The New York Times held its fourth annual Librarian Award ceremonies at its Manhattan offices Wednesday night, and one of the honorees was Jane McGann of the Howard Beach branch of the Queens Borough Public Library.
McGann, who came to the branch three years ago, was nominated by Howard Beach residents Rose and Nicholas Bagnarol. Nicholas Bagnarol, his son, Rocco and McGann attended the reception together.
The Bagnarols nominated McGann based on the award’s criteria, which judged the quality of service the librarian provides to the public; their knowledge of the library and its resources, and commitment to helping the public. In their nomination letter, the Bagnarols stressed McGann’s work with area children, who use the library after school to do research and homework.
“Ms. McGann has definitely improved the quality of life of children and parents in our community. May we quote Hillary Clinton in saying, ‘it takes a village to raise a child.’ We are thankful to have Jane McGann in our community library. She plays an intricate part in raising…not only our two children, but all the children in our community,” they wrote.
The nomination was submitted in July and McGann got a phone call from a Times employee last month indicating she had won the award, which carries a $2,500 prize. She was amazed.
“I couldn’t believe it, and as the Times employee and I chatted, I asked, ‘Are you sure?’ She said, ‘Yeah, we’re sure.’ It’s a real honor and a real privilege. I feel very gratified,” she said.
A Flushing resident, McGann held several assistant manager positions before being named manager of the Howard Beach branch. She said this branch has a strong children’s library and the eight staff members help keep the “well-informed public” coming back every day, and not to cause trouble. “The students do their homework. We don’t have the problem of the unattended child here. Plus, they love the children’s librarian, who helps them read for pleasure.”
The Times received 1,500 applications from 47 states. Of the 27 awards, 15 were given to New York City-area and New York state librarians and the remaining 12 are spread across the country. This year, there were winners from as far away as Arizona, California and South Dakota.
“This program demonstrates, year after year, how crucial libraries and librarians are to people in every part of the nation. From big cities to small towns, people look to their local libraries for information, education, entertainment, culture and community, and the librarians are there to help them find it all,” said Alyse Myers of the Times.