Queens Borough President Helen Marshall and Councilman Daniel Dromm were in attendance at the July 25th ceremony, and spoke as the new library was being built behind them. Marshall allocated $23.5 million toward the project.
"This is the beginning of what was a dream come true,” she said, noting a problem with overcrowding at the old facility. “I knew the need was for expanding library services for the Elmhurst community.”
Queens Library President and CEO Tom Galante said that he noticed the issue of overcrowding at the library, located on Broadway, around four years ago.
“The line on the first floor went all the way around the whole library,” he said. “It was s 20-minute line just to check a book out. Every seat was full and people were standing everywhere.”
The new Elmhurst Library will be over twice the size of the previous library, which stood on the same spot, and will include separate areas for adults, children and teens.
The new library will also feature a computer center, adult learning center and community gardens in both the front and back of the facility.
The former library was built in 1906. The new library will preserve its legacy by creating and establishing “memory features.” Original brick will be used in the new facade, and the nostalgic Children's Room fireplace will be relocated to the new building. There will also be a memorial wall.
Alan Nahmias, the President of Stalco Construction, the contracting company who is heading the project, spoke about the new library. “The 30,000 square foot library will be one of the best designed and most technologically advanced library facilitates in the United States,” he said.
After speaking about the growth of Elmhurst and the various projects occurring throughout the community, Dromm paused to look at the construction behind him.
“The crown jewel of what's going on in Elmhurst is going to be this brand new library,” he said.