Library Takeover At Hunter’s Point

BY JACKIE STRAWBRIDGE
Staff Writer

Although construction of the Hunter’s Point Community Library was delayed earlier this year, book lovers will have an opportunity to start their summer reading at Gantry Plaza.

Last week, Queens Library and Friends of Hunter’s Point Library announced a series of special library services that will bring books and reading activities to the waterfront this summer. All activities are free and are scheduled to run every Saturday until Aug. 23, with the exception of July 5.

The Mobile Library is one of several library services that will come to Hunter’s Point this summer. Weather permitting, the mobile library will be available to the public at Gantry Plaza State Park.

The Mobile Library is one of several library services that will come to Hunter’s Point this summer. Weather permitting, the mobile library will be available to the public at Gantry Plaza State Park.

The series kicks off this Saturday at 11 a.m., when the Volunteer Library Brigade will host a reading hour and book giveaways, among other activities.

Within Gantry Plaza State Park, Friends of Hunter’s Point Library will open a pop-up library, weather permitting. Comprising this pop-up will be a handful of bookshelves, benches and mats spread out in the park, accommodating about 40 to 50 people. Reading and arts and crafts activities will run from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

“We may have some music [performances] sometime down the line,” said Mark Christie, president of Friends of Hunter’s Point Library. “It’s going to be a very fun time.”

The Mobile Library will also park on Center Boulevard at 48th Avenue each Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., rain or shine, and will extend this service year-round. The Mobile Library provides books and materials for all ages on loan, as well as digital downloads onsite.

“The Hunter’s Point community deserves a world class library and we are very much looking forward to seeing that vision become a reality,” Christie said. “While we wait on the bricks and mortar, we are so pleased to have the Mobile Library service and excited to bring this sun and volunteer fueled pop-up library service.”

The Hunter’s Point Community Library project was delayed last year when construction bids came in at more than the budgeted $28.6 million in capital funding.

“People just cannot wait. They’re very anxious to get this library built, and it’s a duty of the Friends group to start to make a presence of the Queens Library close to the community,” Christie said.

“We want to show the community that we’re here, the Friends group and the Queens Library are here, and [the Hunter’s Point Library] is going to happen,” he added.

The Hunter’s Point Food Cellar has also paired up with Urban Libraries Unite to offer a mini library inside the market. This library – which will work on the “take a book, leave a book” model – will have Wi-Fi available and free downloadable digital resources.

Thomas Galante, president and CEO of Queens Library, said, “through this innovative partnership with the Friends of the Library and the community of Hunter’s Point, we can look forward to a summer of reading, enrichment and more resources that libraries have to offer.”

“We thank the Friends for their leadership and look forward to building on this strong community foundation,” he added.

Reach Jackie Strawbridge at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 128, jstrawbridge@queenstribune.com or @JNStrawbridge.