P177Q school community in Flushing celebrates opening of new library

(From l. to r.) UFT Chapter Chair Steven Mintzer, Council member Linda Lee, P177Q Principal Christopher Duffy and Council member Sandra Ung with the school’s mascot at the opening of the new library on Wednesday, March 2. (Photo courtesy of Councilwoman Ung’s office)

Students, teachers, faculty and staff members at P177Q in Flushing celebrated the grand opening of their new library on Wednesday, March 2, also known as National Read Across America Day. 

Councilwoman Sandra Ung, District 27 Superintendent Ketler Loussaint, Principal of P177Q Christopher Duffy and representatives from the United Federation of Teachers (UFT) and Council of School Supervisors and Administrators (CSA) were in attendance for the unveiling of The Robin Sue Ward School Library for Exceptional Children. 

Councilwoman Sandra Ung speaks at the library opening ceremony. (Photo courtesy of Councilwoman Ung’s office)

The new library was made possible thanks to over $100,000 in funding provided by a grant from The Edith and Frances Mulhall Achilles Memorial Fund and Minibuild Grant from the Department of Library Services.

“This new library will give our students the opportunity to access culturally responsive texts, 21st-century technology and equitable resources. It will give our students the opportunity to learn work-based library skills and gain employment in the future,” Duffy said. 

Duffy thanked elected officials, Queens Public Library representatives, DOE leadership, UFT, CSA, parents and students for coming to celebrate the opening of the library. He also thanked the school’s library media specialist, Brittany Falesto and NYC DOE Director of Office Library Services Melissa Jacobs, for creating a vision for the new space. 

The idea to convert a cluttered book room into a new library first came about in 2019. The old books were donated to schools overseas and other classrooms and replaced with age-appropriate and sustainable materials, while bulky bookshelves were removed to open up the space. Today, moveable furniture allows the space to be transformed to suit a number of different programs and activities. 

Despite the pandemic and a flooding incident at the school, Ung said she was happy to celebrate the new library with the students.

“I can think of no better way to celebrate National Read Across America Day than opening a new library for the students at P177Q,” Ung said. “When I first won election in November, this was one of the first schools in the district that I visited. I hope this is the first of many collaborations.”