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Elmhurst Library to close

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The Queens Library’s Elmhurst branch will be shutting its doors next week but when it returns, it will be bigger and better than ever.

The library said last week that the Elmhurst branch, at 86-01 Broadway, would be undergoing a $27.8 million renovation that would more than double the size of the current space. The new library, due to open in 2013, will feature 32 computers, a new adult learning center, an interior reading atrium, front and rear community gardens and separate sections for adults’, children’s and teens’ books.

“The new Queens Library at Elmhurst will be a community hub for generations to come, with its gardens and a wealth of resources,” Queens Library Chief Executive Officer Tom Galante said in a statement.

Joanne King, spokeswoman for the Queens Library, said the library is being redone because the current Elmhurst library is unable to meet the demands of the neighborhood. As of now it has more use per square footage than the Flushing branch, the most heavily used library in New York state.

“We’ve done everything we can in that building and they need a bigger library,” King said.

Services will still be provided to the Elmhurst neighborhood while the library is under construction. Beginning Nov. 9, a book bus will be set up outside the current library on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. A temporary library will eventually be opened at 85-08 51st Ave. in Elmhurst.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Borough President Helen Marshall helped fund the library.

“A library is one of the greatest resources for people of all ages in any community,” Marshall said in a statement.

City Councilman Daniel Dromm (D-Jackson Heights) also helped deliver funding for the library, which was acquired by his predecessor Helen Sears. Dromm said there was initially resistance to the renovation as the Elmhurst Library is one of the many libraries that were built through the efforts of philanthropist Andrew Carnegie.

But Sears and the library decided the amount of usage Elmhurst Library experienced was enough to justify a renovation. Queens Library will use the original bricks of the Elmhurst library to create the facade.

Dromm asked the community to be patient while the library is being renovated.

“We hope that people will realize in the end when it’s finally built we will have a beautiful, modern structure in place,” the councilman said.

Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at rhenely@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4564.

Posted 8:40 pm, November 2, 2011
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