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Steinway library reopens

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Astoria’s Queens Library at Steinway re-opened last week with more than $400,000 in renovations, including a new computer area and self-check-out technology, after having been closed for several months.

Western Queens elected officials cut the ribbon last Thursday on the upgraded library, at 21-45 31st St. in Astoria. The library closed down five months ago to allow for the $429,000 renovation.

“In a time when the economy is not doing well, the demand on the library system is even stronger,” state Assemblyman Michael Gianaris (D-Astoria) said. “This is not the time to cut libraries, but to expand them when they are needed most.”

Gianaris allocated $134,000 for the upgrade, while City Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. (D-Astoria) secured $295,000 for new furniture and equipment at the library.

Improvements at the site include a new adult area, self-check-out kiosks, new flooring, computers, an area for laptops and furniture, said Thomas Galante, chief executive officer for the library.

Vallone is in the process of funding self-check-in equipment, which has yet to be installed.

“With library cuts on the way, we’ll be fighting again this year,” the councilman said.

The building is known as the Queens Library at Steinway, despite its being located on 31st Street near the bustling Ditmars Boulevard intersection.

The library chapter had previously been founded by piano maker Steinway & Sons as a site for immigrants working at the factory with books that were primarily in German.

Councilmen Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside), chairman of the Council Cultural Affairs, Libraries and International Intergroup Relations Committee, and Vincent Gentile (D-Brooklyn) also took part in the ribbon cutting.

Reach reporter Nathan Duke by e-mail at nduke@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4566.

Updated 5:49 pm, October 10, 2011
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