By Sadef Ali Kully
After a years-long battle to restore public funds to Queens Library, libraries across the borough will officially begin six-day service Saturday.
In June, Mayor Bill de Blasio, along with City Council leaders, announced that an additional $39 million from public funds would be allocated to supplement library operational costs across the city. .
Queens Library Interim President and CEO Bridget Quinn-Carey said the extra funding made it possible for the borough’s libraries to be open six days a week as well as help expand the services and programming that residents have come to rely on.
“I am very pleased to announce that six-day service will begin Nov. 21. I’m excited to give our customers increased access to the library’s computers, books and wide range of programs,” Carey said. “We thank Mayor de Blasio, Speaker Mark-Viverito and the New York City Council for investing in our city’s libraries.”
This Saturday, each library will hold a special event to celebrate the six-day service. Library-goers will get a chance to participate in such activities as a children’s book reading with puppets, face-painting, balloon sculpture and music concerts. In addition, several City Council members will be present to meet and greet constituents at their respective libraries.
“It will be easy to get my daughters’ homework and projects done,” said Marie Seenjan, who has two girls in elementary school. “We only have one computer at home and twice the homework so it takes longer to get work done.”
Carey said libraries that have lacked resources and those in dire need of repair will get help.
Queens Library, which has 62 local community libraries, will be creating special new outdoor spaces with greenery and spots where people can access free Wi-Fi connection or just relax and read.
For infants and toddlers, libraries offer story time and such programs as Toddler Learning Centers and Kick off to Kindergarten, which provide age-appropriate learning experiences for children and also help families prepare their children for school at home.
According to Queens Library data, 2,000 school-age children come to libraries after school everyday to get help with their homework, participate in activities and explore the collection, under the guidance of specially trained homework helpers, teen tutors, and youth counselor professionals. Teenagers and young adults have the Teen Centers, where trained youth counselors and instructors welcome more than 500 teens and young adults daily.
Queens Library also accommodates adults and the elderly with such offerings as free cultural, informational, and educational programs in several languages to computer classes for seniors.
Reach Reporter Sadef Ali Kully by e-mail at skull