Prof. Yearwood moderated Grassroots Youth Activism

Watch our own Simone L. Yearwood, Deputy Chief Librarian, Associate Professor, as she moderates a discussion with QC Alum (Class of 2019) and newly elected New York Assemblyman (D) Khaleel Anderson on Grassroots Youth Activism as a bridge to elected office. Assembly Member Anderson, the youngest Black assembly member in New York State history, was elected to serve Assembly District 31 in Queens in the November 2020 election.

Watch Professor Yearwood moderate the discussion on YouTube:

Check out the Black History Month events on the YouTube Channel.


Dates: February 18, March 18, and April 15, 2021

“In an age when everything is never fast enough, the chapbook is a small anchor to the moment; it is a pause to read and relish,” says Kimiko Hahn, poet, professor, and one of the festival organizers.

The chapbook, a modest publication has had an impressive longevity dating from early printing press publications to today’s editions, whether stapled and photocopied, hand-lettered on hand-made paper, or digital. 

This three-day festival revives an earlier incarnation that took place at CUNY’s Graduate Center. Funded by the Executive Vice Chancellor Jose Cruz’s Office of Academic Affairs and the Benjamin S. Rosenthal Library, the events are virtual and registration is open to the public.

Highlights include:

  • Keynote: Matvei Yankelevich, poet, translator and the executive director of Ugly Duckling Presse, will speak on “The Chapbook Then and Now.” He also recorded a video on how to make a chapbook, available on the website.
  • Musical performance: Cornelius Eady Trio will perform work whose lyrics are published in numerous chapbooks. 
  • Reading: Alicia Ostriker, N.Y. State Poet Laureate, will read from her chapbook Ideas of Order and Disorder, created just for the festival.  The presentation of this stellar hybrid collection will include her photographs. 
  • Panels include how to compile and chapbook and how to start a chapbook press.
  • Student reading: CUNY alumni from Brooklyn, City, Hunter, and Queens Colleges will read from their chapbooks.

The website also features an exhibition from the Library’s collection of chapbooks as well as a virtual Chapbook Fair. 

“Romaniote Memories” Digital Exhibit Launched

In 1999, photographer Vincent Giordano made an unplanned visit to the small Kehila Kedosha Janina (KKJ) synagogue on New York’s Lower East Side. He knew little about Judaism or synagogues, and even less about the Romaniote Jewish tradition of which KKJ, built in 1927, is the lone North American representative. In this he was not alone. Romaniotes are among the least known of Jewish communities. Beginning in 2001 and guided by members of the KKJ community, Giordano documented the synagogue and its religious art of the congregation using film, video, and audio. This included trips to Greece to document KKJ’s mother city of Ioannina, and its small Jewish community. 

In 2019 the Giordano family donated the archive of Vincent’s work to Queens College, where it is a major part of the Hellenic American Project and is preserved as part of the Benjamin S. Rosenthal Library’s Special Collections and Archives. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, Special Collections and Archives has not yet processed the physical materials in the Vincent Giordano collection. Fortunately, we were able to use scans of Giordano’s prints and negatives to create a new online exhibit Romaniote Memories, a Jewish Journey from Ioannina, Greece to Manhattan: Photographs by Vincent Giordano.” Many of these images have never been presented in public before.

The exhibition is curated by Samuel Gruber, President of the International Survey of Jewish Monuments and designed by Annie Tummino, Head of Special Collections and Archives, Benjamin S. Rosenthal Library. The opening reception, featuring a conversation with curators, distinguished guests, and friends, will take place via Zoom on Thursday, February 11, 2021 at 5 pm (register here). 

The exhibition is sponsored by the Benjamin S. Rosenthal Library, Hellenic American Project, and Center for Jewish Studies at Queens College, as well as the International Center for Jewish Monuments, an independent non-profit organization. The Library and Center for Jewish Studies will be teaming up to offer a paid internship for a student to help process and catalog the Giordano collection during the next academic year.

Library Events on Activism and Social Justice Continue

On October 6, Norka Blackman-Richards, Director of the Percy E. Sutton Seek Program at Queens College, moderated Fighting for the Future: Political Engagement and Student Leadership, a passionate and intellectually vibrant conversation that could not have come at a better time. We thank her and each of our panelists: Aysa Gray, Carmine Couloute, Siddharth Malviya, and Zaire Couloute, who shared their personal journeys as student and community leaders and their hopes and strategies for the future.

A recording of the event is available here.

This event was Part 2 of the library’s series How Can We Do Better: Creating a More Just and Inclusive World. We hope you join us on November 17 for the final program, which will focus on issues of power, representation, and inclusion in archives.  

Library Faculty and Staff News

Return of the Rare Books!

Did you know that the Benjamin S. Rosenthal Library is home to a collection of over 2000 rare books and manuscripts, the scope of which reflects the history of print culture over the past 600 years? Due to an unfortunate flood in the storage room where this collection was held, the materials became hazardous and were inaccessible for over a decade. Now, due to the generosity of Shirley Klein, a life-long bibliophile and loyal friend of Queens College, the entire collection has been remediated and will once again become an asset for the campus community.

Highlights of the collection include a 13th century manuscript copy of the medieval Persian poet Sa’di’s The Gulistan, 11 editions of Cervantes’ Don Quixote de la Mancha including the first edition printed in English in 1620, and three part-publications of Dickens novels including Dombey and Son (1848). There are over 600 titles of juvenile fiction from the late 19th to the first half of the 20th century, and many books autographed by the author, including some major ones, such as Graham Greene, Aldous Huxley, Virginia Woolf, Jack Kerouac, and José María Arguedas.

