And the Library Oscar Goes To ...

By
Lion Statue and New York Public Library.
Photo: Rudy Sulgan/Corbis

It’s not Hollywood award-show season, but the biggest night in the New York library community is quickly approaching: On Wednesday, the city will announce the winners of the NYC Neighborhood Library Awards. Around the stacks, the awards are known as the Oscars for libraries.

More than 13,000 library patrons nominated their local branches for the contest, which is sponsored by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation and the Charles H. Revson Foundation, in association with WNYC’s “Brian Lehrer Show.” The submissions cited countless ways in which the branches enrich their neighborhoods. Five winning branches will each get $20,000. 

The awards are about much more than books. Patrons described how libraries offer free English classes to struggling immigrants, tutor kids with no one to watch them after school, and provide job training for the recently unemployed.

Ten finalists were chosen from across the city — from a branch in Mott Haven in the Bronx to another in Stapleton, Staten Island. Here are short videos with their inspiring stories.

West Village, Manhattan

The Gay Guys book group gets a home.

Clinton Hill, Brooklyn

A high-school student lands a perfect first job.

Clinton Hill Library from Well Exposed on Vimeo.

Parkchester, the Bronx

Unemployed, but now, she’s back on her feet.

Parkchester Library from Well Exposed on Vimeo.

Corona, Queens

A cultural center welcomes a tutor and her students.

Langston Hughes Library from Well Exposed on Vimeo.

East New York, Brooklyn

A 70-year-old Haitian immigrant learns how to read English.

New Lots Library from Well Exposed on Vimeo.

Mott Haven, the Bronx

A young man finds his way.

Mott Haven Library from Well Exposed on Vimeo.

Stapleton, Staten Island

For public-housing residents, the library is the community center.

Stapleton Library from Well Exposed on Vimeo.

Windsor Terrace, Brooklyn

Schoolchildren have a library to call their own.

Windsor Terrace Library from Well Exposed on Vimeo.

Cambria Heights, Queens

A girl with special needs learns social skills to go to school.

Cambria Heights Library from Well Exposed on Vimeo.

Sunnyside, Queens

A new immigrant yearns to learn English and make friends.

Sunnyside Library from Well Exposed on Vimeo.