As the new Hunters Point Library nears completion, another new library in Queens is open to the public. On Tuesday, the Elmhurst Community Library, a branch of the Queens Library, opened its doors.
The new library at 85-08 51st Avenue, between Reader Street and Broadway, replaces the Carnegie library built on the site in 1906. The new facility is twice of the old one. Queens Library President and CEO Dennis Walcott, a former New York City schools chancellor, predicts it will see 1.2 million visitors annually, making it one of the busiest library branches in the country.
The 32,000-square-foot building was designed by Marpillero Pollak Architects and built by Stalco Construction, with the New York City Department of Design and Construction as manager. It features terra cotta cladding, protruding glass cubes, and brickwork from its predecessor, seen in the Broadway entrance. The old fireplace mantel has made its way from the old children’s room to the new one. The building is planned to meet LEED Silver standards. It cost $32.4 million, funded by the Queens Borough President and money authorized by the City Council.
Its four stories have separate sections for adults, teens, and children, plus an adult learning center that gets a level to itself and an early learning center complete with a play kitchen. The English-language collection has 27,000 items for adults and 28,000 for children and young adults, along with nearly 15,000 multimedia items, and there are materials in at least nine languages.
“The new Elmhurst Community Library is a direct response to the changing needs and demographics of a vibrant, diverse neighborhood,” said Walcott. “We are grateful to the many individuals who made this day possible, from our partners in government to our staff and our volunteers, and look forward to meeting and hopefully exceeding the expectations of our customers for this library.”
“The new Elmhurst Library is a magnificent facility that will be a center of learning, literacy and culture for residents of all ages for decades to come,” said Queens Borough President Melinda Katz.
“The Elmhurst Library is back and better than ever,” said City Council Member Daniel Dromm.
“When we invest in libraries, we invest in the future of our borough and our city,” said Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer.