$14 million going to Queens libraries
by Holly Bieler
Aug 04, 2015 | 9366 views | 0 0 comments | 114 114 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Borough President Melinda Katz announced on Monday she will allocate $14 million for capital improvements to 12 of the borough’s 62 library branches.

Nearly $3.8 million of the allocation will go towards expanding the Arverne branch, while renovations will be done at the Baisley Park branch for $3.5 million and the St. Albans branch for $2.2 million.

The Flushing branch will be getting a second elevator for $2.75 million, while seven branches, including those in South Ozone Park, Steinway and Woodhaven, will be receiving security cameras.

“The millions of families who rely on the Queens Library services deserve nothing less than a world-class library system,” said Katz. “This capital allocation will help ensure the Queens Library branches remain up-to-date and better able to serve its educational purpose as a community hub of learning, literacy and culture.”

The funds come from $77,150,000 in discretionary capital funds for fiscal year 2016 allocated to the Borough President's Office from the city budget.

The allocation comes after the borough president withheld funding last year amidst a federal investigation into the spending practices of the library’s then-president, Thomas Galante.

Galante was fired in December after the investigation yielded evidence he had spent library funds on luxuries such as Maroon 5 concert tickets and a private smoking deck during his tenure.

Katz and Mayor Bill de Blasio replaced 10 of the Queens Library board’s 19 members during the investigation.

“The Board of Trustees continues to move the library in the right direction consistent with its educational purpose,” she said.

"On behalf of the Board of Trustees, I want to thank Borough President Katz for her significant support in allocating $14 million in capital funding to Queens Library," said Board of Trustees Chair Carl Koerner following the announcement. "It will allow the library to substantially upgrade its infrastructure, providing a better environment for library customers."

The funding comes just after an audit released last month by City Comptroller Scott Stringer’s office that evaluated in greater detail Galante’s questionable expenditures and accused interim president Bridget Quinn-Carey of improperly spending $49,000.

No moves have been made towards replacing Quinn-Carey, who lauded the borough president’s allocation on Monday as well.

"Creating inviting, inspiring spaces and keeping our library buildings in a state of good repair protects the resources our community libraries offer, and ensures a welcoming and secure environment for millions of customers,” she said.

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