BY JOE MARVILLI
The Bay Terrace branch of the Queens Library received $1 million from Councilman Paul Vallone (D-Bayside) to help revamp and fully upgrade it.
The announcement was made on Aug. 4 in the library, after a meeting between Vallone, library representatives and surrounding school and civic leaders to determine what renovations are most needed. Although it is still in the planning stages, the funding looks to completely transform the library, taking advantage of its indoor and possibly its outdoor space.
“We want to hear from you, we want to hear from everyone to what you would like to see here in your library. Libraries have changed. They’re now more of a community center, a place for everyone,” Vallone said. “This library presents a real unique opportunity. We have an outside that we can utilize along with the inside.”
The councilman said that he wanted to put big chunks of his capital funds into libraries and parks in his district, which he said have not received funding for years. Due to the high volume of patrons at Bay Terrace Library, it was the first one to get capital funds from Vallone for improvements.
Suggestions for the library so far include separate sections for children, teens and seniors, upgraded technology, a larger computer lab, an expanded program area, outdoor seating and an outdoor garden. Although Vallone said that the scope of the project would require more than $1 million, it was a good start that will encourage further funding.
Eve Hammer, the community library manager for Bay Terrace, said she was thrilled to get the funding and excited by the potential changes it will allow for at the branch.
“My first thought was we can make a great library even better,” she said. “We serve a cross-section of the community. We want to serve the community as best we can and that is serving all ages of the community.”
Several civic leaders also spoke in support of a collaborative renovation process.
“This library has great potential. I look forward to the ribbon-cutting here,” Community Board 7’s district manager, Marilyn Bitterman, said.
Vallone said that he would like to see the project completed by the end of 2016.
“We saw this library as one that hadn’t been touched in 40 years so we started here first,” he said. “My vision for each year going forward is to pick a library to do the same thing.”
Reach Joe Marvilli at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 125, firstname.lastname@example.org, or @JoeMarvilli.