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Photo by Emil Cohen/New York City Council
City officials dig into a pile of dirt during a groundbreaking ceremony at the Steinway library in Astoria.

BY KATHERINE NERI

The $3.9 million renovation of the Steinway Library in Astoria was ceremonially started on Monday, Aug. 6, with a groundbreaking for the project that’s expected to be completed next summer.

The 12,500-square-foot library building, located at 21-43 31st St., is comprised of a cellar and two above-ground floors. It was built in 1955 and sits upon a 7,600-square-foot lot that includes a landscaped rear garden.

NYC Department of Design and Construction (DDC), the city’s primary capital construction project manager, is overseeing the project for the Queens Borough Public Library.

In the renovations, a new external elevator — made from translucent glass panels — will be constructed in the building’s rear courtyard and will serve all three levels, from the cellar to the second floor. A new ADA-accessible ramp will be added at the library’s main entrance on 31st Street, along with a new book sorting area entrance.

The building’s second floor and cellar will also be completely revamped — with offices created in the cellar for staff members. Additionally, existing external issues will be fixed, like the installation of a new roof, upgraded masonry and fixes to the water tightness of the building to stop any leaks to the inside.

To increase efficiency, the roof will receive new insulation and energy efficient insulated glazing will be used at the new entrance.

The renovations will make the library ADA-compliant, technologically advanced and energy efficient.

Queens Library President and CEO Dennis Walcott, DDC Commissioner Lorraine Grillo, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, Councilman Costa Constantinides, state Senator Jose Peralta and Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas all came together for the groundbreaking.

“With these renovations, Queens Library’s Steinway branch will be more technologically efficient, eco-friendly and accessible to everyone,” Walcott said.

Mayor Bill de Blasio, along with Simotas, Katz and Constantinides, are funding the project.

“A strong public library system indicates that a community values learning and future opportunities for its young people,” Grillo said. “This project will ensure that Steinway Library remains an enduring resource for Astoria, one that’s accessible to everyone as a center of culture and education. The Queens Library under President Dennis Walcott is investing heavily in its future and DDC is proud to be part of that effort.”

State Senator Michael Gianaris said, “Our libraries serve as a vital lifeline for so many Queens residents, especially for our immigrant neighbors. I am pleased to join so many leaders in announcing these needed improvements.”

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