Today’s news:

Flushing Library poised to reopen doors Sundays

With summer drawing to a close, the Queens Borough Public Library is reopening three of its busiest location for Sunday hours.

Libraries in Jamaica, Flushing and Jackson Heights will welcome back patrons with celebrations starting at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 8.

The Flushing Library at 41-17 Main Street will host Mexican dance and Chinese opera performances. The Central Library at 89-11 Merrick Blvd. in Jamaica is slated to have an Indo-Caribbean dance and clown and magic show. The Jackson Heights branch at 35-51 81st St. will present contemporary Chinese music.

The libraries are scheduled to remain open on Sundays from noon to 5 p.m. until next summer.

The Queens Borough Public Library is the busiest system in the nation, with 17 million books and other items borrowed in 2001.

This weekend will mark the first time residents will be able to enter the system’s branches since May 19, when the libraries switched to summer hours.

For several years, 14 of the system’s 63 locations were open on Sundays.

Queens Borough Public Library, however, was forced to reduce its Sunday hours in November due to budget cuts in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

The $4.4 million cut allowed only the Flushing, Jamaica and Jackson Heights branches to remain open on Sundays.

The three libraries were chosen because they are frequently used, accessible to public transportation and located in different segments of the borough, said Queens Borough Public Library spokeswoman Joanne King.

“We tried to pick the biggest and the busiest,” King said.

Library advocates feared even larger cuts. Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s budget proposed slashing funds by an additional $10.5 million for the current fiscal year, leading to an overall reduction of 15 percent since Sept. 11.

The final budget, however, reduced funding by $4 million, allowing the system to keep Saturday and evening hours.

Still, King worried that a hiring freeze enacted on the Queens Borough Public Library could lead to a further slashing of hours later in the year if many librarians chose to retire.

“We may have to cut hours because we won’t have enough people to keep them open,” she said.

King urged patrons to visit the system’s website at www.queenslibrary.org, which provides information on items at the libraries.

For more on hours and Sunday’s events, call 990-0705.

Reach reporter Alexander Dworkowitz by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 229-0300 Ext. 141.

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