Today’s news:

Children’s room completed at Ridgewood Library

The library's basement is housing the children's room for the first time since the 1960s, when it was originally located there. It was later moved to a 1,500-square-foot area of the main floor of the library, said Madlyn Schneider, community library services administrator. Phase one of the project, which cost $1.85 million, includes a large children's room that includes several computers, fiction and nonfiction books, DVDs, CDs and books on tape for infants through sixth grade students; a meeting room to be used for adult education classes and after school programs; a small kitchen and office space for library employees; and an elevator, which makes the library ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) approved for the first time since it opened in 1929.Emily Taylor, the first patron to use the new children's room, said the new elevator is a relief because she has two young children."Before, I'd have to leave a stroller outside by the fire entrance and carry them both up," she said.The first phase of the project was funded by Queens Borough President Helen Marshall, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, state Sen. Serphin Maltese (R- Glendale), Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan (D-Ridgewood) and Councilman Dennis Gallagher (R-Middle Village)."The Ridgewood branch has always been heavily utilized, so we wanted to see if we could expand space," Gallagher said.The councilman said he secured $1 million in city council funds to give to the project."(The additions) really make this library state of the art," he said.Ruth Herzberg, library services program coordinator, said the new room will be more spacious and will include a variety of new materials for students from the 13 local schools the library services."They'll have a mostly new (book) collection and a really nice space to have programs here," she said. "It'll be a whole new environment for the kids - they will also have new computers and a copy machine."Schneider said the children's room will also feature books in an estimated 13 languages."We have a nice cross section of languages that represent the makeup of the community," she said.Herzberg said children make up an estimated 40 percent of the library's users. Of the 13 schools that use the building, 10 are elementary schools, she said.The second phase of the library will include refurbishing the main reading room, creating a young adult area and replacing heat and air conditioning systems, Schneider said.Councilwoman Diana Reyna (D-Brooklyn) has pledged $1.6 million toward the second phase of the project, said Queens Library spokeswoman Joanne King.Reach reporter Nathan Duke by email at news@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 156.

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