June 18, 2018 By Nathaly Pesantez
The Woodside Library will soon undergo a massive redesign, as officials announced the allocation of $6.5 million for renovation work at the center.
The library, located at 54-22 Skillman Ave., is set to become a new state-of-the-art facility following a complete overhaul to its interior, said Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer, Queens Library President Dennis Walcott, and Rep. Joe Crowley in a joint announcement today.
The funding was allocated by the City Council in its recently-passed fiscal year 2019 budget, and came about after conversations with Walcott and Van Bramer on the library’s future. The Woodside Library had already undergone several weeks of asbestos abatement work toward late 2017 and early 2018.
“Dennis said, ‘We really need to redo the entire library’,” Van Bramer recalled. “Just gut and rebuild all of the interior and make it a state-of-the-art facility’.”
Walcott and Van Bramer began talking about the need to renovate the library months ago.
“We laid out our case, and then Jimmy went to work right away,” Walcott said.
Van Bramer said Crowley was instrumental in helping to push and secure funding for the library.
“Libraries are about connectivity—connecting with the outside world, but really connecting as well with each other,” Crowley said. “It’s a place of gathering where people come for resource, for knowledge.”
He said the $6.5 million in funding is an “enormous” investment for the community.
There is currently no design or visioning for the library’s new interior, but its currently-dated interior can be expected to be a thing of the past. The library’s new look will likely resemble that of newly-renovated libraries in the system today, a Queens Library spokesperson said.
It is also too early for a timeline to be provided on the project, but the Queens Library will take its project to the city’s Department of Design and Construction to be designed before presenting it to the community for feedback.
“We just voted on the budget on Thursday,” Van Bramer said. “Now begins the process of dreaming about what the interior of this library will look like.”
Closures can be expected once renovation work begins, a Queens Library spokesperson said.
The Woodside Library is also receiving $500,000 to revamp its children’s section as part of this participatory budgeting cycle.
The 10,800 square foot library opened in 1931, and saw 162,000 visitors last year, according to the Queens Library.