By Mark Hallum
State Assemblyman Edward Braunstein (D-Bayside) presented a check for $500,000 to the Queens Library at North Hills last week which will contribute to capital improvements to the facility and give readers more convenient options. The building, located at 57-04 Marathon Pkwy. in Little Neck, will become ADA-accessible and allow members to check in books at all hours of the night.
Queens Library CEO Dennis Walcott and staff from North Hills accepted the funds, which Braunstein said goes along with about $1 million he has allocated to libraries in his district this year.
“We know how important this library is, especially to the two fabulous schools we have here,” Braunstein said, referring to PS Q811 and PS 221. “I’m always impressed at how bright the students are and the great questions they ask. We’re very lucky to have such great schools in this neighborhood. This library works hand-in-hand with these schools.”
Walcott accentuated the multiple purposes the library serves for the community and the need to make facilities more accessible.
“We are very pleased that we are now in a position to offer the Little Neck community greater access to their library, and we are grateful to Assembly member Braunstein for sharing our vision of providing lifelong learning opportunities and information to the public,” said Walcott.
North Hills’ branch manager, Yang Zeng, said the services provided to the community by the library are critical to both children, seniors and those in the market for a job, but it is falling behind on critical updates.
“A lot of people also don’t realize the library is also an important community center. At North Hills Library, kids everyday come to the library to do their homework. We also have job hunters come to the library to use the computers to search for jobs,” Zeng said. “We have recent immigrants come to the library to learn English as a second language… the library, indeed, is a very important community center.”
Zeng emphasized that the library is reaching its 30 year mark and in need of improvements.
The most recent government grant to North Hills Library came from Borough President Melinda Katz in August last year. As part of her sweeping allocation of $14 million to 12 branches due for capital improvements, $65,000 went to a new security camera system at North Hills and $500,000 went toward an upgraded HVAC system on the grounds.
Reach reporter Mark Hallum by e-mail at mhall