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Kew Gardens Hills Library to Reopen Wednesday After Nearly $10M Renovation

By Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska | September 5, 2017 5:08pm | Updated on September 6, 2017 7:12am
 The Kew Gardens Hills library is scheduled to reopen on Wednesday, Sept. 6.
The Kew Gardens Hills library is scheduled to reopen on Wednesday, Sept. 6.
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DNAinfo/Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska

QUEENS — The long-delayed Kew Gardens Hills Library will finally reopen Wednesday, featuring more space and a number of modern upgrades, including a green roof. 

The building at 72-33 Vleigh Place replaces the original library, which was built in 1967 and was 8,200 square feet, about 3,000 square feet smaller than the current structure.

Photo: Courtesy of Queens Library

The green roof, which the library said would last longer than a conventional roof, will reduce energy costs with natural insulation. It will also absorb storm water and heat, while improving air quality.

The library's adult and children collections combined will contain about 37,000 items, including 2,300 DVDs and 500 CDs with music and audio books. 

Located in the heart of Kew Gardens Hills, where a large Jewish population lives, the library will also have a Jewish reference and reading section containing about 250 books, such as volumes from the Talmud, prayer books, and selections from the Bible with commentary.

Photo: DNAinfo/Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska

There are also numerous books related to the Holocaust and Israeli history as well as about 1,000 various items in Hebrew and Russian.

Patrons will be able to use 17 desktop computers, six printers and free wi-fi, and they will get to relax in the library's periodicals area which features lounge style seating.

The branch will also have 10 laptops available for check out.

In addition, the children’s section will boast a play area for the youngest kids.

“We’ve developed a collection and are offering services that recognize the needs of a diverse and dynamic community and live up to the ideals expressed by this outstanding renovation and expansion,” said Queens Library president and CEO Dennis Walcott, adding that he hopes the new library "will inspire our customers to learn, discover and pursue their dreams.”

Photo: Courtesy of Queens Library

The original building closed in February 2013 and the library was scheduled to reopen in 2015, but it took two more years to complete the nearly $10 million project.

The library referred questions about the delay to the Department of Design and Construction, which managed the project.

Ian Michaels, a spokesman for the agency, said that the project encountered several setbacks, including discovering asbestos in the original building, which had to be removed.

Michaels also noted that the project "was substantially complete in April 2017."

"Since then the Queens Public Library has been building it out into a functional library," he said.

Prior to closing, the branch served 155,400 people each year, and had a circulation of 282,233, according to the Queens Library.