By Ivan Pereira
The Windsor Park library branch is back open for business with new amenities targeted at enriching the reading experience for children and adults.
The Queens Public Library’s top administrator joined longtime branch users and elected officials Friday at the branch, at 79-50 Bell Blvd., to show off its nearly $3 million redesign. Thomas Gallante, Queens Library’s CEO, said architects and designers put a lot of thought into revamping the three-floor space and he was pleased with the results.
“The library really has a full makeover,” he said.
The branch’s entrance has a high-tech feature that makes it easier for users to check in and out their materials. The automated self-check-in machines are available beforeï»¿ the foyer of the branch in a special section and like ATM machines can accept books and cash for payments on various library fees.
Also like ATMs, the check-in machines are available for all Queens Library card-holding customers 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
“This allows customers to casually check in and check out materials,” Gallante said.
Other technological upgrades included new computers and self-check-in stations at the librarian’s desk.
The look of the library was also changed from top to bottom. The entire entrance has large glass walls that give a good view of Bell Boulevard.
Designers installed new carpets and painted the walls with an appropriate choice of Windsor blue, according to library administrators. The children’s section in the lower level underwent the most changes.
New shelves and desks were installed and a section of the floor known as the cave was created for the young readers to read their materials in a fun play place.
Margaret Gruen, a Bayside native who volunteers her time at the branch, said she was impressed with the redesign. Gruen, who lives in Manhattan, said she was there when the library first opened in 1956 and it is still popular as ever with Queens readers.
“This is very beautiful,” she said of the new and improved branch. “It doesn’t take away from the original look and it’s very opening and welcoming.”
Gallante mentioned that a quarter of a million dollars has been spent over the last five years for library renovations and urged elected officials, including state Sen. Toby Stavisky (D-Whitestone), state Assemblyman David Weprin (D-Little Neck) and City Councilman Mark Weprin (D-Oakland Gardens), to continue to help provide funding for more changes to current branches.
“Libraries are important to communities and we continue to grow to fit their needs,” Councilman Weprin said.
Reach reporter Ivan Pereira by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 718-260-4546.