In December the books were taken offsite, where trained technicians used advanced HEPA vacuums, chemical treatments, and other specialized cleaning techniques to remove mold from each of the 2,500 books, rendering them safe for access. The collection was originally slated for return in April, but the library was closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Finally, on September 18th, the rare books made their triumphant return to Rosenthal, delivered to our brand-new, climate controlled storage space on nine pallets. 

Much work remains to be done to ensure that the collection is properly housed, shelved, and cataloged. For now, we celebrate the books’ return and express our gratitude to Shirley Klein for providing the library with resources needed to save the collection. Those who want a sneak peak can peruse digitized selections of more recent donations (unaffected by water damage) at

Fall Library Programs Will Explore Racial, Social Justice

QC Library is pleased to announce How Can We Do Better? Creating a More Just and Inclusive Future, a series of online programs to be held this fall which focus on issues of racial and social justice and their connections to higher education.

The events will be broadcast live on Queens Memory’s Facebook page: They are free and open to all, and no advance registration is required.

Co-sponsored by the Center for Ethnic, Racial, and Religious Understanding [CERRU], Queens Memory COVID-19 Project of Queens College and Queens Public Library, the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs, Percy Ellis Sutton SEEK Program, and the Queens College Black Latinx Faculty Staff Association [BLFSA].

Schedule of Programs:

1. Black Lives Matter and Anti-racism in Higher EducationModerated by Queens College President Frank Wu. Tuesday, September 22 at 4PM.

2. Fighting For the Future: Political Engagement and Student Leadership. Moderated by Norka Blackman-Richards. Director, Percy E. Sutton SEEK Program, Queens College, CUNY. Tuesday, October 6 at 4PM.

3. Power and Oppression in the Archive: Building a Diverse Historical Record Through Oral History. Moderated by James Lowry, PhD. Graduate School of Library and Information Studies, Queens College, CUNY. Tuesday, November 17 at 4PM.

Image credit: Jules Antonio. Used under Creative Commons license: 10 June 2020.

A Conversation With Khaleel Anderson

Before shaking up Queens politics with his upset victory in NYS Assembly District 31’s primary election, Khaleel Anderson (BA/MA Urban Affairs, 2019), was already well known at QC for his tireless advocacy work on library issues affecting students. 

During Summer 2019, in the beginning stages of his campaign, I had the privilege of interviewing Khaleel. Our wide-ranging conversation covered his college selection process, his experiences in the SEEK program, and his burgeoning political career. 

Hi Khaleel, thanks for talking to us! I’d like to start by asking about your first experiences with QC.

My family moved to Queens from Brooklyn when I was 9. In 11th grade, I lived on campus for about 3 weeks, as it was an evacuation site for families like mine who were displaced by Hurricane Sandy. We were in the dining hall, then Fitzgerald Gym. It was the first college I’d visited, and I got to know it that way. We were eating the emergency MREs the first couple weeks, but later, the food improved!

How did you decide to come to Queens College? What other schools were you considering?

I thought Stony Brook was beautiful, and I also thought of going to SUNY-Albany but I didn’t get in. I had heard Baruch was the ‘poor man’s Harvard,’ and I was student body president of my class in high school and thought that might be a good fit. But Queens offered me a place in the SEEK program, and I decided to come here.

You found the SEEK Program to be very intense at first. Can you tell me about it?

I thought I was going to have my whole summer off before beginning my freshman year,, but SEEK had other plans! We started June 30th, getting help with reading, writing and math. We took a crash course in how to use the library over the summer, and then all SEEK students are required to take Library 100 as freshman.

Were you already a big library user before coming to QC?

In my neighborhood, the public libraries are more like community centers, and they have a lot to offer. I used the public library, but using the school library was difficult–if you stayed late at school to use the library, the limited transit options made it harder to get home. And the classes were easier in high school, so I didn’t have to use the library as much to do my work. 

What did you learn in the Library 100 course?

The crash course got me familiar with the library. We thought the library was just a building with books. Getting help from the people there was new. A culture shock was that you had to learn to find the books yourself! 

What about finding articles and other resources online?

That was also new! Library 100 helped me a lot with learning to find articles and information online. It was like a crash course in how to do research. Every assignment required you to come to the library to research it-you couldn’t just use Google for your research, like I could for my high school work. 

We also learned about the history of the library, and QC’s connections to civil rights activism. I remember learning about the history of Andrew Goodman and Freedom Summer.

You also got involved with Student Association.

Yes. I volunteered at a few events with Caribbean Students Association and BSU my sophomore and junior years, and then got more involved and ran for Chair of Lobby and Advising Committee my senior year.
And then you ended up serving on your local Community Board?

I was appointed to Queens Community Board 14 because Donovan Richards, my city councilman, knew of work I was doing in the neighborhood and thought I should apply.

One of the projects I’m most proud of was voting to allocate $118M on storm mitigation projects. It’s called the Resilient Edgemere plan. 

Now you’re running for NYS Assembly. Tell us about that!

Yes, I am running now for NYS Assembly now in the 31st Assembly District. (Note: Khaleel won the June 23 Democratic Primary!)

What’s the status of your campaign now?

We’ve raised about $10,000 in individual contributions, and are talking to my neighbors and waiting to see what the structure of the next election is.

The other thing I’m working on now is a big Community Board vote for a big rezoning project  for Peninsula Hospital. We are working on affordable housing, an urgent care center and grocery and laundry amenities for that neighborhood.

Thanks so much for talking with us, Khaleel. Do you have any other words of advice for Queens College students?

Besides, use that library? Don’t be a church mouse, make as many connections and friends as you can here. I have gotten help from so many people I met here. You meet people here from all around the world.

Library Support for Off-site Teaching and Learning

by Asif Alam

The Queens College Library would like to share some tips for remote access to many of our resources and services. The full guide to our services and other tools for supporting remote research is available here: It also contains links to the latest scholarship and QC information on COVID-19.