Ridgewood Library closes for tech upgrade

Ridgewood Library closes for tech upgrade
By Rebecca Henely

The Ridgewood Library on Madison Street is due to close its doors this week, but not forever or even for very long.

When it reopens in the middle of December, the 82-year-old library will be reoutfitted with a new decor and today’s technology.

“There’s going to be a big difference in how the library operates,” said Joanne King, spokeswoman for the Queens Library system.

The $2.8 million project will be the final phase of a series of upgrades that began in 2005, King said. That year work began on a new children’s area and meeting room, which opened in February 2006 and cost $1.85 million. Ten months ago the main area and the mezzanine area of the library were closed for renovations. Adult services were moved into a community room.

“It’s an old building and some of the space wasn’t being used to the maximum for customer service,” King said of the upgrades, “and it wasn’t taking advantage of today’s technology.”

Upgrades to the library include a computer center with 18 workstations, a self-service check-out, a separate area for teenagers, adult reading areas and the mezzanine has been renovated so it is accessible to those with mobility disabilities.

The building the library is housed in opened in 1928, and King said the facade will still maintain its historical look.

“This library is going to pay homage to the original style of architecture,” King said, “so it fits the neighborhood on the outside while being state of the art technologically inside.”

Many politicians have financed the renovations throughout the years. Contributors to the children’s room included Mayor Mike Bloomberg, Borough President Helen Marshall, former state Sen. Serphin Maltese, state Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan (D-Ridgewood) and former City Councilman Dennis Gallagher.

Bloomberg and Nolan also contributed to the recent renovations, as did Councilwomen Elizabeth Crowley (D-Middle Village) and Diana Reyna (D-Ridgewood), Sen. Joe Addabbo (D-Howard Beach) and the Queens delegation to the Assembly.

Nolan said the library was beautiful and she was glad it is being renovated.

“It’s really thrilling and I have a particular love for that library,” Nolan said. “I’ve been a cardholder there for many years.”

Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at [email protected] or by phone at 718-260-4564.