Borough President Melinda Katz, Councilwoman Karen Koslowitz and library CEO Dennis Walcott visited the mobile library when it stopped at Borough Hall last Thursday.
Katz, who steered $13 million in capital investment toward the library in 2015, found the bus to be a great way to connect with the various communities.
“Folks who may not be aware of the great assets of the library might get an opportunity to see the books, get a library card and see how easy it is to take books out,” Katz said. “The library allows you to pique your curiosity in Queens and other countries as well because it has such a diverse inventory.
“The role of the library is to be part of the infrastructure of the entire family,” she added. “There are seniors who come in, many do not have access to newspapers that cost money, and the library provides computers and WiFi that a family might not have."
One of the most important aspects of the mobile library is to have children interacting with other kids of all backgrounds, Walcott said.
He witnessed that bonding experience firsthand on Wednesday when dozens of young children boarded the bus at the HANAC Harmony JVL Innovative Senior Citizen Center in Astoria.
In six days, the mobile library visited 17 stops around the borough. The bus had about 1,000 visitors before the week was up.
According to Julia Hau, who manages the collection for the mobile library, the collection is consistently being updated at the Queens Village depot in preparation to fit the needs of each community being visited.
For instance, when visiting Fresh Meadows Hua adds a Chinese section for the local community.
Some of the locations along the route included August Martin High School in Jamaica, Stop & Shop in Springfield Gardens, Kissena Park, Blanche Community Day Care in Far Rockaway, the Flagship Diner in Briarwood and The Shops at Atlas Park in Glendale.
Besides a fully stocked bus complete with books and a digital station where visitors can watch children’s educational programs, there were other programs taking place.
At Blanche Community Day Care and the Pan American Hotel, children were able to learn the fundamentals of STEM with special Lego blocks. Violinist Shayshahn "Phearnone” MacPherson also performed at some spots.
“We’re trying to serve the whole community, from the young to the old, and when it comes to the usage of the bus, it’s really up to the community,” Hua said.