2012-12-14 / Community

Turkish People Donate $50,000 To Queens Library

By Miriam Rosenberg


The Turkish Consul General M. Levent Bilgen talks about the historic close ties between Turkey and the U.S. as Congressman Gregory Meeks and Queens Library CEO Thomas Galante look on. Photos by Miriam Rosenberg The Turkish Consul General M. Levent Bilgen talks about the historic close ties between Turkey and the U.S. as Congressman Gregory Meeks and Queens Library CEO Thomas Galante look on. Photos by Miriam Rosenberg In Turkey there is a saying that goes, “You don’t become close and become friends on a good day only, on a bad day we have to stand shoulder to shoulder.” That is what the Turkish Consul General M. Levent Bilgen told The Wave last week when three organizations from the Turkish-American community presented a $50,000 check to the Queens Library.

The Turkish Cultural Center Queens, Helping Hands Relief Foundation and Kimse Yok Mu, a relief organization in Turkey, collected the funds from the Turkish-American population to help Rockaway and then reached out to Congressman Gregory Meeks for his suggestion.

“We talked to him about wanting to do something permanent for the Rockaways, and after that discussion we decided to donate the money to the Queens Library,” said Oguzhan Turan, the vice president for the Turkish Cultural Center Queens.


Among those pictured during the presentatation of the $50,000 check are Güngör Soydan of Kimse Yok Mu; Oguzhan Turan, the vice president for the Turkish Cultural Center Queens; Nevzat Yilmaz of Helping hands Relief Foundation; Galante; Meeks; and Far Rockaway Library’s chief librarian Sharon Anderson. Among those pictured during the presentatation of the $50,000 check are Güngör Soydan of Kimse Yok Mu; Oguzhan Turan, the vice president for the Turkish Cultural Center Queens; Nevzat Yilmaz of Helping hands Relief Foundation; Galante; Meeks; and Far Rockaway Library’s chief librarian Sharon Anderson. Prior to the presentation at the Far Rockaway Library last Friday, Meeks explained his reasoning for suggesting the library.

“Libraries are essential to young people, to seniors, and to others to get people back to a sense of normalcy,” said Meeks who pointed out the importance of libraries in learning about other cultures.

Meeks went on to say, “I thought what better partnership. In fact the Turkish Cultural Center and others have been working with the libraries before. We’ve got a great library system and we have to get it back up and running. So, any contribution helps and [this] partnership is just fantastic.”

The total book collection lost is approximately $2 million, equipment about $1.5 million plus construction which brings the total to $7 million.

“We lost a lot of contents and lost a lot in the facilities too,” said Thomas Galante, the CEO at the Queens Library.

“[The money will go] to rebuilding as well as services. We’re going to do our best to get the most we can out of FEMA so that any funding we receive privately through donations can go to enhanced services over the next two years.”

Galante said that Howard Beach Library is already back up and running. The hope is for the Broad Channel branch to be reopened in a few weeks. The Seaside, Peninsula and Arverne Libraries are currently getting city permits and funding for reconstruction.

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