Queens Library officials and Councilman Paul Vallone hosted a meeting at the Douglaston-Little Neck branch this week to discuss upgrades funded through a $1.03 million allocation from the councilman and Borough President Melinda Katz.
The funds will provide upgrades to the air conditioning and heating systems for $750,000, upgrades to the security system for $65,000, and $215,000 for improvements to the meeting room and the installation of additional restrooms.
Vallone said that he was overwhelmed by the lack of financial support he feels his district’s libraries have faced for years. He expressed regret that so much of the allocation had to be used for structural upgrades such as air conditioning, saying that city hall should be paying for such capital projects.
“My funding allocation will go a long way to improve and modernize the Douglaston-Little Neck library so that the community can enjoy it for years to come,” he said. “Our libraries provide us with an invaluable resource and this project reflects my commitment to support our libraries, which is an investment for our entire community.”
Arline Abdalian, president of the Friends of Queens Library at Douglaston/Little Neck, observed that improvements to expand the meeting room space would ensure that no one would be turned away from arts and cultural events.
“It will mean a lot to us,” Abdalian said. “We consistently draw large audiences to our events, so this will be a huge step forward.”
P.S. 98 Principal Lena Kim commented that her young students will appreciate not having to wait as long for restrooms with the addition of new facilities, and that the library was important to their lives in the early learning years.
“The library is where our children dream and hope,” Kim said. “It’s where they expand their minds and their thinking, so I think you on behalf of P.S. 98.”
Although the upgrade is greatly welcomed by the community, many at the meeting felt more could be done to improve the library.
According to Abdalian, the Friends of Queens Library at Douglaston/Little Neck are advocating for $28,000,000 for a complete rebuilding or renovation of the library in the coming years. According to library officials, these plans are still in the early stages of proposal and nothing is certain other than the most immediate plans for renovation.
“With the money that we have, this is what we can do now for you,” said Bridget Quinn-Carey, interim president and chief executive officer of the Queens Library.