By Naeisha Rose
The East Elmhurst Library, which is undergoing an expansion, closed its doors Saturday for the second phase of construction of the $8.9 million project, which is expected to be completed this fall, according to a library spokeswoman.
The single-story brick library was built in 1972 and was last renovated in 2009, according to representatives of the branch.
Since then, the community in East Elmhurst has grown, and the library — located at 95-06 Astoria Blvd. — has approximately 83,000 customers a year.
“The branch required more space to accommodate the needs of this growing community,” said spokeswoman Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska.
Funds for the project were put up by the Queens Library System and former City Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras-Copeland (D-Jackson Heights) as far back as 2009.
“Queens Library is a crucial resource for seniors, students, immigrants and families in my district,” said Ferreras-Copeland in 2016. “We not only use the space for its collections, but also as a place to bond with our children, learn new languages and immerse in cultural programming.”
The bid process for the expansion did not start until 2015 and the groundbreaking was not held until 2016. The first phase of construction was completed in 2017.
The library was 5,200 square feet and was expanded to 9,700 square feet during the first phase, according to Kern-Jedrychowska.
The second phase of construction will include upgrades to the older building and a connection to the newer part of the library, which will include new space for a state-of-the-art community room for 120 people, a computer center for teens and adults, and a quiet study room.
The construction project will be sustainable and include solar controls and a natural air ventilation systems in the quiet area’s skylight and another one in the community room. Once the project is done, the library will receive a LEED silver rating, which will certify it as a green building.
“Queens Library prides itself on being a supporter of green initiatives,” said Kern-Jedrychowska. “When new library buildings are being designed, it is our, and the city’s priority to limit the environmental impact.”
Future author talks, civic meetings, and performances will be held at the library’s community room. The teen space will have five computers, while the adult space will have 10, as well as several meeting tables. The study room will feature space for six seats and electrical outlets at each for personal laptop usage, according to the spokesman.
Reach reporter Naeisha Rose by e-mail at nrose