The Woodhaven branch of the Queens Library will operate one prekindergarten class this fall, in conjunction Mayor de Blasio’s universal pre-K program — the first public library in the country to do so.
The class, which will have 18 students, will operate in the library’s basement events space.
“We are the first library in the United States to be doing our own library-based UPK,” said Joanne King, the spokeswoman for the Queens Library. “It is a wonderful opportunity to bring additional quality early-childhood education into the community, in one of the best places a child can be: the neighborhood library.”
The Queens Library is also offering UPK at its Ravenswood, LeFrak City and Richmond Hill branches.
Some Woodhaven residents have expressed concern that the class will take away vital space in the historic library building at 85-41 Forest Parkway.
King, however, said the classroom will not take away from that space nor lead to cancellation of any existing programs in the library’s basement. The building, one of many funded by steel magnate Andrew Carniege, was built in 1924 and was completely overhauled in 2013.
“Even with the addition of the UPK program, the community will continue to have a full schedule of programming and will continue to be the hub of the community, offering ESOL, music programs, book discussions, and the much-beloved children’s programs,” she said, adding that work will soon be underway to create additional program space.
“That work will be coordinated to ensure the program calendar will continue as scheduled with the least disruption possible. All the familiar programs will be available, plus some new offerings as the year goes on. Included will be the addition of iPad minis that will be used for special technology programs,” King said.
Applications are still being accepted and can be found using the online search engine at schools.nyc.gov/SchoolSearch.