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Thursday, November 20, 2014

You're Invited To Share Ideas About New Roosevelt Island NY Public Library At Community Town Hall Meeting Tonight -Come Join NYPL Reps, NYC Council Member Ben Kallos And Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer 6 PM Tonight At Good Shepherd Community Center

 Image from NYPL

As reported previously:
Please join The New York Public Library for a Community Conversation about the new Roosevelt Island Library
Thursday, November 20, 2014 | 6-8 PM
Good Shepherd Community Center
543 Main Street, Roosevelt Island

The New York Public Library is planning for a new home for the Roosevelt Island Library. We would like to hear your thoughts and ideas on the programs and services for the new library.
The new Roosevelt Island NY Public Library will be located on the ground floor of 504 Main Street and is scheduled to open in 2017.

Future Home Of Roosevelt Island NY Public Library

According to Diane Chin of the Roosevelt Island NY Public Library:
The following NYPL staff members will be speaking at the Town Hall Meeting on Thursday, November 20:

Nicole Nelson, Library Manager of the Roosevelt Island Library
Dawn Chance, Library Network Manager
Christopher Platt, Acting Vice President of Public Service
George Mihaltses, Vice President of Government and Community Affairs
Roosevelt Island's NYC Council Member Ben Kallos will be at tonight's NYPL Town Hall Meeting as well as Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer:
Roosevelt Island Parents' Network Coordinator (RIPN) Eva Bosbach adds:
Most parents are very happy with our local library, especially with the fact that we do have a NYPL branch right here on the island. Among the appreciated services RIPN members often mention are the children's books and play area, the three age specific story times as well as the craft workshops, the friendliness of the staff and the bathroom.

Improvement suggestions include sorting or at least labeling the books according to the age and reading level of the children and providing reading level recommendations lists, adding children's books and story times in different languages (and we have moms who would volunteer for that), expanding the children's area into a large space so that children of different ages have enough room to read and play, implementing more music classes and craft workshops while minding the lunch-nap time window (12-3pm), or adding a changing table at the bathroom.

Recently a concern was raised that books do not always get back to our library after they had been returned at other branches and that the toys need cleaning. Parents would also appreciate a more efficient communication strategy on the programs with the community, like a newsletter for the month where all upcoming children's workshops and activities would be listed. Since there already is a calendar paper version at the desk in the library, it should be possible do distribute such information electronically.

Overall, the library is a very valuable resource for families with children of all ages, especially during the winter time. We thank Nicole and the entire RI library staff for all their work and efforts!
Members of the RIPN had these suggestions for the new library.
  • The library has been a very important part of our lives since moving to the island eight years ago. My children have loved the accesibility of the children's books and the friendly librarians.
We recently learned that the NYPL has stopped returning to our branch books that have been returned at other branches. This means the stack have been depleted. Nothing is more important than having full stacks and for our librarians to be able to order books for our community with our needs in mind.

  • I would love for it to take on more of a community meeting space function. RIRA and RIOC meetings could be held there, boy scouts or girls scouts could meet there and so on. I think that the research function the library used to have is fading because most people do research online and they have computers so to keep libraries relevant they have to start doing other things, like serving a purpose in the community by meeting the primary meeting space/place for community info.
  • Here are my wishes. More Japanese/Spanish Books ( for kids and adult ) Spanish story time. Japanese story time. Clean the toys frequently especially in the winter ( I don't know how frequently they wash/clean the toys but I have never seen them cleaning them...). I notice they have a mandarin class (with little birds or something like that). With the high Hispanic population in the island it would be wonderful to also have Spanish for toddlers.
  • The most important part is that the library remains accessible for moms with babies, toddlers, both in strollers and that stairs are not involved. This branch has a shelf for children's book in Chinese, 10 books in Spanish and that's it. So being an International Island I don't see the point of only having a shelf in Chinese and not the rest of languages. If possible to have the super quiet reading area far far away from the children's area. I do not know why, adults complain more about toddler/babies being excited or not comfortable rather than school age children and early teenagers being to loud. So if possible, if the 2 areas are in opposite sides or different levels parents will be more comfortable going in the afternoons.
  • Library is for adults as well. What I believe is missing is books about art. Painting and history of music. This is something that interests me and I did not find it, although I have not asked the librarians.
  • I would also like to see expanded hours and a larger, more private kids area. Kids are loud, and instead of silencing them all the time, put their space far away from the tables where older people study. 
  • The Westport, CT library and Chicago libraries were featured earlier this week in the Wall Street Journal for investing in interactive robots (~$6k each for high end models) and 3D printers for their patrons' use, changing the way we see libraries as mere repositories for books but also as a community's resource for technology. Is NYPL considering a similar program? In light of Cornell tech campus moving to Roosevelt Island, it may be worth bringing this up. Who knows, Cornell may contribute to costs associated with such purchases.
  • The only other suggestion would be to have a small computer kiosk where we can look up books we are interested in either by author or title (specifically the children's books where we know the book and not the author). The labeling isn't great at the library, and I always need to ask a librarian for a book, or author, or where to find a certain level of reading for my child. They are always helpful but I remember back in the day, I was taught how to find books through the library card files (before everything became digital). It truly teaches children and adults how to research something individually. I feel like right now I'm always at the mercy of the librarians.
  • I would add more variety of activities for different ages (puppet shows, music activities...) and a more flexible schedule. Currently the only suitable activities for older kids is always at 3pm which often coincides with nap time.
  • I would also hope that they fix the outdoor space and remove that old "playground" which is terrible! It would be nice to have grass instead and a couple of benches and tables where some programs could be held in the good weather months.
  • I am also interested in the living library project. I see the beautiful garden but never quite understood how families can participate, specially the little ones. It would be great to see this program expanded.
Now it's your turn to tell the NY Public Library your thoughts and ideas on programs and services for our new library. You can tell them at tonight's Community Conversation.

More background on getting a new Roosevelt Island NY Public Library branch at this previous post.

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