Brooklyn, NY – Parents in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, gathered today to celebrate recent improvements at Walt Whitman Library. The recent improvements capped a months-long grassroots campaign in the neighborhood to push for expanded programming and greater community involvement. Nearly 2,000 Fort Greene parents shared in the effort to improve the library.
“As a parent, I believe these steps will certainly help our children learn. This library is simply not just a building with books, it plays an important role in the fabric and identity of a neighborhood. I want that identity to be an example of the values we hold for education and our kids,” said Ana Mena, a parent activist involved in the effort.
The parent-led, grassroots effort advocated for improvements to the Walt Whitman branch of the Brooklyn Public Library to help the facility better serve children in the neighborhood. Over the past several months, the group collected 1,980 signatures in support of the campaign. In support of the effort, StudentsFirstNY worked with parents and advocates to help foster new relationships with staff members at the Brooklyn Public Library. In response, library leadership engaged with the community and announced a number of key improvements. These improvements include:
- A children’s librarian
- Art programming
- Literacy programs
- Additional children’s books
- Separate children’s section
“This community advocated for more literacy programs, more books, and accomplished these goals after team effort from parents and families. This celebration speaks to the fact that teamwork makes dreams a reality. I honestly believe that together, parents and the Walt Whitman Library are making the difference that is needed for our children and our community,” said StudentsFirstNY Organizer Charisse Smith.
“These changes will help the Walt Whitman library to be a welcoming public institution. I want our children to be excited about reading and to discover the joys of traveling to new worlds in a safe environment. I look forward to working with the staff of the Walt Whitman Library in broadening its outreach efforts, as well as coming up with new ways to make our community library a popular destination that makes our neighbors excited to take part in our library’s activities,” said Patrick Cabiness, president of the PS 67 PTA.
“Walt Whitman Library not only stands as a learning pillar, but also serves as a community hub for Fort Greene. The rich history of Fort Greene is complimented by this library, which has served the neighborhood for many, many years. I am here today to ensure children in the community, along with future generations of Fort Greene residents, can fully utilize Walt Whitman Library,” said Dorian Muller, a Fort Greene parent.