By Naeisha Rose
City Councilman Eric Ulrich secured $250,000 in funding for the Queens Borough Public Library to open a temporary location while its Woodhaven branch undergoes a major renovation.
The library publicly thanked Ulrich at a press conference announcing the allocation Nov. 30 at the Woodhaven library.
Queens Library CEO Dennis Walcott said the funds from fiscal year 2018 will go towards a temporary space for the aging library, which will undergo interior renovations that are expected for 2020.
“It’s important for people that rely on the library,” Ulrich said as toddlers and their mothers gathered at the 94-year-old institution, located at 85-41 Forest Pkwy. for reading activities with librarians. “It’s important they have access to all the wonderful services that Queens Library provides.”
The Woodhaven Library was built in 1924 and has nearly 132,000 visitors annually, according to Queens Library spokeswoman Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska. It also circulates more than 145,000 materials a year.
“The City Council has been a phenomenal partner with providing not only capital, cut expense funding to support keeping libraries open and expanding services,” said Ulrich.
Ultimately, having a temporary space is necessary for the library to continue to provide services to its readers while the original site gets brought into the 21st century, according to Walcott.
“He is being visionary with this type of support, because he is laying out money for the future,” said Walcott. “When we do eventually shut down and use the temporary space, this will help us tremendously.”
Walcott hopes the integrity of the library will be maintained.
“This particular library is a very historic and beautiful building, but it is an old building,” said Ulrich.
The Woodhaven Library was the last of the four Queens libraries built with money donated by philanthropist Andrew Carnegie and was designed by Robert F. Schirmer, according to Kern-Jedrychowska.
Walcott could not elaborate on what types of upgrades the library will have, but he will be providing the public with more information in the future once talks with those providing construction for the site commence.
“The only way we can really do the type of renovation this place really needs is if we temporarily relocate it somewhere else in the community,” said Ulrich. “The work really needs to be done.”
Reach reporter Naeisha Rose by e-mail at nrose