By Gina Martinez
Whitestone Community Library is getting a new roof. Assemblyman Edward Braunstein (D-Bayside), along with Queens Library president Dennis Walcott, presented the branch with $500,000 that will go towards repairs during an event on Monday. Also in attendance were local civic leaders Kim Cody, president of the Greater Whitestone Taxpayers Civic Association, and George Mirtsopoulos from We Love Whitestone.
“Our libraries are very important to us,” Assemblyman Braunstein said. “For some people it’s the only place they can get internet access. For a lot of students it’s a place where they can get quiet time and study and work on their school work. It’s not always the most sexy issue, $500,000 for a library roof, but it’s very necessary, and we’re proud to be able to help out in any way we can.”
“While the assemblyman said it’s not a sexy project,” President Walcott said, “it’s an extremely important project. Having a roof, and having $500,000 to allow us to keep our library snug and secure, especially in bad weather, is something that we value. The library, whether it’s here in Whitestone, or throughout the borough of Queens, is an oasis for individuals who don’t have a place to go for computers, who don’t have a place to go to read a book, and have a place to go to learn English and become part of the American dream and what it represents for all of us here in this great country.”
The Whitestone library is relatively small, but is used by thousands in the neighborhood. Employees of the library mentioned that they had received e-mails in the last few weeks complaining of the library’s condition, and said the repairs will delight library goers and are a welcome sign of progress.
Kim Cody has lived in Whitestone for over 60 years and has worked in the public library system.
“The work that the people do with this branch is very important,” he said. “I know about the children that come into the branch and use the books, I know about the seniors that come in to read their newspapers and catch up on the events in the community. It’s very important, and the fact that this grant is coming to repair the roof of this branch is going to make it more viable for members of the community.”
Walcott also mentioned a unique aspect of the renovation, a capital tracker program that allows residents and elected officials to be able to track the way the $500,000 is being used to fix the roof and the progress of construction on a quarterly basis.
Reach Gina Martinez by e-mail at gmart