“It’s hard to believe that 10 years ago, this was only a vision,” said Queens Borough President Helen Marshallat the event last Friday morning. “I am proud to be a part of the collaboration between the Queens Library, the Long Island City community and elected officials who have worked together toward the future of the significant landmark in this new neighborhood.”
The future library, which will be 21,500 square feet, is currently being designed by award-winning architect Steven Holl and has an emphasis on environmental education.
The building will include a reading area and a communal reading garden, and is expected to serve a population of approximately 45,000 residents in Long Island City.
“There are few projects that I care about and have been involved with longer than this one,” said Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, a former Queens Library employee and chair of the Cultural Affairs and Libraries Committee.
Bramer said the library would bring a sense of community to the area.
“A library becomes a focal point for people to gather, a place where they can participate in programs, where children can discover the joy of reading and older people can check out the latest bestseller,” added Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney.
The library is expected to cost $28.6 million, and is funded by various elected officials, Port Authority, Queens West Development Corporation, and the city's Economic Development Corporation.
Following the speeches, officials helped students from P.S. 78 plant trees that will grow near the building site.
Gina Baldwin, a member of the Friends of the Queens Library at Hunters Point, said she was excited for the completion of the library, which is set to open in the summer of 2015.
In the meantime, Baldwin said the organization would be working to schedule events in collaboration with the Uni Project, a pop-up library, including reading groups and other scholastic activities.