Sure, spring brings to mind plans for the outdoors, as it should, but those April showers can sometimes put them on hold. When they do, the perfect place to spend your time in Queens is at the library. And the borough’s 62 locations offer so much, from the expected books to entertainment, job-seeking and home-buying assistance, children’s clubs and more, you just may want to go there even when it is sunny out. It’s with good reason the Queens Library’s slogan is “Enrich your life.”
April is National Poetry Month, and the library has a slew of special events planned to celebrate it. Just a few are listed below (the library provides so many programs its monthly newsletter looks almost like a magazine; April’s is 40 pages. Full listings are always posted at queenslibrary.org).
The Langston Hughes Library in Corona is hosting a poetry-writing workshop series for adults with George Edward Tait, dedicated to the legacies of poets Amiri Baraka and John Watusi Branch. It is being held every Tuesday this month at 5:30 p.m.
A poetry workshop for children ages 6 to 12 called “Poetry is Lively!” will be held at the Flushing Library April 14 and 16 at 2:30 p.m. The kids will learn about the music of poetry from Mother Goose to Shakespeare, and then get to write their own verses.
Another poetry workshop for teens is going on at the LeFrak City Library, but it’s set to end April 11. Both children and teens are welcome to the “Poetry Residency with Community Word Project” event at the Far Rockaway Library, however. It began April 2 and will continue at 3:30 p.m. April 23 and 30.
Other poetry-related events, many focused on the works of particular ethnic groups, are being held at library branches across Queens. And more are coming, including some looking at the most modern types of verse.
“Hip-hop and rap are great examples of how poetry continues to evolve into new art forms,” said Kelvin Watson, the library’s vice president for digital service and strategy. “Queens Library is looking forward to launching its Hip-Hop Elements initiative with ‘31 Days of Non-Stop Hip-Hop’ in May. It will celebrate Queens’ cultural heritage and explore how rhyme and rhythm express emotion.” Cool.
Given Queens’ well-earned reputation as home to many immigrants, it’s no surprise the library offers many programs in languages other than English. Those include Beginners’ Sewing for Women in Bengali at the Central Library at 10 a.m. April 16 and 17; Job Interview Strategies in Chinese at the Flushing Library at 3 p.m. April 30; and an Afghan Calligraphy Workshop in Persian (and English) at the Pomonok Library in Flushing at 6 p.m. April 30. And again, that’s just a sampling of what’s on the agenda.
“Queens Library is the international leader in providing library services to new Americans by providing them with popular reading materials and programs in their preferred languages,” said Fred Gintner, the assistant director for the New Americans Program & International Relations. Noting that immigrants are also introduced to other library services, including ones that help children succeed in English-speaking schools, Gintner added, “Multilingual skills are so valuable in today’s economy. There is no better place to encourage it than at Queens Library.”
But what if you actually can’t get to any of the library branches for any event because you’re elderly or for some other reason are unable leave home? That’s where Mail-a-Book comes in. It doesn’t just provide library materials for all ages sent to your door, though it certainly does that. Mail-a-Book also offers a teleconferenced program open to older people and the homebound.
Just two of the events you can join in from home this month are “You Be the Judge,” in which real court cases will be discussed at 11 a.m. April 16, and “Share Your Memories,” a writing workshop set for 11 a.m. April 30. Anyone who wants to participate in Mail-a-Book teleconferences must call (718) 464-0084 to register. An orientation for new members will be held at 11 a.m. April 14; call (718) 464-0074 for information on that.
“Older adults want, need and deserve lifelong learning opportunities and enrichment,” said Madlyn Schneider of the library’s Older Adult Services. “Queens Library has a full schedule to engage, inform and entertain, whether they are able to visit the library in person or want to participate virtually from their homes.”
“Enrich your life”: It’s what the library helps Queens residents do every day.