PHOTO: The Ridgewood Community Library is one of the branches that host NYCitizenship counseling sessions. File Photo
By Michael V. Cusenza
Four Queens Library branches are now hosting opportunities to meet with a lawyer, free of charge, to find out how to apply for citizenship easily, and get free, confidential financial counseling, the Library announced last week. The sessions are part of the NYCitizenship program, and one of a few recent developments in the Library system.
NYCitizenship counseling confabs are by appointment only and held at Central Library, 89-11 Merrick Blvd. in Jamaica; Flushing Library, 41-17 Main St.; Jackson Heights Community Library, 35-51 81st St.; and Ridgewood Community Library, 20-12 Madison Street. To make an appointment, call 311 or (212) 514-4277.
NYCitizenship, according to the administration, is a collaborative effort by the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs, the Big Apple’s three public library systems, city agencies, and philanthropic organizations that provides free information on applying for citizenship as well as legal assistance in completing applications, and financial education to help new citizens achieve sustainability.
In other Library news, it announced this week that, beginning this summer, it will pilot “digital wallpaper” in select partner locations such as hospital waiting rooms and family shelters. The digital wallpaper will help library card holders express-download digital content to their smart phones or tablets using either a Quick Response code or a shortened URL. Customers who do not have a library card can register for a free e-card online, on-the-spot, the Library said.
While the system’s full Virtual Library will be available at each location, the digital wallpaper will emphasize content that is most needed at that location. For instance, children’s books will be promoted in a location with a lot of children. Material will be available in languages other than English, as well. The downloads will work via a Wi-Fi network, so in most cases, customers will not incur data charges.
Additionally, Library President and CEO Dennis Walcott last Thursday testified before the City Council Committee on Finance, jointly with the Committee on Cultural Affairs, Libraries and International Intergroup Relations, jointly with the Subcommittee on Libraries.
“In the six months since Queens Library implemented six-day service across the borough, more than 765,000 New Yorkers have visited the library on Saturdays,” Walcott said in a statement following the hearing. “Think about that – 765,000 in only six months and just on Saturdays. Those library visits are more than mere strolls in the neighborhood. They are people who are realizing more of their potential using library resources, whether it is to educate their children through early childhood literacy classes, or to learn a new job skill for themselves – they are all moving their lives forward. I am here today to tell you how much more we can do for the people of New York City should an additional $22 million – in addition to the FY 16 allocation – be invested in New York City libraries.”