You are reading

Queens Public Library celebrates hip-hop with special edition cards

Jul. 7, 2023 By John Schilling

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of hip-hop, the Queens Public Library (QPL) will release a limited edition library card that honors the genre’s global significance and the role New York City played in its rise as a cultural movement.

The new library cards feature a purple background with a graffiti art-style design that reads “Queens,” as well as an open book, two street signs that say “Public” and “Library” and two smiley-faced spray paint cans. The overall design is the artistic vision of Shirt Kings streetwear.

The new card features a graffiti-style art design by Shirt Kings.Courtesy of Queens Public Library

“Starting in 1986 from a booth at the Colosseum Mall in Jamaica, Queens, their graffiti-inspired custom clothing designs drew some of the biggest names in hip-hop as well as everyday fans, made their way to album covers and music videos, and helped lay the foundation for hip-hop fashion as a global force,” QPL said in a statement. “The card reflects the Shirt Kings’ trademark style, while reinforcing the importance of reading, writing, positivity, and fun.”

While set to be available at QPL branches on July 14, the new library cards will first be available at a release party at the Queens Central Library at 89-11 Merrick Blvd. at 11:30 a.m. on July 13. The party will offer attendees with early access to the cards and feature the Shirt Kings, QPL Hip Hop Coordinator Ralph McDaniels and other special guests.

In addition to QPL, the New York Public Library (NYPL) will also release a special edition card recognizing hip-hop, but with a different design. Instead of the Shirt Kings, NYPL’s card features the “Wild Style” mural from the original soundtrack of the 1983 film of the same name. Created by Charlie Ahearn and set in the South Bronx, “Wild Style” is considered to be the first-ever hip-hop film.

“The New York Public Library chose the “Wild Style” mural image because the soundtrack’s original cassette is part of NYPL’s extensive hip-hop research collection at the Schomburg Center,” NYPL said in a statement. “The distinct ‘Wild Style’ mural created by artists Zephyr, Revolt, and Sharp serves as the art for the front of the library card, while the back of the card depicts the original soundtrack cassette.”

Both library systems also plan to celebrate hip-hop’s birth with a series of events scheduled for early August, including a two-day summit starting on Aug. 3 at LaGuardia Performing Arts Center in Long Island City. This event will feature various hip-hop and graffiti artists who will lead panel discussions and explore the genre’s history in higher education, marketing and advertising, economics, social justice, civil rights and other music genres.

The summit, along with the new cards, will culminate QPL’s six-month celebration of hip-hop that began in February when the library partnered with New York City’s libraries and other institutions across the country to host dozens of related panel discussions, workshops and education programs.

Recent News

Five Queens startups win $20,000 each in 2024 Tech + Innovation Challenge

May. 19, 2024 By Czarinna Andres

A diverse range of businesses, including a yoga studio, an olive oil distributor, a female health care provider, a sustainable mushroom farmer, and an AI-powered physical therapy service, have been named winners of the 2024 Queens Tech + Innovation Challenge (QTIC). Each winner will receive a $20,000 grant to support their business operations.

QBP Richards, advocates rally to demand Mayor Adams restore funding to City’s libraries

May. 17, 2024 By Gabriele Holtermann

A rally was held at the Queens Public Library at Forest Hills on May 16, during which Queens Borough President Donovan Richards, Queens Public Library President and CEO Dennis Walcott, union reps and library advocates called on Mayor Eric Adams to reverse the proposed $58.3 million budget cuts to the New York Public Library (NYPL), the Brooklyn Public Library (BPL), and the Queens Public Library (QBL) for Fiscal Year 2025, which begins on July 1, 2024.

Queens elected officials secure $70 million from New York State Budget for school safety equipment in religious and independent schools

May. 17, 2024 By Anthony Medina

Religious and independent schools throughout the city will soon receive additional funding for school safety equipment, thanks to Assemblymember Andrew Hevesi and State Senator Michael Gianaris, who, after extensive advocacy efforts, successfully secured $70 million from the New York State Budget for 2024-25 for Non-Public School Safety Equipment (NPSE) grants.