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Queens Chronicle

Elmhurst library to be rebuilt by 2013

1906 Carnegie Library to be torn down for larger modern structure

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Posted: Thursday, November 3, 2011 12:00 pm | Updated: 12:58 pm, Thu Nov 10, 2011.

Patrons of the Elmhurst Library will be shuffled around for a little more than a year as their cramped building makes way for a larger, modern structure.

The new building will be on the same site as the existing one, at 86-01 Broadway, when it opens in 2013.

Queens Library officials said the new building will double the current space, and have separate areas for children, teens and adults.

It will boast a 32-station public computer room, an adult learning center and front and rear community gardens.

It will cost $27.8 million.

“Elmhurst is a thriving community that needs a state-of-the-art library to support education, job growth and intellectual development,” Tom Galante, president and CEO of the Queens Library system, said in a prepared statement.

He said Elmhurst lends more than 1 million books and CDs per year, more than double the volume per square foot of the Flushing Library.

“And Flushing Library is the busiest in the state,” Galante said.

Queens Borough President Helen Marshall called the existing Elmhurst structure a victim of its own success.

“It needs to expand into a new building,” she said.

The original building opened in 1906, one of more than 2,500 libraries constructed around the world between 1883 and 1929 by industrialist and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie.

Joanne King, library spokeswoman, said there was a push from preservationists and nostalgia buffs to save the building.

“But it hasn’t been a Carnegie library structurally since 1930,” King said, referring to the first renovation that tripled the building’s size.

More renovations were made in 1965 and 1980.

“That building was outsized 20 years after it was built,” she said, adding that the architect took pains to incorporate some of the nostalgic features, some of which will use the original bricks in the new facade.

There will be a 1906 memory wall, and the fireplace currently in the children’s room will be preserved and put into the new building.

Elmhurst residents will have to do a little bit of reshuffling once the library closes on Monday, Nov. 7.

Starting on Wednesday, limited service will be available through a book bus, which will be parked outside the library from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays; and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays.

Beginning sometime this winter, a temporary library will open in trailers on a lot at 85-08 51 Ave.

Customers also may use any of the over 60 branch libraries in the Queens system.

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