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Douglaston library gets tech makeover

The Queens Library reopened its Douglaston/Little Neck site last week following several weeks of renovations, including new computers, furniture and kiosks that allow visitors to check materials out themselves, the library’s chief executive officer said.

The library, at 249-01 Northern Blvd. in Douglaston, had been closed for a few weeks as it underwent the upgrade project. Upon its reopening Friday, customers may now check out books and other materials at new RFID-powered kiosks, which can also be used to pay late fees.

The site will soon unveil new ATM-styled self-check-in technology that will enable visitors to return library materials at any time of the day or night. Thomas Galante, the library’s chief executive offer, said the renovations were paid for by money allocated by Borough President Helen Marshall.

“She knows firsthand how good library service enriches lives,” Galante said of the borough president.

The library’s renovation also included new computers, plasma screens for customer information, upgraded decor and new furniture.

Jerry Iannece, chairman of Community Board 11, said the upgrade will make it easier for northeast Queens residents to pay a quick visit to the Douglaston site.

“It made it a little more friendly,” he said. “Everything is now automated. You can scan a book in and scan a book out.”

But Iannece said he believed the library needed further renovations.

“We are looking for an expansion,” he said. “It’s one of the smallest libraries in the borough, but it’s also one with the highest utilization.”

Iannece said the average size of a library in the borough is approximately 18,000 square feet, but the Douglaston site is just under 6,000 square feet, of which only 4,500 square feet is used.

“The library needs to be, at the very least, doubled in size,” he said. “I’m going to push for another 8,000 square feet.”

The Douglaston library was one of four libraries to which Marshall allocated $1.6 million, or $400,000 per site, for improvements. The other libraries were at 144-143rd St. in Rosedale, 117-11 Sutphin Blvd. in Jamaica and 72-31 Metropolitan Ave. in Middle Village.

Funding at those libraries also covered the cost of installing self-checkout stations, computers, security gates and furniture.

Reach reporter Nathan Duke by e-mail at nduke@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 156.

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