budget Cuts

Christmas was especially merry for the Queens Borough Public Library (QBPL) as it received a $1.5 million grant from the Carnegie Corporation of New York designed to soften the impact of previous budget cutbacks.

The philanthropic foundation created by steel magnate Andrew Carnegie in 1911 also provided grants of $1.5 million to the Brooklyn Public Library and $2 million to the New York Public Library, which operates branches in Manhattan, the Bronx and Staten Island.

All three library systems have endured funding cuts over the last several years resulting in layoffs and reductions in services. The $5 million in grants awarded by the Carnegie Corporation “will help to enrich and expand the library systems’ resources for all New Yorkers,” according to a statement from the organization.

“It is essential that New York City strive for excellence in its public education and in its library systems.” said Vartan Gregorian, president of Carnegie Corporation and a past director of the New York Public Library. “Democracy and excellence are not mutually exclusive; public institutions like our libraries can have both high visibility and high standards. The library’s cause is and must be everybody’s cause.”

“This generous gift is an investment in New York City’s intellectual capital, and it will allow our libraries to further their important work and continue serving as an invaluable resource for all New Yorkers,” added Mayor Michael Bloomberg in a statement.

While a spokesperson for the Queens Borough Public Library indicated that the group has not formed plans on what to do with the award, the money “is going to come in handy” after the system “sustained budget shortfalls for the past several years.”

“Queens Library is an anchor of lifelong learning for children and adults, supporting schools and education in and out of the classroom,” said Thomas W. Galante, president and CEO of the QBPL in a statement expressing his gratitude for the grant. “Future generations will be grateful for the Carnegie Corporation’s vision and support, as they have been since Andrew Carnegie created the Queens Library more than a century ago.”

Serving more than 2.2 million Queens residents at its 62 branches, Queens Library is considered to be the second-largest public library in the U.S. In addition to offering books, periodicals and other educational materials, the system also hosts a variety of programs including adult literacy services, after-school tutoring and cultural events.

More from Around New York