Breaking Ground on Library Project In Kew Garden Hills

Credit Late Civic Leader For Making It Possible

Ground was broken on the expansion of the Kew Gardens Hills branch of the Queens Borough Public Library during a ceemony last Friday, Apr. 19.

Shown from left to right: Deputy Commissioner David Resnick, NYC Department of Design and Construction; Rep. Grace Meng; Assemblyman Michael Simanowitz; Queens Library President and CEO Thomas W. Galante; State Sen. Toby Ann Stavisky; Queens Borough President Helen Marshall; State Sen. Joseph Addabbo; and City Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer.

Among those taking part in the event were Queens Borough President Helen Marshall, Rep. Grace Meng, State Senators Toby Ann Stavisky and Joseph Addabbo, Assemblyman Michael Simanowitz, City Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer, Department of Design and Construction (DDC) Deputy Commissioner David Resnick and Queens Library president and CEO Thomas Galante.

During the ceremony, the community was invited to bring their own photos of Kew Gardens Hills through the years, to display in the temporary space while the library is under construction.

During construction, library service is being provided in a temporary library at 71-34 Main St.. When the renovated library re-opens in 2015, it will feature an additional 3,000 sq. ft. of library space including expanded space for adults, teens and children. It will have double the number of public-use computers, fast RFIDpowered self-check-out, 24/7 selfcheck in and an expanded meeting room.

A new, design award-winning entry and building profile will encompass an energy-saving green roof. It will be eligible for LEED Silver certification. The building will be fully handicap accessible.

It was designed by WORK Architects.

“Today we break ground for a new generation of library users who need more space, more resources and more state-of-the-art technology in their local branch to pursue their interests, careers and dreams,” Marshall said last Friday. “As a former teacher and longtime elected official, I know well the value of libraries and, I also know, that the more than $8 million I allocated for this expansion is an investment in the future that will reap great dividends for our borough and the city’s future. I also believe that the late, longtime community activist and library advocate, Pat Dolan has won another victory despite not being here with us today.”

“With the beginning of the expansion and renovation of the Kew Gardens Hills branch of Queens Library, we honor the memory of a community icon who worked tirelessly to improve the lives of residents of all ages,” added City Council Member James F. Gennaro. “Patricia Dolan was an early and important backer of this project, and I know she would be immensely pleased to see all of her efforts finally begin to take shape today. The services provided by Queens Library have never been more critical for job seekers, students and parents. I am happy to provide my full support for this much needed expansion effort, and I congratulate Queens Library for their continued commitment to the people of this borough.”

“This groundbreaking is a great victory for this community, and for my dear friend, the late Pat Dolan,” said Stavisky. “Approximately five years ago, Pat asked me to meet her at the library on a Sunday at 11:55 a.m. There was a long line waiting to enter. This was her way to urge the expansion. On her advice I secured state funding for it. She wanted what was best for her neighborhood-she had no hidden agenda. It saddens me that she didn’t live to see the groundbreaking, but I know that every time someone checks out a book from the Kew Garden Hills Library, they will be honoring her memory.”

“I am pleased that the much anticipated renovation and expansion of the Kew Gardens Hills Library has now begun,” said Simanowitz. “When it is completed in 2015, this space will boast one of the most modern library branches in the Queens system. I want to thank all my partners in government for providing important funding on this project and single out Executive Director Thomas Galante for his leadership in bringing such a technologically advanced and environmentally friendly facility to Kew Gardens Hills.”

“We’re delighted to break ground on the expansion and renovation of the Kew Gardens Hills Library, which will transform nearly every aspect of the building and bring it up to modern standards. A bold new design will make the library more visible and accessible to the public — and at the same time enhance the civic presence of this longtime community hub. What’s more, the expanded library will be LEED-certified with many sustainable features, including a new, ‘green’ roof. I thank our architect, Work AC, for their terrific design and look forward to working with our partners at Queens Library to complete the transformation of the Kew Gardens Hills branch by next year,” said DDC Commissioner David Burney.

“The expansion and renovation of Queens Library at Kew Gardens Hills will create separate teen, adult and children’s areas, more computers, a quiet room for study, self-service check in and check out, a dramatic façade and green roof-it will be like a new library for the community,” said Galante.

Project costs are $10.2 million. Queens Library thanked Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Marshall, Gennaro, Stavisky and Simanowitz for funding the expansion of Queens Library at Kew Gardens Hills.