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Brooklyn, New York, and Queens Public Library Systems’ Culture Pass Initiative Launches Book Display Contest Across All Five Boroughs

Public voting open to all, in person and online, for displays on view in 130 branch locations

Brooklyn Public Library (BPL), The New York Public Library (NYPL, serving Manhattan, the Bronx, and Staten Island), and Queens Public Library (QPL) announced the launch of a book display contest between over 130 library branches across all five boroughs.

Inspired by the City’s unrivaled array of arts and culture offerings, the public is invited to vote to select the finalists, beginning on October 25, for their favorite display. The contest is part of the library system’s joint Culture Pass initiative—the citywide library program created in 2018 providing library cardholders free access to cultural institutions. 

The book displays, broadly reflecting the theme of arts and culture, are on view now through November 30 in libraries across New York City. The public can vote for their favorites from each system online at On November 12, the displays with the most votes will move on to the final round.

Following the public voting period, the finalists will be reviewed by a panel of judges made up of local authors, artists, illustrators, and philanthropists who will select the winners, including one first place winner and one first runner-up display from each system. From the three system-wide winners, they will then choose an overall citywide best-of-show display. The judges panel includes New York City Department of Cultural Affairs Commissioner Gonzalo Casals, Artist and Founder of The Free Black Women’s Library Ola Ronke Akinmowo, Children’s Book Author and Illustrator Pat Cummings, Charles H. Revson Foundation President Julie Sandorf, and Improv Everywhere Founder Charlie Todd. 

“Since Culture Pass launched in 2018, we have distributed over 100,000 free passes to library cardholders. The book display contest—with the theme of arts and culture—pays homage to the great museums, performance venues, historical sites and arts institutions who have partnered with the city libraries to provide free access and admission,” said Nick Higgins, Chief Librarian, Brooklyn Public Library. “Make sure to log in and vote for your favorite by November 12.”

"Librarians always get super creative around their book displays, so this contestsuch a fun and innovative way to honor the City's cultural institutions and support our Culture Pass initiative to make those institutions increasingly accessible to allis guaranteed to be highly competitive," said Brian Bannon, The New York Public Library's Tisch Director and chief branch librarian. "I hope New Yorkers will check out the displays, vote, and while they're at it, book a museum pass and check out a book. Good luck to all the contestants. Of course, as long as we're encouraging reading and learning, we're all winners." 

“The contest is an excellent way to encourage customers to engage not only with all our libraries have to offer, but also with all our Culture Pass partners have to offer,” said Queens Public Library Chief Librarian Nick Buron. “We expect the curated displays will inspire more people to visit some of the most renowned museums, gardens and historic sites in the world, and are grateful to the judges for lending their time and expertise to select the winners. For this competition, we encourage New Yorkers to vote early and vote often!”

To date, Culture Pass has provided more than 132,000 free passes to museums, gardens, historical societies, performance venues, and other cultural institutions. This tri-library book display contest is the latest initiative from Culture Pass to make quality arts and culture programming accessible and free of charge to people everywhere. For more details on Culture Pass and to access passes, please visit

Culture Pass is made possible through generous funding from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF), Charles H. Revson Foundation, The New York Community Trust, and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.

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About Brooklyn Public Library

Brooklyn Public Library is one of the nation’s largest library systems and among New York City’s most democratic institutions. As a leader in developing modern 21st-century libraries, we provide resources to support personal advancement, foster civic literacy, and strengthen the fabric of community among the more than 2.7 million individuals who call Brooklyn home. We provide nearly 60,000 free programs a year with writers, thinkers, artists, and educators—from around the corner and around the world. And we give patrons millions of opportunities to enjoy one of life’s greatest satisfactions: the joy of a good book. 

About The New York Public Library

The New York Public Library is a free provider of education and information for the people of New York and beyond. With 92 locations—including research and branch libraries—throughout the Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island, the Library offers free materials, computer access, classes, exhibitions, programming, and more to everyone from toddlers to scholars, and has seen record numbers of attendance and circulation in recent years. The New York Public Library serves nearly 17 million patrons who come through its doors annually and millions more around the globe who use its resources at To offer this wide array of free programming, The New York Public Library relies on both public and private funding. Learn more about how to support the Library at 

About Queens Public Library 
Queens Public Library is one of the largest and busiest public library systems in the United States, dedicated to serving the most ethnically and culturally diverse area in the country. An independent, non-profit organization founded 125 years ago, QPL offers free access to a collection of more than 5 million books and other materials in multiple languages, technology and digital resources, and more than 80,000 educational, cultural, and civic programs annually. QPL consists of 66 locations across the borough, including branch libraries, a Central Library, seven adult learning centers, a technology center, and two teen centers, and attracted more than 11 million visitors in 2019.