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Katz cuts ribbon on new library at PS 174

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"Our libraries play a critical role in child development and education, so I was proud to be able to fund this effort on behalf of the Briarwood Community Association," said Gennaro (D-Fresh Meadows). "Over the last two years, I've funded hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of capital improvements for all the libraries in my district."

The Briarwood Community Association used $3,800 of Gennaro's discretionary funds to buy a reading table for kids with four matching, padded stools, three mobile bookstands to display children's books and a fat, 5-foot-long green and orange stuffed bookworm.

The furniture was delivered to the Briarwood public library at 85-12 Main St. on Jan. 24.

"It's really cute," said Jimmy Van Bramer, the community relations manager for the Queensborough pubic libraries. "We're hopeful that the Briarwood Community Association will look favorably upon us in the future as well."

At PS 174 at 65-10 Dieterle Crescent in Rego Park, Katz (D-Forest Hills) joined students, teachers and parents for a ribbon-cutting ceremony Friday to celebrate the opening of their new library, which is equipped with a Smartboard that allows teachers to project an image from a computer onto a large screen and to write upon the image using special markers.

The school plans on cataloging all its books in a computerized system using new computers. The school's old library, which was about one third the size of the new one, used a card catalogue to keep track of books.

Construction and furnishing of the new library used about $224,000 of funds secured by Katz for the school through a grant, leaving about $100,000 for a new computer lab that the school plans on installing.

"It was desperately needed," said Gail Becker, the president of PS 174's Parent Association, about the new library. "After they closed the old library upstairs, they had classroom libraries, and of course we have public libraries that the children can utilize, but this (new library) is more like a state-of-the-art media center."

Becker has a son in the first grade and a daughter in the fifth grade at PS 174 and attended the school herself years ago.

"We're very excited to get the children in there already," she said. "We have the children's artwork hung all over the library and it looks beautiful."

Reach reporter Tien-Shun Lee by e-mail at news@timesledger.com, or call 718-229-0300, ext. 155.

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