Jennifer Manley, the Queens Library’s vice president for government and community affairs, was honored at the White House Tuesday as a “Champion of Change” for her service to the community.
Manley was one of just 12 people from libraries and museums across the country who received the honor.
“Jennifer Manley is part of the leadership team for one of the busiest libraries in the nation, circulating over 13 million items from a 7.5 million [item] collection annually and welcoming over 13 million visitors a year to its 62 library locations,” the White House said in a prepared statement, noting that the Queens Library is a leader in providing services to the borough’s large immigrant population. “Manley believes in the power of information and education to improve lives, one at a time, neighborhood by neighborhood.”
Manley said she was thrilled to be recognized, but she was quick to share credit with her colleagues.
“Obviously it’s an incredible, incredible honor to be recognized by the White House for the work that I’m doing,” she said. “It’s also just a reflection of our whole Queens Library team, including Tom [Galante, the system’s executive director], the Board of Trustees and the leadership team, and the staff working the front lines in the library every day.”
The award presentation was done by Susan Hildreth, director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services. The honorees also held a panel discussion with Hildreth and White House officials.
“They really brought together some of the best, most interesting people in library land,” Manley said. “The panel discussions will help us be even stronger in the future as we continue the work we’re doing to reach the whole community, including immigrants. I talked a lot about immigrant integration at the panel.”
Queens Reps. Steve Israel (D-Queens, LI), Joe Crowley (D-Queens, Bronx) and Grace Meng (D-Flushing) all lauded Manley in statements issued Wednesday.
“Jennifer has been a tremendous asset to the Queens Borough Public Library, and this award exemplifies the outstanding work she’s done to make a difference throughout the many communities of Queens,” Meng said. “I am proud to congratulate her for a job well done. Congratulations, Jennifer!”
Before working for the library, Manley was the Queens director of the Mayor’s Community Affairs Unit. Prior to that, she was an award-winning editor for the Queens Chronicle — though the honors she earned here were presented in the state capital district, not the national one.