East Elmhurst residents will have a bigger and better library by the end of 2018.
The current library, a one-story, 5,200-square-foot building at 95-06 Astoria Blvd. will include an additional 4,500-square-foot multipurpose room. Queens Library President and CEO Dennis M. Walcott, along with other elected officials and city agencies, held a groundbreaking for the project on Dec. 5.
The East Elmhurst library closed on Nov. 23 and will remain off limits until the first phase of construction is complete; that’s expect to take four months. A mobile library service is currently provided every Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Queens Library’s Langston Hughes, Corona and Jackson Heights community libraries are also nearby.
The new space will house a “state-of-the-art” community room that can accommodate 120 people, a cyber center, an interior court for quiet reading and additional room for teens and adults. It will also have a LEED silver rating and features such as natural light, natural air ventilation, solar panels, active heat recovery ventilation and insulated glazing that will triple the building’s thermal resistance and reduce the effect of the sun’s glare.
“Everyone who uses East Elmhurst Community Library — whether it’s to exercise, read, learn, go online or work — has made it clear that they need more space, and we are thrilled we’re going to deliver it for them,” Walcott said.
The library was last renovated in 2009 and included customer service improvements, a new young adult/teen area and a new media center. It cost $1.2 million and the renovation period lasted six months.
Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras-Copeland put of the funds for the initial renovation and Queens Library budgeted an additional $6 million, which are going toward the new expansion. According to DNAinfo, the councilwoman argued that the expansion, which was fully funded in 2009, was delayed too long. She told Department of Design and Construction Commissioner Feniosky Peña-Mora that delays were all too common in his agency.
In a statement, Ferreras-Copeland said she is looking forward to seeing the expansion and to continue advocating for Queens Library funding during this year’s budget process.
“Queens Library is a crucial resource for seniors, students, immigrants and families in my district,” she said. “We not only use the space for its collections but also as a place to bond with our children, learn new languages and immerse in cultural programming. Expanding the East Elmhurst branch to meet the needs of my community is an important investment that I am pleased is coming to fruition.”