Two Brooklyn Branches Named Finalists In The ‘Oscars Of Libraries’


NYC Neighborhood Library Awards recently announced the 2017 finalists in the running for top honors and a $20,000 prize. Two of them are in Brooklyn—the Crown Heights and New Utrecht Libraries!

The NYC Neighborhood Library Awards are known as the “Oscars of Libraries.” No, they don’t air on television nor do they feature a fancy red carpet. Instead, they recognize and reward public libraries for being invaluable “pillars of their communities, offering a welcoming and safe environment, and free programs and services – all while on a tight budget,” according to a statement announcing the finalists.

From the ten finalists, judges will choose the top five branches who will receive $20,000 each. The remaining five finalists will each get $10,000.

The money the library branches receive will help them to extend, expand, and build on the services they provide.

This year, the capital needs (to fix maintenance and infrastructure problems) of the top ten finalists totaled $40.7 million, including $4.9 million for the Crown Heights Library.

For libraries to get nominated, New Yorkers had to show their appreciation. Some wrote about their library being their first stop after immigrating to the U.S., while others wrote about being the second generation to attend a specific library. This year marked a record 24,000 nominations!

Crown Heights Library. (Photo: Brooklyn Public Library)

“I have been coming to the Crown Heights Library since I was seven years old. This library is my favorite place, where I can come anytime and in any mood and always find something to cheer me up and make me happy,” said 13-year-old Sara. “This library is shaping who I am, and I truly don’t know who I’d be without it.”

“In keeping with the times, our library has skillfully adapted to the change in demographics by modifying and adding events, classes, and programs to embrace our new residents,” said Sonia, a library volunteer. “The New Utrecht Library has provided an educational and welcoming space for cultural exchanges. New Utrecht Library has truly brought our diversified community together as one.”

New Utrecht Library. (Photo: Brooklyn Public Library)

The awards aren’t done yet! Due to the outpouring of support from library-goers, a new award has been created to recognize libraries which have remained stellar over the years—the Perennial Excellence Award.

The Heckscher Foundation for Children will award the Heckscher Prize for Outstanding Service to Children and Youth (for a second year) to one additional library branch that has proven its commitment to this City’s youth through special programs, classes, and events. The winner of this award will also receive a prize of $20,000.

The winners will be announced in October. Keep your fingers crossed and stay tuned!

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