March 7, 2021 By Christina Santucci
Some of the borough’s biggest names in entertainment will help celebrate the Queens Public Library’s 125th anniversary at a free virtual gala Tuesday.
Actor, writer and producer Awkwafina, who is known for her hit show “Nora from Queens,” will make an appearance alongside “Shark Tank” star and FUBU clothing founder Daymond John, acclaimed author Min Jin Lee and Hari Kondabolu, a comedian, writer and podcaster.
Lee wrote “Free Food for Millionaires” and “Pachinko,” a New York Times bestseller and National Book Award finalist for fiction, and Kondabolu starred in the 2018 Netflix standup special, “Warn Your Relatives.”
The virtual gala is scheduled to take place Tuesday at 6 p.m. and is free to watch online.
The entertainers participating have Queens roots.
Awkwafina was raised in Forest Hills, Lee grew up in Elmhurst, John hails from Hollis and Kondabolu is a former resident of Jackson Heights and Floral Park.
The featured celebrities also recorded “Happy Birthday” messages to Queens Public Library (QPL), which dates back to 1896.
The library system began when residents from Long Island City, Steinway and Astoria were granted a charter to form the Long Island City Public Library, the borough’s first multi-branch library. The charter was written with wording to expand service throughout Queens, and the Queens Borough Public Library was later incorporated in 1907.
The annual event, which was canceled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, typically serves as a fundraiser for the library system.
“For over a century, Queens Public Library has been dedicated to building resilience and unity in our communities, and we know our neighbors are counting on us now and for the years to come,” officials wrote on the event page.
To help celebrate the library’s 125th anniversary, QPL is also asking patrons to submit their memories of the branches over the years. Those photos and stories will be added to an online map of Queens library locations.