FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 20, 2006
MAYOR BLOOMBERG CUTS RIBBON ON NEW QUEENS LIBRARY IN CAMBRIA HEIGHTS
$7.2 Million, 18,000-Square Foot Library Houses Approximately 60,000 Books and Other Items
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today cut the ribbon on the Cambria Heights Community Library on Linden Boulevard in Southeast Queens. Housing roughly 60,000 books, periodicals, videos, music CDs and other items, the new $7.2 million, 18,000-square foot library is nearly four times larger than the overcrowded store-front facility it replaces. The Mayor was joined by City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, Borough President Helen Marshall, City Councilmember Leroy Comrie, and Queens Library Director Thomas Galante at the ribbon cutting ceremony at 218-13 Linden Boulevard. City Councilmember Vincent Gentile, Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum, Commissioner of the Department of Design and Construction (DDC) David Burney, New York State Senator Malcolm Smith, New York State Assemblymember Barbara Clark and other community leaders also attended the ceremony.
"The philosopher Francis Bacon once said, 'reading maketh a full man,'" said Mayor Bloomberg. "Those who do not read fail to experience all that life has to offer - and that's why my administration has overhauled New York's once-failing education system. We need to make sure that all children learn strong reading skills, and neighborhood libraries play a critical role in that process. This inviting new Cambria Heights Community Library will ensure that children in Cambria Heights - and men and women of all ages - can discover the magic of books and the doors to new ideas and opportunities that they open."
"The City Council is proud to have made our City's libraries a real priority in this year's budget," said Speaker Quinn. "By investing in new and improved facilities in places like Cambria Heights, we are creating libraries that will serve as cultural and educational centers for people of all ages. And by securing baselined funding for all three library systems, we have ensured that our libraries have the resources they need to maintain hours and programming for years to come."
"It gives me great pleasure to announce the opening of the new state of the art Cambria Heights Library, said Councilmember Comrie. "I am especially thankful to have been able to complete the vision of my predecessor, Archie Spigner, and provide such a valuable resource to the community I represent. As a former School Board President and the parent of two public school children, I understand the need to have valuable resources in the community to help reinforce the importance of a sound education to our children."
"I am extremely pleased to have been able to provide funding for the magnificent new library at Cambria Heights," said Borough President Marshall. "It gives me tremendous pleasure to know we have been part of such fruitful and significant project that means so much to the Cambria Heights Community. This beautiful library will be the heart and soul of this community, especially for our children, as it is in every Queens Library across the great borough of Queens."
"The new Queens Library at Cambria Heights is a hub of education, literacy and culture in the community," said Queens Library Director Thomas W. Galante. "We are grateful to Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Speaker Christine Quinn, Borough President Helen Marshall and City Councilman Leroy Comrie for making this neighborhood jewel a reality. We are fortunate to have such great champions of libraries working together to enhance library service throughout Queens."
The library contains 15 computers with Internet access and 12 laptops to loan to customers for use within the library, as well as wireless Internet access for customers who wish to use their own laptops. Fully accessible for people with disabilities, the library will also feature fast self-service kiosks that will allow customers to check out materials. Additionally, the facility includes a program room for readings by authors, performances and other events.
Construction of the facility - managed by DDC from start to completion - cost $7.2 million. The City Council provided $6.35 million, while Borough President Marshall funded the balance; the City has provided funding for staffing and operations of the library. The Mayor provided $13.1 million in capital funding for the Queens Library system for Fiscal Year 2007, the most capital funding since FY 2000. This included $12.5 million to expand and renovate the Central Library in Jamaica, along with other borough-wide improvements in technology.
Kostow Greenwood Architects LLP completed the new facility. Its other distinctive features include a multi-panel abstract composition in the Children's Room by Barbara Ellman. DDC and the Department of Cultural Affairs coordinated with the architect and Queens Library on designing and constructing the panels, which serve as a counterpoint to the linear orderliness of the stacks and rows of books. The Ellman installation was funded through the City's Percent for Art program, which puts aside one percent of the capital budget for newly constructed or reconstructed City buildings towards public art. Additionally, the library features 5,000 square feet on the lower level that will allow for future expansion of public services. The new building replaces a much smaller 5,000-square foot store-front rental which opened in 1963.
The ribbon cutting ceremony started with a procession from the old store-front facility to the new library, led by the African drumming troupe Songhai Djeli. Students from P.S. 147 and P.S. 176 joined in the festivities, which included musical performances by the Cambria Heights Gospel Chapel Choir, the ChaRosa Youth Group and Todd Culver.
Stu Loeser/Matthew Kelly (212) 788-2958
Joanne King (Queens Library) (718) 990-0704