Image for spinner

Shining Star Awards 2024 - Judi Belle Raines

In honor of National Volunteer Appreciation 2024, Queens Public Library recognizes the contributions of its volunteers and staff.  The Friends of QPL Shining Star Award is given to individual Friends members that demonstrate exceptional leadership qualities that inspire and motivate others to action; and groups that exemplify a collaborative spirit and strive to work together to provide ideas, resources, and opportunities that uplift their community.

This year, Queens Public Library recognizes Judi Belle Raines, member of the Friends of South Hollis.  Judi is the epitome of energy and enthusiasm.  She has a get-it-done perspective and attitude that serves as motivation to everyone around her.

First, as a member of the Friends of Hollis Library, and currently part of the Friends of South Hollis, Judi’s passion for reading and poetry is evident by her spearheading a series of book giveaways for children.  Through her years in the education system, Judi has cultivated relationships that allow the Friends to provide a variety of books and materials for the community.  Unselfishly, Judi consistently promotes the work of the library to everyone she meets and encourages them to get involved in what ever way they can. She is most definitely a champion in the community and deserving of this recognition.

Meet Judi Belle Raines...

Q: When did you first become involved with the Friends of QPL?

A: My introduction to the Hollis Friends group came from my invitation to attend a meeting at South Hollis Library involving the planning of the wonderful event, Caribbean Arts Festival "Migration of Colors" in the fall of 2019 by Ms. Flo. I accepted the invite and became involved in numerous activities that followed. I followed up my interest with working with the library by immediately joining the Hollis Friends Group. Events that followed were Book Sales and a Holiday Bazaar.

Q; Why are the Friends of QPL an asset to your community or neighborhood?

A: The Friends Groups of both Hollis and now currently South Hollis Friends groups are such an asset to the neighborhood  due to the resources and various activities we chose to offer the youth and adults involving literacy, school prep and the arts. People gave suggestions while offering to participate in the activities and events.  Sometimes as a result of their inquiries like myself, decided to join the Friends Group to remain connected to their community.

Q: What has been 1-2 of your proudest moments to date during your time as a Friend of QPL?

A: One of my proudest moments to date was seeing former New York City Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott remember me as a Guidance Counselor from Martin Van Buren H.S., now retired working with the Friends Groups.  The pride of being a member was conveyed through my actions and familiar smile . [Other moments include] seeing many of my students growing up now with children of their own visiting the library for information regarding tutoring, Prep Session Information for admission into Specialized High Schools or simply wanting to attend the holiday Bazaar interested me as well as made me happy.

Q: In what ways can the Friends (and the library) remain relevant and an asset to the community?

A: The Friends Group can remain relevant to the community by also offering to hear from the community. By placing a suggestion box in an active area of the library people will be encouraged to offer ideas for future activities and events. Many people have openly approached me in Food Town Super Market, Gabys Pizza and United Parcel to relay what a  wonderful time they had attending a particular Friends event. This comment at times would be followed up by their asking how could they join the Friends Group? As a current Friends member, as well as daughter of a Mother, Mrs.Belle Margarite Raines who worked at three Queens Public Library circulation desks, I realize my passion for the library is embedded in me. In all the classes and groups I addressed in schools, the importance of the library was always at the forefront of how to achieve success not only in school, but daily life as well.

Q: What are the benefits of working alongside other members to accomplish your goals as a Friend of QPL?

A: The benefits of working with other members of Friends besides supporting and caring for each other within the group is enjoying the opportunity of being able to share a common bond that comes from the contributions made involving various activities offered throughout the year.

Q: In what ways has the library staff supported your efforts during your time as a Friend of QPL?

A: As a member of Friends, I've noted how staff from Central has made numerous visits to both groups to assure smooth sailing with meetings, new projects and all of our events.  For this tremendous support as well as from staff from Hollis and South Hollis Libraries, I must convey that I am eternally grateful. I love being a member of South Hollis Friends and enjoy ever moment creating, planning and building our community to being the best that it can be!

Common Messages