2013-03-13 / Front Page

Queens Library Foundation Receives Donations From Japan For Rockaways

(L. to r.); Diana Chapin, executive director, Queens Library Foundation; Mitsuhiko Kawai, president of the JCC Fund and president and CEO of Mitsui & Co. (USA); Ambassador Shigeyuki Hiroki, consul general of Japan in New York; Simone-Marie Meeks, representing Congressmember Gregory Meeks; Thomas W. Galante, president and CEO, Queens Library; Kumi Shimizu, general manager, Kodansha USA Publishing.(L. to r.); Diana Chapin, executive director, Queens Library Foundation; Mitsuhiko Kawai, president of the JCC Fund and president and CEO of Mitsui & Co. (USA); Ambassador Shigeyuki Hiroki, consul general of Japan in New York; Simone-Marie Meeks, representing Congressmember Gregory Meeks; Thomas W. Galante, president and CEO, Queens Library; Kumi Shimizu, general manager, Kodansha USA Publishing.Mitsuhiko Kawai, president of the JCC Fund and president and CEO of Mitsui & Co. (USA), Inc. and   Motohiro Satoh, executive director of the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry of New York (JCCI) presented the Queens Library Foundation with a donation of $10,000 toward rebuilding Rockaways libraries damaged in Superstorm Sandy. Kumi Shimizu, general manager, Kodansha USA Publishing, donated 200 books published by Kodansha USA Group including popular manga titles, to help restock the shelves. Ambassador Shigeyuki Hiroki, consul general of Japan in New York and Simone-Marie Meeks, wife of Congressmember Gregory Meeks, and Jason Hilliard, his executive director, were on hand to celebrate the donation. It was accepted by Thomas W. Galante, president and CEO of Queens Library and Diana Chapin, executive director, Queens Library Foundation.
The Japanese Chamber of Commerce made the donation in cooperation with The Nippon Club. Four Queens Library locations were badly damaged and more than 146,000 books, movies and other library items were lost in the storm. Queens Libraries have been operating out of temporary quarters while repairs are being made. They are important, popular community hubs where residents go for information, after school homework help, adult learning opportunities,  job preparedness and more.  Ad hoc library spaces were established within days of the storm waters receding. They provided residents with emergency information and relief supplies and were critical contact points for the damaged neighborhoods.
Meeks has been pivotal in bringing the libraries’ needs to the attention of international philanthropists and relief organizations. “A few weeks ago Ambassador Shigeyuki Hiroki, Consul General of Japan personally toured the libraries in the Rockaways, and we discussed ways in which Japan could assist our community in its rebuilding post Superstorm Sandy efforts,” stated Meeks, a member of the House Foreign Affairs committee.
Meeks continued, “As an avid reader I know firsthand that the Queens Library is the essence of our community, and I, along with my colleagues in state and city government are committed to ensure that there is a safe place for residents to continue to learn and discover.  I would like to thank Ambassador Hiroki, Mitsuhiko Kawai, president of the JCC Fund and President and CEO of Mitsui & Co. (USA) and Motohiro Satoh, executive director of the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry of New York, Kumi Shimizu, general manager, Kodansha USA Publishing for their generosity.”
“The JCC Fund is very pleased to aid the efforts to restore Queens libraries damaged by Hurricane Sandy. These libraries play a vital role uniting their communities, and when disaster struck they provided essential information and services to people affected by Hurricane Sandy,” Kawai said. “By supporting the restoration of the Queens libraries we sincerely hope to contribute to the overall recovery and rebuilding of the communities they serve.”
“We, the Kodansha USA Group, are delighted to donate our books to help local libraries recover from the damage suffered during Hurricane Sandy. The Japanese people will never forget all the help that the United States provided when Japan was devastated by the Great Tohoku earthquake and tsunami which took place on Mar. 11, 2011, and we’d like to take this opportunity to repay your generosity. The books are our silent ambassadors. And we hope everything is restored as soon as possible, and that the people of Queens enjoy our books,” said Shimizu.
“Queens Library joins the Rockaway communities in thanking the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry of New York in cooperation with the Nippon Club, and Kodansha Publishing for their generosity. Their largesse will speed the rebuilding of the collections and libraries that are serving a community in need,” said Galante.
The Queens Library Foundation is the fundraising arm of the Queens Library.

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