BY JAMES FARRELL
Broadway-Flushing’s branch of the Queens Library, the McGoldrick Library, was named after Father Edward McGoldrick, the founder of the nearby St. Andrew Avellino Parish. But for years, visitors could never know that by entering the building. Beyond the sign outside that bears the late father’s surname, nothing distinguished him or detailed his important connection to the library.
That is, until Joe Brostek came along.
On Tuesday afternoon, members of the St. Andrew Avellino community, elected officials and others joined Queens Library President and CEO Dennis Walcott to unveil a new plaque with a portrait of McGoldrick and a detailed explanation of his role in the library’s founding. It was the culmination of nearly two years of campaigning by Brostek, who is a regular at the library and the historian at St. Andrew Avellino.
Nearly all of the branches of the Queens Library are named after the neighborhoods in which they are located. Only four are named after individuals—the Poppenhusen library in College Point, Steinway Library in Astoria, Langston Hughes Library in Corona and McGoldrick Library. But until Tuesday, the McGoldrick Library was the only one that made no mention or commemoration of its namesake. That bothered Brostek.
“I would frequently come in and ask the lovely people at the desk, ‘Who was McGoldrick?’ and, sadly, many times they did not know,” Brostek told the crowded library. “So, my mission began.”
According to Brostek, McGoldrick helped found the St. Andrew Avellino Roman Catholic Church in the early 1900s and served as its first pastor. In 1921, McGoldrick, an advocate for education, began serving on the Queens Library Board of Trustees, where he successfully advocated for a library in Broadway-Flushing. That library opened in 1929 and was renamed after McGoldrick shortly after his death in 1930.
Brostek brought the lack of commemoration to Walcott’s attention nearly two years ago, and Walcott decided to follow up on the issue.
“When we talk about McGoldrick, in addition to being a great library, we have to talk about the person who that library is named after,” Walcott said.
Brostek worked with library officials to prepare the plaque and locate the picture.
“And now, when anyone asks, ‘Who was McGoldrick?’ you would simply have to point to the plaque that will be hanging proudly in the entranceway,” Brostek said.