(Glendale, NY – November 1, 2021) Queens Public Library (QPL) President and CEO Dennis M. Walcott and NYC Department of Design and Construction (DDC) Commissioner Jamie Torres-Springer joined Congress Member Grace Meng, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards, State Senator Joseph Addabbo, Assembly Member Jenifer Rajkumar, Council Member Robert Holden, library staff and community leaders today to celebrate the reopening of Glendale Library. The $6.9 million project to make the library accessible to all patrons and upgrade the interior was managed by DDC for QPL.
“The renovation of Glendale Library is a remarkable expression of civic pride and reflects our city’s firm commitment to infrastructure that advances learning and opportunity for our changing communities,” said Queens Public Library President and CEO Dennis M. Walcott. “We are extremely grateful to our current and former City leaders for securing the funds needed for the upgrades, to our staff for their commitment and hard work and to the entire Glendale community for their unwavering support for this project, so beautifully executed by the NYC Department of Design and Construction. We look forward to serving the public from this outstanding building for generations to come.”
“We're proud to reopen Glendale Library today, with improvements that celebrate historic features of this beautiful branch while making upgrades to make the branch compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act,” said DDC Commissioner Jamie Torres-Springer.
“I’m proud to join the Glendale community in celebrating the reopening of this wonderful facility,” said U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-Queens). “As the mom of two young kids, I know firsthand the critical role that libraries play in our neighborhoods. They are crucial to supporting learning and literacy for children, and they help our next generation grow. I thank the Queens Public Library for undertaking these important renovations. The improvements will greatly benefit local families. It will allow more people to take advantage of this facility, and make it an even better resource for the community.”
“It is a beautiful day in Glendale with the grand reopening of its beloved library. I am glad to see the original grandeur of the beautiful Glendale Library intact while also adding a modern twist, including full accessibility,” said Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr. “These additions, along with the other work done as part of this project, has produced a first-class library that will meet and exceed the educational, cultural, and occupational demands of this vibrant neighborhood for decades to come. My heartfelt congratulations on a job well done go to Dennis Walcott and his entire team at Queens Public Library as well as Commissioner Jamie Torres-Springer and the outstanding staff at the Department of Design and Construction.”
“The renovation and re-opening of the Glendale library has been a longtime coming, and I thank Queens Public Library and DDC for the work they did to get it across the finish line,” said Council Member Robert Holden. “The residents of Glendale will now enjoy a much needed state-of-the-art facility, and have the access to great tools that will allow our city to flourish.”
“Just as books are more than mere words on a page, a library is much more than a repository of books. It is a place where the entire community comes together. Where our children sculpt their minds. Where jobseekers turn for valuable resources and training. Where we see our friends and neighbors. Because of the fine leadership of President and CEO Dennis Walcott, the Queens Public Library Glendale branch has been restored to its historic grandeur, serving as a cornerstone of our recovery and enriching the community for many years to come,” said Assembly Member Jenifer Rajkumar.
The Glendale Library at 78-60 73rd Place was constructed in the Italian Renaissance Revival style in 1935 through the federal Works Progress Administration and features 10,800 square feet of space over three levels. The project, designed by Matthew Baird Architects, makes the library user-friendly for all patrons and brings back some of its historic grandeur.
The library was upgraded to be compliant with the Americans with Disability Act (ADA) through the installation of a new elevator serving all levels within the building, an accessible entrance on Myrtle Avenue and an ADA compliant bathroom for staff and patrons. The main entrance and the service entrance were replaced and reconfigured to allow easy access to the library.
The interior spaces were renovated and reorganized to improve functionality. The original reading room and mezzanine were repurposed into new teen and adult reading rooms. The library offices, lounge and workroom were relocated to improve overall circulation and accessibility to the three-level building. The vestibule was restored to the historic configuration.
Parts of the exterior were restored to maintain the library’s historic features. The original features of the Spanish tile roofing over the central gabled section and the clerestory roofing remained and the flat roofing was replaced. Bas-relief medallions located just below the cornice on both street façades and featuring the images of noted poets, authors and philosophers, including Shakespeare, Voltaire, Homer, Dante and Goethe, were restored. The rear garden was rehabilitated and features new plantings and restored brickwork along the walls and the wall fountain was also restored.
The civic presence of this longtime community hub was enhanced with the restoration of the main entrance on 73rd Place. Much of the original decorative details and finishes remain and were restored including the woodwork on the main floor and the historic perimeter shelving. Three large windows that were sealed were reopened in the main reading room to provide views looking out into the rear garden, which was restored to resemble the historic layout and composition of the original garden design.
While the building was being renovated, QPL continued to serve the community through a temporary storefront at The Shops at Atlas Park, which was secured with the assistance of State Senator Joseph Addabbo, Jr. and became a popular destination for local residents and shoppers visiting the mall. The temporary space closed along with all of QPL’s physical locations in March 2020 to help stop the spread of COVID-19.
Funding for this project was provided by Mayor Bill de Blasio, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards and Council Member Robert Holden.
About Queens Public Library
Queens Public Library is one of the largest and busiest public library systems in the United States, dedicated to serving the most ethnically and culturally diverse area in the country. An independent, non-profit organization founded in 1896, Queens Public Library offers free access to a collection of more than 5 million books and other materials in multiple languages, technology and digital resources, and more than 87,500 educational, cultural, and civic programs a year. It consists of 66 locations, including 62 branch libraries, a Central Library, seven adult learning centers, a technology lab, and two teen centers.
About the NYC Department of Design and Construction
The Department of Design and Construction is the City’s primary capital construction project manager. In supporting Mayor de Blasio’s long-term vision of growth, sustainability, resiliency, equity and healthy living, DDC provides communities with new or renovated public buildings such as firehouses, libraries, police precincts, and new or upgraded roads, sewers and water mains in all five boroughs. To manage this $15.5 billion portfolio, DDC partners with other City agencies, architects and consultants, whose experience bring efficient, innovative and environmentally-conscious design and construction strategies to City projects. For more information, please visit nyc.gov/ddc.