Queens Library

Queens Library is an independent, not-for-profit corporation and is not affiliated with any other library. With 62 locations, Queens Library serves a population of 2.3 million in one of the most ethnically diverse counties in the U.S. and has among the highest circulations of any public library system in the world. For more information about programs, services, locations, events and news, visit the Queens Library website at www.queenslibrary.org or phone 718-990-0700. Queens Library. Enrich Your Life.®
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Queens Library was proud to participate in the 2013 Veterans Day Parade in Manhattan. We are grateful to our veterans for their service.

When Superstorm Sandy crushed the Rockaways one year ago, Queens Library lost four community libraries. That did not stop them from stepping up and delivering for the community. This amazing short documentary shows just how bad the damage was—and just how much the library means to its customers.

I Kill Giants (2009)

By Joe Kelly, illustrated by JM Ken Niimura

This one is a modern classic, so even devoted comics geeks may have missed it the first time around. Published in 2009, I Kill Giants became an instant must-read for those quietly in the know.

It is outside conventions — on the surface, an art comic, but with more powerful action at its climax than 90 percent of the cape books out there. It is literary, it is visceral, it is indefinable.

Occasionally a book appears that is just perfect. No hint is given too soon, no word or line is excessive. Occasionally a book appears that has a perfect crystalline clarity and it shines like a diamond. This is one of those books, a book that becomes a catchphrase in your life, a secret code, a shared experience with other readers.

Beware the wrath of Kovaleski.

— Christian Zabriskie

Disappearance Diary (2005)

Written and illustrated by Hideo Azuma

Azuma was a prolific manga artist in the 70s and 80s and is credited as the godfather of Lolicon manga. He was also an alcoholic who dropped out of society more than once and struggled with serious depression and anxiety.

Disappearance Diary is his graphic memoir of four periods of his life: when he was homeless, when he worked manual labor, his artistic career at it’s height and subsequent burnout, and of his time in detox.

This work of graphic nonfiction perfectly illustrates an aspect of graphic literature which is unique to the form. Asuma deliberately draws light, fun, cartoony figures even as he is depicting truly horrifying personal experiences. As a result, it is often quite funny and enchanting even as we watch him descend to eating out of the trash, going through rehab, ruining his career, and grinding along as a gasfitter. For fans of Orwell’s Down and Out in Paris and London this is a must read.

—Christian Zabriskie

Astro City: Life in the Big City

By Kurt Busiek, illustrated by Brent E. Anderson

What if comics could be mature, but not salacious? What if they dealt with life on a human scale as well as a superhuman one? What if that human scale involved people with families, with jobs, with bills to pay?

Busiek and Anderson don’t waste time with world building. They drop readers directly into a comics universe that is fully formed with characters who have depth and history right from the start.

This first Astro City book sets up a complex and multidimensional metahuman universe. This is a world where superheros go on dates, have messed up personal lives, and still manage to have fantastic fight sequences.

—Christian Zabriskie

Batman: Year One (1987)

Written by Frank Miller, illustrated by David Mazzucchelli

This wonderful exploration of one of the great origin myths of comics is Frank Miller at his best. Batman is shown to be fallible and fumbling. He needs to find his way and at first he stumbles.

This is also the origin story of Commissioner Gordon. At this point, he is a lieutenant recently arrived into Gotham’s deeply corrupt police force. He has to deal with backstabbers, makes his own grievous mistakes, and beats the crap out of green berets.

Mazzucchelli went for a flat palette that is reminiscent of newspaper comics and a nice nod to the genus of the comic book. When he finds his footing, we see another great Miller vision of Batman. Batman becomes the coolly calculating, precise, and genuinely dangerous hero we know.

It is really fun to read this and Batman: The Dark Knight Returns for a kind of bookending of Batman: his beginning and his post retirement return to action.

—Christian Zabriskie

Celebrating the NEW Queens Library at Mitchell-Linden with a parade and lion dancers, September 30, 2013.

Queens Library President & CEO Thomas Galante led the parade along with Deputy Borough President Barry Grodenchik, Council Member Peter Koo, State Senator Toby Ann Stavisky, Assembly Member Ron Kim, and Queens Library Board Chairwoman Jackie Arrington.


The celebration concluded with the feeding of a book to the lion—in place of the traditional lettuce—as a boon to the lifelong learning this space will foster in northern Flushing.


Thanks to Borough President Helen Marshall and Council Member Peter Koo for making this project possible. All photos courtesy of Dominick Totino Photography.

On #ThowbackThursday — Three kinds of transportation, only one of which is any good now, sit idle at the flooded Flushing Airport after the massive hurricane of 1938. Winds from this storm hit a staggering 121 mph! Want to know more? Read the QL blog here: http://ow.ly/pfP2E

MW (1976)

By Osamu Tezuka

 

This is quite possibly the strangest graphic novel in the Queens Library collection. It is a bizarre crime/political novel that incorporates transvestism, murder, chemical weapons, bizarre and complex sexual interactions, and student radicals. It is incredible that this comes from the godfather of manga himself—and very odd to think of this coming from the creator of Astro Boy.

This work is absolutely NOT for kids. Not only are there some quite mature relationships in it the story itself is incredibly complicated. This is absolutely not a prurient, trashy work but it does use some pretty out-there situations to drive the narrative. This was published in serial form in Japan from 1976-1978. It is fascinating to see Tezuka’s view of America as a superpower and its influence in Japan in the cold war of the 1970s.

This is at times a difficult work. You have been warned. At the same time it is utterly fascinating, compelling—a trainwreck over nearly 600 pages of incredibly detailed, often incredibly disturbing manga from one of the great creators of the form. This is a book that you may very well read in one sitting, then feel like you need to take a shower afterwards. Genius!

 

—Christian Zabriskie

Before they were part of Gantry Plaza State Park, Long Island City’s massive gantry cranes were a bustling hub of rail traffic and industry. Here we see a Long Island Rail Road switch engine hauling a string of freight cars off a barge on a frigid day in 1947, with Manhattan’s two most iconic skyscrapers (this was before the World Trade Centers, remember) proudly visible in the background.

Want to see more of Queens’ history? Check out www.queensmemory.org!

Before they were part of Gantry Plaza State Park, Long Island City’s massive gantry cranes were a bustling hub of rail traffic and industry. Here we see a Long Island Rail Road switch engine hauling a string of freight cars off a barge on a frigid day in 1947, with Manhattan’s two most iconic skyscrapers (this was before the World Trade Centers, remember) proudly visible in the background.

Want to see more of Queens’ history? Check out www.queensmemory.org!