BY JON CRONIN
The Ozone Park Library reopened on May 12 following one year of renovations and serving the community through the library system’s book mobile on Saturdays.
Jerome Myers, the community-library manager for Ozone Park, said that the new $2.1 million renovated library has a better indoor footprint and librarians can view the entire building from their desks and more easily serve visitors. He noted that, for the first time, the library has a teen corner, children’s center, computer lab, check in/out desk and a 540-square-foot meeting room, in which programs will be offered for adults and children.
The renovation also includes new furniture, decor and shelving as well as an ADA-compliant bathroom and a mural depicting the phases of the moon in the children’s area.
The new design was created by the firm Applied Design Initiative in conjunction with the Ozone Library staff.
Nick Buron, chief librarian for the Queens Library System, said that it took “a lot of people and a lot of money” to get the renovation underway. Former Queens Borough President Helen Marshall initially allocated $1.6 million for the renovation. Years later, when it was discovered that the roof needed repair, Borough President Melinda Katz moved $800,000 toward the roof replacement, which is the next project for the site.
Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park) allocated $435,000 for the new check in/out center. State Sen. Joseph Addabbo Jr. (D-Howard Beach) brought in $560,000 for interior design and the state Education Department allocated $1.1 million.
“No matter your circumstances or your background, the Queens Library is here to improve your life,” Buron said, adding that library employees have been hitting the pavement, talking to the community and stopping by local businesses to let them know of the reopening.
Ulrich and Addabbo both grew up in Ozone Park and said that they had fond childhood memories of the library. Addabbo said that his parents would pick him up from elementary school, go to the local hamburger joint Wetson’s and then take him to the Ozone Park Library.
“My father brought me here to get my first library card,” said Addabbo.
Ulrich said that his story was more mischievous. During his childhood, he lived on 88th Street in Ozone Park. The first time his parents took him to the library, he found a book titled The House On 88th Street and took it out. He sheepishly admitted, “I never returned it.”
Ulrich called the renovation to the library “badly needed” and cited the fact that when he took office eight years ago, the site looked remarkably the same as it did when he took out that book. He noted that by securing funding for the renovation, he hoped that he and the library system are now “square” for the overdue fines.
Reach Jon Cronin at 718-357-7400 x125, firstname.lastname@example.org or @JonathanSCronin.