Queens Public Library revealed its plans for the new, state-of-the-art Rego Park branch at 91-41 63rd Dr., which will replace the current one-story facility that opened nearly a half century ago.
The new 18,000-square-foot, two-story library, with estimated design and construction costs budgeted at $33.2 million, will more than double the size of the original library.
“The Department of Design and Construction’s outstanding design reflects the progress we have made towards providing this growing community a much larger, modern library with spaces that will uplift and inspire our customers as they access a world of free information, resources, services and opportunity,” QPL President and CEO Dennis M. Walcott said. “I want to extend my deepest thanks to Council member Karen Koslowitz for her decades-long advocacy and financial support for the new library.”
The Rego Park branch is among the busiest in the borough serving nearly 200,000 people a year during normal circumstances and lending about 190,000 items a year. QPL closed the branch in March 2020 to help stop the spread of COVID-19 and reopened a year ago for to-go service.
Since then, Rego Park has been among the top 10 QPL branches for check-outs, number of visitors and computer sessions.
“Rego Park desperately needs an enlarged library. This was also the case over 20 years ago when I was able to get an approval for a new library,” Koslowitz said. “Over the years, the project was unable to get underway because the financial goalposts kept changing and additional funding had to be secured. Today, I can say with confidence, thanks to the support of four past and present borough presidents, four past and present council speakers and Mayor de Blasio, this library project is finally on its way to completion.”
The project, which is being managed by the city Department of Design and Construction, is anticipated to begin construction in winter 2022 with an estimated completion date of summer 2025.
“The residents of Rego Park have been waiting for the construction of a new library for a very long time, but thankfully we’re here today to see this next step forward,” Queens Borough President Donovan Richards said. “The designs revealed today show that the new Rego Park library will be a first-class facility that will meet and exceed the educational, cultural and occupational demands of this vibrant community. Libraries are community hubs that are centers for learning, literacy and culture, and the new Rego Park library will certainly fulfill this promise.”
Designed by Weiss/Manfredi Architects, the new library will offer greater access to free resources, technology and opportunity to the growing Rego Park community.
It will incorporate innovative design, visual comfort including glare control, balanced acoustic design, natural light, ergonomics, weather and water tightness, ease of maintenance and use and energy efficiency.
“I am proud to have played a role, as the former borough president, in helping bring a new, modern library to the neighborhood,” Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz said. “This larger, upgraded facility will provide a safe place for children and teens. When this makeover is complete, it will give our seniors and everyone else in the surrounding area greater access to computers, community activities and, of course, thousands of entertaining and educational books to read.”
At double the size of the original library, the new facility will feature separate reading rooms for children and teens, as well as additional space for computer access and for educational programs and community activities.
“The students, families and staff of P.S. 139 are all very excited about the plans for our new local public library and we extend a very heartfelt thanks to all that are making it possible,” said P.S. 139 Principal Eleuterio Rolon Jr. said. “Our local library has always been an important part of the community and we look forward to many more years of partnership for the benefit of all our students.”