The chief executive officer of the Queens Public Library and state Assemblywoman Michelle Titus (D-Far Rockaway) last week toured the renovations being made to the Arverne Library, which is set to open with a new look this spring.
“There’s been some good support from the [City] Council, the Assembly,” said Queens Library Chief Executive Officer Thomas Galante. “The key thing here is the state funding that Michelle got.”
Titus secured $50,000 in funds for the $2.8 million project at 312 Beach 54th St.
The library also secured city funding, which Galante said enabled the Arverne branch project to go through what’s called a pass-through contract, which he said enables the building to be constructed quicker.
“We can get the job done in five months instead of five years,” he said. “The work is being done in an expedited fashion.”
As Galante and Titus toured the space last Thursday, workers were busy installing new plumbing, heating, electrical and data systems, according to Peter Magnani, director of capital facilities and management for Queens Library.
The old Arverne Library opened in 1964 and had not had any full-scale renovations since then, Galante said.
During the construction, Arverne Library customers are still able to take out materials stored inside a temporary trailer.
The new library will feature a self-check-in with radio frequency identification technology, which allows library customers to return books 24 hours a day. Other improvements include expanded adult, teen and children’s areas, a new facade, a roof replacement, new windows and doors and new heating, cooling, plumbing and electrical systems.
Titus said the renovations are needed because the library will have more computers, which she said Arverne Library customers use for job searches.
She also praised the soon-to-be expanded children’s area.
“I think that’s what our children deserve,” she said.
Galante said the Queens Library system’s business has increased 40 percent in the last five years. Last year 23 million items were loaned out and he said the system expects 24 million materials loaned this year.
The Queens Library is the busiest in the country and among the busiest in the world.
Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at hkoplowitz
©2010 Community News Group
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