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Queens Chronicle

Woodhaven library will have work done

Temporary space will operate on lower level during renovations

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Posted: Thursday, February 28, 2013 10:30 am | Updated: 10:50 am, Thu Mar 7, 2013.

The iconic Woodhaven branch of the Queens Library will undergo a renovation of its first floor later in March that will force the closure of most of the site for about three weeks.

But the library will not be completely shuttered during the upgrades. Queens Library spokeswoman Joanne King said the branch will operate out of a temporary space on the lower level of the nearly 90-year-old building at 85-41 Forest Parkway.

“The space will be accessible through the side door on 85th Drive,” King said.

The library will close its main door beginning March 11 and, though no definite date for completion is set, the renovations should take about three weeks.

New lighting will be installed on the first floor, and the branch will get new furniture and finishes as well as a fresh coat of paint. A new circulation desk will be constructed and self-check-ins and check-outs will be installed. The library will also get a handicapped accessible bathroom and a new front door, and the building’s roof will undergo repairs.

Ed Wendell, president of the Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association, also reported the renovations on his blog. He lauded the Queens Library’s decision to open a temporary space in the basement.

“Many times, while a library is being renovated, you need to make do with a mobile library,” Wendell wrote on his civic’s blog. “We are very fortunate to be able to keep a portion of the library open.”

Without that or the typical mobile library trailer, library patrons would have to travel to Glendale, Ozone Park or the North Forest Park branch in Forest Hills to access library services.

The Woodhaven library branch is one of the more historical library buildings in the borough. It was the last of the so-called Carnegie libraries — ones built using money donated from philanthropist and steel magnate Andrew Carnegie — going up in 1923 and opening on Jan. 7, 1924. The building underwent repairs after it was gutted by a fire in 1978. City spending cuts put the library’s future in jeopardy a number of times, most recently in 2010, when it was eyed for closure, but funding was restored in the final budget.

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