How Rainha Lost Her Crown: A Mini-Story on the Importance of Reading and Libraries
A couple of years ago I received a contract to write an article for an online encyclopedia predicting how Latino voters might affect the 2012 election. My search for primary and secondary sources led me to the New York Public Library’s Research Library at 42nd St. and Fifth Avenue. Within minutes, the library staffer had set me up with a library card even though I lived in Albany rather than New York City; this card, she said, is available to all residents of New York State. My books arrived promptly, and I spent several days in the historic reading room, where I managed to focus on my research and resist the speedy WiFi available there.
Since then, I have become a regular user of the World Languages Collection at the Mid-Manhattan Branch across the street. The Portuguese books have played a major role in helping me become a fluent reader and writer of the language. I would like to see that collection expand. I would also like to see the branch libraries stay open longer, with larger collections and more programs. Libraries in New York City have suffered greatly from budget cuts in recent years. I hope that this will change under the administration of recently elected Mayor Bill de Blasio.
Last week I received an email from my friends at the New York Public Library, asking me to sign a petition in support of the NYPL, as the new mayor sets his priorities for the city. I signed, hoping that corresponding support also goes to the Brooklyn Public Library and the Queens Library, formerly known as the Queens Borough Public Library and the creator of the groundbreaking New Americans Program for immigrants to the borough and their neighbors.
If you are reading this and live in New York State (and especially if you live in New York City), I urge you to sign this petition by January 23, 2014. Signers of the petition will receive a free NYPL bookmark as well as the satisfaction of know you’ve done your part to insure that the free books, classes, programs, and other resources offered by the New York Public Library, the Brooklyn Public Library, and the Queens Library will be a major part of New Yorkers’ lives for years to come.
And if you’re still sitting on the fence, here’s a mini-story in LEGO of what can happen if our libraries do not get the support they need.