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  • The New York Public Library

Bridging the Education Gap

For more than 125 years, The New York Public Library has been dedicated to providing free and equitable access to educational programs and resources to New Yorkers of all ages, as well as a global audience of scholars and researchers. The Library is an integral part of the neighborhoods we serve—and that has never been clearer than during our return to full service over the last year.

In 2021, the Library worked to reconnect with our communities in the Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island, doubling down on our efforts to provide the tools and resources needed to rebuild. New initiatives launched this year have sought to reduce systemic inequities and expand access to learning to everyone. The annual support that the Library receives from The Ambrose Monell Foundation is essential in ensuring that activities like these can take place.

Delivering For All Our Communities

The Library’s commitment to making lifelong learning accessible to all New Yorkers was felt across the system this year. In the fall, our all-new STEAM Discovery Kits, featuring telescopes, robots, engineering materials, and books, were made available to borrow from 30 branch libraries in historically underserved communities. NYPL After School, which offers homework help, enrichment, and more, returned to 20 locations in September, and NYPL also launched the Teen Reading Ambassadors program, which matches teens with younger kids as mentors and tutors around reading and literacy. Earlier this year we also welcomed patrons to new education spaces for all ages at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Library (SNFL): the Children’s and Teen Centers, the brand-new Pasculano Learning Center, and the Thomas Yoseloff Business Center—the latter two offering services for adults including language learning, business and finance, technology, and job and career support.

Supporting the Youngest New Yorkers

As the city returned to near full strength and all the Library’s available branches reopened, we distributed more than 100,000 reading kits—with free books, activity packets, and gifts— and Summer Learning activity packs to kids and teens across the city. This year’s Summer Learning program, which engaged kids online and in branches, to promote reading, learning, and having fun with the aim of combating the so-called “COVID slide.” This year also saw the introduction of our new multilingual dial-a-story service, Story Line, which makes new stories read by librarians available weekly by phone and as a podcast, another way the Library is working to better connect with and serve patrons.

Expanding Access to All

Throughout 2021, as NYPL relaunched services in our physical branches, we continued to provide a robust digital presence, sharing book lists, offering online programs, and providing digital resources from databases to e-books. Whether online or in our branches, we reminded our patrons across the city that—no matter how you engage with us—the Library is here for New Yorkers.

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