Thursday, September 10, 2009

Officials Fund Library Upgrades

By Conor Greene

The Glendale and Ridgewood branches of Queens Library will be upgraded thanks to $1.2million provided by Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley, while the Middle Village branch reopened this week following a $400,000 renovation sponsored by Borough President Helen Marshall.

Crowley (D-Middle Village) joined Queens Library Director Thomas Galante last Thursday at the Glendale Library to present a$400,000 check, which will help fund the second phase of the 73rd Place branch. Planned upgrades include a new elevator and staircase connecting the main and lower floors and renovation of the Renaissance garden adjacent to the newly-renovated lower level.

“The funding will allow for both the expansion of the children’s area as well as the adult section,” said Crowley. “This will create a more inviting space for the community, increasing the book inventory while opening more reading space.” She said the children’s area is expected to open within weeks in an area that has been used for storage over the past half-century. “While the project is almost complete, this funding will make the expansion a reality and the building will now be utilized to its fullest potential.”

In addition to the money for Glendale, Crowley also allocated $800,000 to complete renovations at Queens Library at Ridgewood. “I strongly believe that investing in our local library is money well spent because it has the opportunity to become a cornerstone of the community,” she said.

This past Wednesday, Marshall joined library officials for the reopening of the Middle Village branch on Metropolitan Avenue, which was upgraded with $400,000 she provided. The funding helped cover the costs of installing new technology that allows for self-checkout, public access computer stations, touch screen monitors, security gates and new furniture.

Marshall, a former early childhood teacher and a founder of the Langston Hughes Library in Corona, bills herself as a “longtime advocate for libraries.” Since becoming Borough President in 2002, she has allocated more than $81 million to library projects. In addition to the Middle Village branch, she provided $400,000 each to the Rosedale, Baisley and Douglaston branches.

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