2017-10-25 / Front Page

Queens Library Raises Half A Million Dollars At Annual Gala

By Dan Miller and Joyce Vetere Milowski

Queens Library CEO Dennis Walcott. Photos Victoria Canore/DMD IMAGESQueens Library CEO Dennis Walcott. Photos Victoria Canore/DMD IMAGESOn a beautiful Tuesday evening on October 17 hundreds of patrons of the Queens Library gathered together at the magnificent Queens Museum of Art to help raise money for one the busiest library systems in the United States. Actually, The Queens Library has led the nation in circulation figures for almost the last decade, creating opportunities for young and old alike to benefit their lives.

In addition to raising money needed to continue to offer state of the arts services to Queens Library card holders the leadership of president and CEO Dennis M. Walcott was very obvious when he was introduced to speak. Rather than just welcome everyone to this year’s gala he jumped off the stage to introduce each of the honorees with the spotlight on each one as he invited them to take a selfie with him, ala The Academy Awards a few years ago.

Following President Walcott’s  brief photo session with each of the honorees, that was broadcasted to every table a number of video screens (tablets) set at each table for the guests to see close up of each of the evening’s activities.

Judith Bergtraum, Chair of the Queens Library’s Board of Trustees spoke next. She Patricia E. Harris, Chief Executive Officer of Bloomberg Philanthropies, received an honor at the Queens Library Gala. Patricia E. Harris, Chief Executive Officer of Bloomberg Philanthropies, received an honor at the Queens Library Gala. welcomed all of the guests, including Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, former Queens BP Clare Shulman, Former BID Flushing Director Mable Law, Queens Director for Con Edison Carol Consuelo, Majority Leader of the City Council Jimmy Van Bramer, Assembly members David Weprin (24 Fresh Meadows, Jamaica Estates) and Aravella Simotas, (Astoria). Queens Borough President Melinda Katz along with her predecessors’ the late Helen Marshal and Clare Shulman have collectively provided  tens of millions of dollars to the thriving Queens Library.

The honorees for tha Queens Library Gala were Patricia E. Harris, Chief Executive Officer, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Lester W. Young, Jr. Ed.D., and Bank of America, with New York State President accepting the Award. Special recognition was given to Vincent Arcuri, Jr. is president, Board of Directors, Queens Library Foundation on his retirement from the Foundation after serving 30 years with the organization.

Patricia E. Harris as the CEO of Bloomberg Philanthropies, has the responsibility of overseeing the foundation that covers of former New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s charitable giving. Her work covers five key program area of giving- arts, education, environment, government innovation and public health. The goal of the foundation is to “help insure better, longer lives for the greatest number of people across the nation and across the world.” Ms. Harris served as the First Deputy Mayor of the City of New York under Mayor Bloomberg’s administration. She was the first woman ever to have served in that position.

Lester W, Young Jr. Ed.D. is currently in his third term as a member of the New York State Board of Regents. He co-chair’s the Regent’s P-12 Education Committee, and chairs the Regent’s Early Childhood Workshop and the Workshop to Improve Outcomes for Boys and Young Mem of Color. Dr. Young has been a lifelong educator, serving as a teacher, guidance counselor, supervisor of special education, principal, Associate Commissioner with the New York State Education Department and District Superintendent of Community School District 13. He was also credited with leading the first New York City Office of Youth Development and School Community Services. Recognized for his innovative style he was responsible for establishing some of the more successful middle and high schools in New York City reproducing some of the nationally recognized Algebra Project and Comer School Development Programs. Dr. Young has been recognized by many local, education, and civic organizations for his professional contributions.

The Queens Library Foundation also honored Bank of America for its continued support of the Queens Library. Bank of America works with their clients and communities where they are located to help promote economic and social progress around the world. Bank of America has four focus areas that they financially support: environmental sustainability, financial health, workforce development and education, community development, and supporting the economic, social and cultural life of their communities. Bank of America employees are seen every year volunteers thousand so hours in their neighborhoods and has helped more than 3,000 charities.

It is very clear that the nominating committee selected three outstanding candidates for their 2017 awards.

The Queens Gazette congratulates each of this year’s honorees and congratulates the Queens Library for continuing to be one of the top library systems in the world. Visit your neighborhood Queens Library and find out how you can improve your life using the facilities and wealth of library services provided at your local library.

The Gazette had a chance to meet with Queens Library President and CEO Dennis M. Walcott and got a smile and agreement when we showed him this quote from author T. S. Eliot, “The very existence of libraries affords the best evidence that we may yet have hope for the future of (humankind).”

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