Starrett City: An Interview with Rita Hilu

This post was originally from 2016. Over the weekend, Starrett City Library Assistant Rita Hilu passed away. Rita was an incredibly important member of the Touro College Libraries staff, and we want to remind everyone of what made her so special to students, faculty, and staff.

Rita Hilu (top left) with students before a library class
Rita Hilu (top left) with faculty and students before a library class

What is the name of your site and where is it located?

The Starrett City Library is located at 1350 Pennsylvania Avenue in
Brooklyn, between Marine Park and Howard Beach near the Jamaica Bay. 

How many years have you been working at this site?

16 years.

What is the history of your site? 

We used to be in a location around the corner, but we moved in March. Didn’t even need to cross the street! Starrett City is a small site. We have my building, but we also rent space in a public school nearby in the evenings for additional classrooms.

Touro College in Starrett City
Touro College in Starrett City

What is the neighborhood like? Any nearby points of interest?

I’ve always liked the neighborhood. There is some shopping nearby with a market and ladies’ boutique, plus pizza and other restaurants.

What programs does your site support? What are the strengths of its collection?

We support the New York School of Career and Applied Studies. We have social work, mathematics, accounting, psychology, some education classes. Our collection specializes in business, computer science, and human services, plus some ESL materials.

We have many students who continue to graduate school and come back to visit.  We also have many veteran students at our campus because of a new initiative by the school.

What study spaces and other resources are available at your location?

We offer five public computers, with room for 15-20 students. The environment is better after the move, because it’s now a real library space. People are nicer and have more respect now. It’s often very busy, with people lined up into the hallway.

Students collaborate while working on library computers
Students collaborate while working on library computers

What types of duties are staff at your site responsible for?

Common tasks include shelf reading and keeping things in order, sending overdue notices, preparation for instruction, and providing information and support for students.

Is there something interesting or unique about your site? Anything else you’d like to add?

This place is very special. Books and knowledge are here. Teaching is my favorite part of my job.

Rita wrote and contributed to several TC Library Blog posts:

A Trip to Israel

Pesach Sameach: Happy Passover

New Location for Starrett City Library

Staff Profile: Starrett City Library Assistant Rita Hilu

Thank you, Rita Hilu




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