QUEENS — Big changes are brewing at the library in Jamaica.
Book lovers will soon be able to read the latest bestsellers by J.K. Rowling and Stephen King while sipping coffee at the Queens Central Library in Jamaica, which is undergoing a $10 million renovation.
This week, a portion of the branch on Merrick Boulevard closed for renovations, which will include the construction of the first cafe at a Queens Library branch, said Joanne King, communications director for the Queens Library system.
It’s an effort to adopt the library to the current expectations of its users, King said.
The café will serve sandwiches, wraps and muffins. There will also be a plaza with casual furniture where library patrons will be able to “sit, read a book and have a snack, like they would do in a coffee shop,” King said.
The third and last phase of the renovations, designed by the architecture firm Gensler, will also include glass enclosure which will house several 24/7 self check-in kiosks, resembling “glass enclosed ATMs,” said King.
The entry to the building is being redesigned and replaced, to provide more space and look more like the adjacent Children's Library Discovery Center, which opened at Merrick Boulevard and 90th Avenue in 2011.
There will also be a new customer service and circulation area.
Most of the renovations at the 47-year-old building are slated to be completed by the end of the year and the café should be ready to open sometime this winter, King said.
“The latest phase of renovations taking place at the Central Library will allow residents throughout Queens to fully enjoy all the amenities this institution has to offer, in a relaxed and friendly environment," said Councilman Leroy Comrie, who provided significant funding for the project.
The previous phases of the $9.8 million renovation project already led to the completion of a new cyber center and quiet room and to the expansion of a media center with CDs and DVDs.
The teen area is also currently being built and is scheduled to open this fall.