Three public libraries in southern Queens will receive much-needed improvements through $9.5 million in funding that Queens Borough President Melinda Katz secured, it was announced on Monday morning.
Katz agreed to allocate $3.8 million to expand the Arverne branch in the Rockaways as well as another $3.5 million toward interior renovations at the Baisley Park location. The borough president will also provide $2.2 million for facade and multipurpose renovations at the St. Albans branch.
Each project, however, is in the design phase, and the start of actual work remains many months away, according to a Queens Library spokesperson. The expansion at Arverne “will begin in approximately 2.5 years” and construction will be completed “approximately four years from now.”
Queens Library will add more than 2,000 square feet at the Arverne location (312 Beach 54th St.) to create an expanded teen area and computer center as well as providing additional program space. The extension will be erected in a side yard on the site of a modular building the library has used since the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy in 2012.
The project at Baisley Park (117-11 Sutphin Blvd. in Jamaica) will be “a total interior renovation,” including revamped adult and children’s areas, a new teen and computer center and a new public space in the library’s interior atrium, according to the library. Construction is scheduled to take place “in approximately 18 months” and wrap up “2.5 years from now,” with the branch closed to the public for much of that period.
At St. Albans (191-05 Linden Blvd.), Queens Library will repair the exterior masonry and create a new entrance while also reconfiguring the circulation area, installing self checkout equipment, renovating the multipurpose room and upgrading technology. Construction will start “in about 18 months to two years,” depending on the completion of designs, and renovations will end “approximately three months from now.”
As with the Baisley Park branch, the St. Albans location will also be closed for a period during construction. Queens Library will create “interim service plans” to accommodate customers affected by the closures at each location.
Funding for the three projects make up more than two-thirds of the combined $14 million that Katz allocated to Queens Library for capital improvements. Other projects that the borough president is financially supporting include the installation of a second elevator at the Flushing library ($2.75 million), roof replacement at the Ozone Park branch ($800,000) and new security cameras at the Bay Terrace, Douglaston/Little Neck, East Flushing, Rosedale, South Ozone Park, Steinway and Woodhaven locations (a combined $618,000).
“The millions of families who rely on the Queens Library services deserve nothing less than a world-class system,” Katz said in a press release on Monday. “This capital allocation will help ensure the Queens Library branches remain up-to-date and better able to serve its educational purpose as a community hub of learning, literacy and culture.”
In thanking Katz for the allocation, Queens Library board of trustees Chairman Carl S. Koerner said the funding “will allow the library to substantially upgrade its infrastructure, providing a better environment for library customers.”