Far Rockaway Library’s $33M renovation project begins

The Queens Library system is spending $33 million to double the size and upgrade its Far Rockaway branch.
Courtesy of Queens Library
By Naeisha Rose

The Far Rockaway branch of Queens Library will be closed down and prepped for construction Friday, as a $33 million state-of-the-art replacement building that will be double the size of the original facility begins construction, according to a spokeswoman for Queens Library.

The library, located at 1637 Central Ave., was estimated to take three years to be rebuilt and was designed by the renowned Norwegian architectural firm in Oslo called Snøhetta, according to spokeswoman Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska.

The original library, a single-story brick building that was 9,000 square-feet, was erected in 1968, according to the Kern-Jedrychowska. The new structure will feature a glass curtain wall, pyramidal entrance, central atrium and a blue roof designed to detain water.

The last day of service at the library was Thursday, Sept. 28. Starting Oct. 30, at 1 p.m., the library will have a temporary location at 1003 Beach 20th St. in Far Rockaway, which is adjacent to the Far Rockaway Teen Center — located at 2002 Cornaga Ave.

In front of the Teen Center will be a temporary mobile library service on Oct. 15 and Oct. 22, according to the Kern-Jedrychowska.

Once completed, the green LEED-certified building will be 18,000-square-feet and two stories, have an ADA-compliant entrance and restrooms, a meeting room, a quiet room, self check-in/out equipment, an elevator and additional computer stations for children, teen and adult spaces, Kern-Jedrychowska said.

The green building will have minimal environmental impact and rely significantly on natural light, and the blue roof system will be used to store and later gradually drain rainwater off the building’s rooftop in order to slow down its rate of release into the local sewer system to prevent it from being overwhelmed during rainstorms, according to Kern-Jedrychowska.

The adult room, which is on the second floor, “will boast 12 computer stations and reading tables, which can accommodate 30 patrons,” Kern-Jedrychowska said. “The reading tables will feature outlets. The area will also have charging stations.”

Also on the second floor is the children’s area, which will feature eight computer stations and have its own separate restrooms. The teen room will be on the first floor and will feature 16 computer stations, according to Kern-Jedrychowska. The previous building did not feature a teen area before with the Teen Center Library nearby.

Snøhetta has designed several high-profile projects, including the Alexandria Library in Egypt and the National September 11 Memorial Museum & Pavilion at the World Trade Center site, according to Kern-Jedrychowska.

Queens Library and elected officials in Far Rockaway hope the renovated branch will serve as a cornerstone of downtown Far Rockaway for years to come.

“The Far Rockaway library is a necessary and vital element of our community that provides necessary resources that help residents find employment, study for exams and learn new skills,” said Councilman Donovan Richards (D-Far Rockaway). “A new fully-loaded library will help our neighborhood reach that next level as we continue to bring in added resources and opportunities to ensure our residents acquire the essential tools for success.”

Reach reporter Naeisha Rose by e-mail at nrose@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4573.

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