Long-Awaited Elmhurst Community Library Inaugurated

The entrance to the new Elmhurst Community Library in Queens, where a ribbon-cutting ceremony and hoisting of the flag were held this past Tuesday. (Photo by Javier Castaño via Queens Latino)

The entrance to the new Elmhurst Community Library in Queens, where a ribbon-cutting ceremony and hoisting of the flag were held this past Tuesday. (Photo by Javier Castaño via Queens Latino)

“This will be the most-visited library in our system and one of the busiest in the United States,” said Dennis Walcott, Queens Library president and CEO. “[It] is a direct response to the changing needs and demographics of a vibrant, diverse neighborhood.”

Walcott pronounced these words during the inauguration of the new building of the Elmhurst Community Library branch of the Queens Library, located on the corner of 86th Street and Broadway. The 4-story, 32,000 square-f00t structure, made of steel and glass, houses 27,000 items for adults, including books and magazines, 28,000 items for children and teens, and 15,000 multimedia items.

“This is a dream come true, and I am happy to be here at this inauguration, which was three years in the making,” said Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, who also spoke about the $343 million recently approved to keep New York City libraries open Mondays through Saturdays. The investment made in the Elmhurst, Queens, library totaled $32.4 million.

“It was our determination that led us to opening this beautiful library today,” said Queens Borough President Melinda Katz. “This means that taxes are working for the wellbeing of the people, and this facility will serve the future of our children and of society.”

“This is a great opportunity to continue serving our community with more space, more equipment, more staff and more services that go beyond book lending,” said Yasha Hu, manager of the library, which now has a 24-hour book return service.

The Elmhurst library reopened its doors on Tuesday December 20, at 1 p.m. People waited on the street and, after the protocol speeches, the ribbon was cut and the flag was hoisted.

The old building’s chimney, dating back to 1906, is now part of the children’s room. The library also possesses two rooftop terraces with a natural setting and a 13,000-foot open-air space.

Artist Allan McCollum designed the wall installation on the second floor, aiming to represent “the individuality and diversity of this neighborhood.” The construction was lead by Marpillero Pollak Architects. “We planned it so that Broadway would be visible from the inside, for its interior to be transparent and to create integration,” said lead architect Linda Pollak.

(Photo by Javier Castaño via Queens Latino)

(Photo by Javier Castaño via Queens Latino)

New York City Department of Design and Construction (DCC) Commissioner Feniosky Peña-Mora said that this library was re-imagined to allow people to travel through time and culture and to obtain knowledge. “I arrived here from the Dominican Republic as an immigrant, and libraries offered me resources to learn English and adapt. This library continues offering those resources to the new generations.”

The Elmhurst library has dozens of computers available to visitors.

 “Libraries are vital to our communities, as we can find books to read there, use computers, attend classes and participate in society. It is a safe place where people, particularly immigrants, can feel at home,” said Councilman Daniel Dromm.

Congresswoman Grace Meng, Senator Toby Ann Stavisky and Assemblymen Jeff Aubry and Francisco Moya were also in attendance at the inauguration ceremony, and praised the role of this library in the development of the community, the city and the nation.

The Queens Library system is independent, and was founded in 1896. It currently has 62 branches, which welcome over 11 million visitors each year.

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