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DAILY NEWS WRITER

Courtesy of the New York Daily News

The cramped Glen Oaks branch library is slated to get a radical makeover.

The Queens Library will replace the small and dated brick structure on Union Turnpike with a gleaming 18,000-square-foot building – more than doubling the current library’s space.

The striking glass-facade building will allow for considerably more natural light.

“This design was kind of a reaction against the present building,” said Scott Marble of the architectural firm Marble Fairbanks, which designed the new library. “We wanted to incorporate a lot of light and openness.”

The new building also will feature automated book checkouts and an on-site ATM.

Anthony Romeo, director of capital management at the Queens Library, said the new, two-story building – with another below-ground level – will have a slightly smaller footprint.

“We’re going to excavate the entire site, from lot line to lot line,” Romeo said.

The new library also will feature 30 computer workstations and two community meeting spaces, with areas specifically designated for children, young adults and adults. It also will include a garden.

“We’ve created a garden with seating, trees and a public reading area,” said Romeo.

Architects had the manicured lawns of Glen Oaks in mind when they drew up the plans for the library’s garden, Marble said.

“The garden was designed so that it can be expanded,” said Marble. “The community can even turn it into a small community garden.”

Construction is expected to start by the early fall and be completed in 2009. The cost is projected to be around $11 million.

The library’s collection will be moved to a book trailer during construction, and patrons will be allowed to access most library services.

The library also will be home to a $110,000 piece of interactive art designed by Brooklyn artist Janet Zweig.

“It’s kind of a maze made of LED lights,” Zweig said. “When the light reaches the end of the maze, it hits a scrolling sign. A new question scrolls by with an unanswerable question that appeals to children.”

The Queens Library’s Elmhurst branch will be demolished early next year and replaced with a 30,000-square-foot building, officials said.

Materials from the present Carnegie-era library will be used in the construction of the new building, in homage to the historic libraries built by steel magnate Andrew Carnegie at the turn of the century.

“We’re modifying every building in the system,” Romeo said.

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