Andrew Jackson, executive director of the Langston Hughes Community Library and Cultural Center at 100-01 Northern Blvd., has lived in North Corona since he was 4. He has worked at the center since 1980, helping to orchestrate the institution’s growth.
How would you best describe the area?
It’s a multicultural community and it’s definitely transitioned since 1951 when my family moved here. It went from an Eastern European community to African American and now a lot of Latinos are here. It’s a politically active community as well, that’s how the Langston Hughes Library formed in 1969, through the Library Action Committee.
What’s unique about this library?
It is the home of the Black Heritage Reference Center of Queens County and we house the largest circulating black heritage collection of any library in New York State. We’re also the first public institution named for Langston Hughes. The library is named after him because of his impact on American literature. He wrote for children, for adults and young adults and that parallels the services for those age groups that we wanted to provide.
How has the library impacted the community?
By being accessible and making people feel welcome no matter who they are and whether they speak English or are learning English. Our programs and services reflect the cultures of the community. It’s more than just books that makes people want to come here; we have computer classes, art exhibits, film screenings and educational help. Public libraries today have become gathering places, we are a gathering place.