Queens Public Library’s (QPL) Flushing branch will welcome back patrons beginning Monday, April 25, offering full service for the first time since it temporarily closed in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Flushing library, located at 41-17 Main St., reopened in July 2020 for staff to process requests for books and other materials. It offered to-go service from November 2020 until March 2021, when the city began using it for its free COVID-19 vaccination site.
Although Flushing became one of the city’s most visited vaccination locations, the city had to stop administering shots inside the branch in mid-June because the building’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system had failed.
However, the city continued to use the site for storage to support the vaccination effort for several months.
The HVAC system breakdown came at roughly the same time as a previously planned closure of the library for the construction of a second elevator and the renovation of the existing elevator. Work on this project started in December 2021.
The bulk of the work on the elevators will take place at night so the building can be open during the day to provide library service. For now, the existing HVAC system has been able to provide heat while a temporary chiller is set up in a trailer outside the building. A brand-new system will be installed within the next two years.
Flushing Library is a vital community resource and the first stop for many immigrants.
In fiscal year 2019, it drew 1.7 million visitors, circulated 1 million items and brought in 184,000 program attendees, who participated in its English classes, GED prep courses, technology workshops, job readiness classes and a number of other programs. Many of its classes and cultural programming continued virtually throughout the pandemic.
Councilwoman Sandra Ung toured the library last month with Congresswoman Grace Meng, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards and QPL President and CEO Dennis Walcott, who assured Ung the library would open in April. Ung thanked Walcott and his team for keeping their promise and reopening the library before the end of the month.
“I’m so pleased that we finally have a definite date for the reopening of the Flushing Library,” Ung said. “The library is truly the heart of this community, especially for our large immigrant population. More than just a place to check out books, it is essential to our seniors and families, as well as a place for students to gather after school. Not having this facility in our community for over three years was a real hardship.”
Flushing Library’s hours will be Monday through Thursday from 10 am. to 8 p.m., Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. QPL hopes to restore Sunday service as soon as possible.
A roster of virtual and in-person programs will be offered starting on April 25. Flushing’s Adult Learning Center will also reopen the same day with classes for the public. The ALC hours will be Monday, Tuesday and Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Wednesday and Thursday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
For a complete schedule of QPL offerings, click here.