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Bayside library bash celebrates completion of $1.3M upgrade

Photo by Christina Santucci
By Phil Corso

The Bayside Library reopened its doors and will throw a welcome back party this weekend, the Queens Library said.

The celebration was scheduled for noon on Saturday, July 20, and will showcase the several upgrades made to the building’s interior. The 10,300-square-foot Bayside facility, at 214-20 Northern Blvd., closed its doors at the end of 2012 for $1.3 million in renovations and hit its target opening date for this summer, the Queens Library said.

Joanne King, director of communications for the Queens Library, said the Bayside building received a complete interior makeover with new self-service check-outs and a 24/7 check-in for materials. The library also has new designated areas for teenagers, adults and children with a bright new decor and full handicap accessibility, she said.

The building in Bayside was originally constructed in 1965 and has become known as one of the more heavily used libraries in the borough, the Queens Library said. That might have been why Andrew Rothman, a member of Bayside’s Community Board 11, expressed his discontent with the longterm closure of the building for upgrades.

“It’s difficult to believe this can’t be done in less than six months,” Rothman said at the board’s January meeting, just after the library closed its doors. “It shouldn’t be closed for that long.”

Board Chairman Jerry Iannece said the renovations probably took as long as they did because of the effects of Superstorm Sandy on different facilities throughout the borough.

“A lot of the resources are being focused on southern Queens,” Iannece told the board’s January meeting. “They are still waiting on FEMA money. I agree, it shouldn’t take more than six months, but they’ve got bigger fish to fry.”

But just over six months later, the building was completed on schedule and opened its doors this week. The Queens Library scheduled an afternoon of events from noon to 5 p.m. to mark the return of the popular Bayside location, including crafts, children’s programming and musical performances.

Bayside was not the only place in northeast Queens to get a new library, however. Just miles away, a new facility in Glen Oaks opened its doors to the public in May.

The new Glen Oaks library took more than 10 years of planning, which finally paid off this year when residents were allowed into the award-winning building, equipped with a sweeping interior stairway; separate areas with computer workstations for adults, children and teens; a unique sky-lit lounge; and two meeting rooms.

Reach reporter Phil Corso by e-mail at pcorso@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4573.

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