Aims To Bring Services Closer To People
City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn presented a proposal for a citywide system of “Mini City Halls” that will serve as a one-stop shop for New Yorkers seeking help navigating access to important programs and services.
Quinn proposed using the city’s 206 libraries as community resource centers, improving delivery and access of services. Council Cultural Affairs and Libraries Committee Chair Jimmy Van Bramer, the New York Public Library, the Brooklyn Public Library, the Queens Borough Public Library, the Center for an Urban Future and the Charles H. Revson Foundation participated in the press conference last Wednesday, Apr. 3, announcing the program.
“Libraries are a tremendous, trusted resource to communities across the five boroughs. Our libraries go above and beyond in their service to New Yorkers,” said Quinn. “I’m proposing a new way of tapping into this incredible resource, a citywide system of ‘Mini City Halls’ that will serve as a one-stop shop for help in navigating access to important programs and services. With Mini City Halls, we’ll bring all that City Hall has to offer right to New Yorker’s doorsteps.”
Specifically, Quinn called for a number of ideas to be explored as a way of achieving her proposal, including
– Creating a pilot program through a public-private partnership that would work to expand City services and CBO programming at local library branches. After neighborhoods for the pilot program are iden- the libraries would collaborate with stakeholders and partners to identify and meet community needs.
– Developing training and resources to provide libraries and their staff with the tools they need to help individuals seeking services navigate government resources.
– Identifying the most-requested services at each library branch and working with city agencies and their staff to facilitate access to services and resources.
– Creating a working group charged with developing a plan to identify the needs, key issues and opportunities at all branches across the three library systems. The working group would be composed of the city’s three library systems, city agencies, local elected officials, community based organizations and key community stakeholders.
“I applaud Speaker Christine Quinn for amplifying the important role libraries play in the development of New York City’s working class, our youth, elderly and immigrant populations,” added Van Bramer. “By enhancing the strengths our of our three great libraries, we’ll make them even more invaluable to the millions who rely on them for information and technology every day.”
“Libraries have always been community centers, places where people of all ages and backgrounds come to learn new skills, pursue interests and access educational and cultural resources,” said Linda E. Johnson, president of Brooklyn Public Library. “By expanding our work with government agencies we will offer even more opportunities to our patrons and by investing more in our branches we will enable more people to take advantage of our offerings, from our computers and technology training, to homework help and family literacy programs.”
“Libraries are important information crossroads in every community. Queens Library is grateful to Speaker Christine Quinn for her leadership in helping us build out even more valuable resources, and to the whole city Council for their support,” said Thomas W. Galante, president and CEO, Queens Library.