Langston Hughes Library will get a $650,000 infusion to address building infrastructure needs, according to Queens Library CEO Dennis Walcott. The funding was allocated by Councilman Francisco Moya.
“Even with it being relatively new, there’s always challenges and issues with any building,” Walcott said. “Having this money allows us to keep this building ahead of the curve as well.”
The library system president said their buildings are 60 years old on average. Some face challenges with maintaining their heating system, air conditioning, roof work and more.
Walcott said library staff will “drill down more” and work with the branch to determine what needs to be improved.
Several Queens Library branches, including the nearby East Elmhurst site, will have new buildings altogether.
“While not on all occasions we can build new buildings, we have to improve the buildings that we have,” Walcott said. “That’s important because we have to make sure our libraries keep pace with the times.”
Moya said not only does the Langston Hughes Library serve the the African-American community in East Elmhurst and Corona, but also the emerging immigrant community.
“To really have an opportunity to learn the history of some of the influential African-Americans who’ve changed the way we live today,” he said. “Whether it’s through literature or through activism, their spirit lives on in the library.”
“It’s incredibly important for the young generation that’s coming up to know who they are,” Moya added. “I think that’s what libraries really are for, for people to learn and discover.”
The councilman said when he served as an assemblyman for eight years, he made library funding a priority. He touted equipping local branches with Wi-Fi so customers can have Internet access, important especially for those who can’t get connected at home.
“Going to the Corona Library was a place for me to learn and discover,” Moya said. “We see it now more than ever that we also have a lot of seniors who come in here, and adults who use the computers.”
Moya praised Walcott’s leadership of the Queens Library system, highlighting his City Council testimony about the challenges of local African-American and Latino communities.
“I think he has been truly a great advocate for the library system here in Queens and throughout the city,” he said.