BY ARIEL HERNANDEZ
The $32.4 million, 32,000-square-foot library, which is projected to serve 1.2 million visitors annually, is now open. And to celebrate the official opening, CEO and president of Queens Library Dennis Walcott, Borough President Melinda Katz, and every civic leader and elected official within the confines of the district gathered together at the Elmhurst Community Library at noon on Tuesday for a ribbon cutting, followed by the official opening of the doors to consumers.
“It’s an exciting day for our library and an exciting day for our community, especially with a very long period of time for this library to open, and it’s as a result of the partnership of the communities, our elected officials, the members of the Department of Design and Construction (DDC) and the library,” said Walcott.
Originally, the Elmhurst Community Library, which had broken ground in 2011, was set to open in 2013. However the date continued to shift back. The 2013 grand opening was then set for spring 2014, followed by a set opening for spring 2015.
Community Board 4 District Manager Christian Cassagnol acknowledged the delay by saying, “For years we’ve all, and myself included, have partaken in the bells of speculation and the questions all focused on when the Elmhurst library would finally come back to our community. Ladies and gentleman, I think it’s safe to say that I’m not the only one standing here proud today – it is finally here.”
Assemblyman Francisco Moya (D-Jackson Heights) said the new Elmhurst Community Library is the most beautiful building he had ever seen in his life, and is “one of those buildings that will be cherished every time anyone walks by.”
“When I think of the library, I am reminded of a quote by [writer] Rita Mae Brown, who said, ‘When I got my library card, that’s when my life began,’” said Moya. “We come to libraries to really discover literature, to discover so many different things that have changed the lives of so many. From kids to adults, it’s the beauty of the libraries that fundamentally provides the access.”
State Sen. Toby Ann Stavisky (D-Flushing) took a more personal approach to her “thank you” speech when she presented her very own Queens Library card and said, “I am not just a state senator; I am a consumer.”
“It’s the love of reading, of knowledge, that I think is going to make this library such a successful one,” said Stavisky. “A library is more than just bricks and mortar and nice architecture and history of the past; it’s what goes on inside the library that counts. It’s the people; it’s the staff; it’s the love of reading; it’s the love of knowledge. And that’s what I think is going to make this library such a successful one.”
After the Elmhurst Community Library contributors said their thanks, they gathered outside the state-of-the-art facility for the ribbon cutting and official door-opening.
Reach Ariel Hernandez at (718) 357-7400 x144 or firstname.lastname@example.org