More space needed in Queens libraries – QNS.com

More space needed in Queens libraries

By Kelsey Durham

The Queens Library system is currently suffering from significant space constraints and infrastructure setbacks, according to the Center for an Urban Future.

The organization released a report this week stating libraries across Queens are struggling to find the space to support the growing number of people who want to use its facilities.

Though Queens has the largest number of newly opened libraries in the city, according to the report, it also has the greatest number — 41 — of “small branches,” or locations under 10,000 square feet.

The report also states that Queens has six libraries that were built within the last 20 years, but even the newer facilities are failing to meet the high demand for use that residents across the borough are showing.

The study uses the Jackson Heights branch as an example of how poorly-configured some Queens locations are in comparison to the number of people who visit them each year. The location at 35-51 81st St. gets a total of about 375,000 visitors per year, but the building only has seating for 76 people.

It also only provides enough outlets for three mobile devices at a time to be charged.

According to the Center for an Urban Future, five of New York City’s 10 highest performing libraries that are considered to be too small for their users are in Queens: Far Rockaway, Fresh Meadows, Lefferts, Rego Park and Sunnyside.

Many of the library branches across the five boroughs, including several in Queens, are in need of capital improvements that total $5 million or more.

But despite Queens being drastically ahead of the rest of the city in the amount of funding allocated to its libraries for upgrades, the Center for an Urban Future says that money is not enough to satisfy the need for change that so many libraries throughout Queens are suffering from.

Reach reporter Kelsey Durham at 718-260-4573 or by e-mail at kdurh‌am@cn‌gloca‌l.com.

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