by Kevin Walsh

Elmhurst will be losing one of its historic buildings in the near future, as its 105-year old library on Broadway, funded, like many of its brother libraries in the 5 boroughs, by steel industrialist/philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, will soone be torn down to make way for a larger structure.

The $27.8 million, 30,000-square-foot facility will span four floors and have separate areas for children, teens and adults. It includes a 32-computer Cyber Center and an interior reading atrium along with a community garden.

[Queens Library CEO Thomas] Galante said the new design features “a lot of glass and a lot of light” but also incorporates some bricks from the old building and relocates the children’s room fireplace.

The heavily used Adult Learner Center, which teaches literacy programs, is being temporarily relocated to the former gym at nearby St. James Episcopal School.

Starting Nov. 9, customers will be able to take out some library materials from a book bus parked outside the old site while a temporary facility is constructed in trailers on a nearby parking lot. NY Daily News




John November 1, 2011 - 12:24 pm

No matter the age, most communities are trying desperately to save their original Carnegie Library buildings. It’s sad to see this is not the case in Elmhurst, despite what is replacing it and despite how out-of date the original facility is. Most libraries will add new wings or additions, something which is altogether unlikely here given the location.

ew-3 November 1, 2011 - 5:13 pm

Would like to see a detailed budget of this construction.

$27.8 million (before cost over runs) for a 30K square foot warehouse for books is pretty steep particularly in a down real estate market.

nygrump November 2, 2011 - 8:46 am

I’m sure that a puiblic works project in Queens will be above board, there is no corruption, nothing to see, move along or we’ll tase you.

Francia November 3, 2011 - 11:06 am

This is really sad…When will people start appreciating historic buildings..It’s we have left from what used to be the real new york.

Marian November 6, 2011 - 8:43 am

I could barely wait until I was eight years old so I could get my library card in 1943. I spent many happy hours in this library. Miss Mullen, the children’s librarian was so helpful to me. There was a teen drama club and we were so excited because we were appearing on “Briadway.” When I was sixteen, I became a page in the library. This was so helpful in learning the Dewey Decimal System which has helped for the rest of my life. At least they are saving the children’s room fireplace. It would have taken too much creativity to keep the old library and modify it for modern use. Elmhurst is an old colonial town and it is becoming just another overpopulated nondescript part of New York City.

Constance November 6, 2011 - 2:40 pm

Sad to see that the Elmhurst Public Library will be torn down. At 16 and a senior at Newtown, I started working there, October 28, 1963 to be exact, and continued until I graduated college in 1968. I spent many pleasant times at the library prior to that time period, being a part of the story hours as a child. My future husband would come in to study every Saturday when I worked there. It was a great time.
Too bad the city couldn’t find a way to remodel the existing structure and not get rid of history.

Jacqueline November 6, 2011 - 8:56 pm

My first introduction to the library a few blocks from my house,the house which has long been torn down to give way to a multi-family structure, was story hour. I joined the library soon after in about 1941 or 1942, took out books that were too heavy for me, but at age 8 I typed the History of the World, plagiarizing liberally from all those most wonderful sources books! I still have a picture of my young,12-year-old friends and me performing in play there. We practiced for what seemed to be months! Our teen group sponsored by the library faded, alas, but even through Queens College, I occasioned the library, which I knew so well.

It saddens me to see it go. It has a special place in the history of the new Dutch town of Newtown, and did you know that Clement C. Moore who wrote T’was the Night before Christmas, lived just cross the street and down the block? Our Public School 13 was proudly named after him.

Analysse November 7, 2011 - 12:09 am

Having just received some bad news, I turned to this website for diversion, but instead discovered that my old library is being torn down. This is just sad. Surely the budget being spent on new construction could have been used to renovate and refurbish this historic buildiing; but there’s simply no respect or value given to anything aged anymore.

I also attended Newtown High School, and often used this library, even more so after my family moved three blocks away. The library became a meeting place with friends, and was also a relaxing, bright space for working on school papers, for reading, for exploring the world with the help of the thoughtful library staff. The library was a peaceful refuge. I loved this place, and am very saddened to hear it’s being destroyed, just because. What a complete waste.

TTW November 13, 2011 - 11:53 am

It is a small library, but with that budget, I am sure that it is possible to keep the outer structure, and add 2 more floor on top. That will keep the history intact with modern facility.

Pat November 13, 2011 - 12:45 pm

When I was a newlywed in 1976, we had an apartment in Middle Village (near the big gas tank) and I used to walk to the library. I thought it was the coolest library I have ever been in, with the spiral stairs to the second level. My father in law grew up in that neighborhood and he said he remembered going to that library when he was a kid. He said the big deal was going on Saturday and before he got to the library he would stop by one of the local markets and “snich” a pickle out of the barrel. Then go spend the afternoon reading and munching on a big garlic pickle.

Gloria L. November 19, 2011 - 12:04 am

Did they design it with their eyes closed??? I’m an architect myself and that new thing looks hidieous! That thing does not belong in a neighborhood like this! That is something you would see in the city! If the neighborhood officials were so concerned about maintaining the aesthetics of the neighborhood they would have historically registered the building. Historically registered buildings cannot be demolished!! They could have easily added to the building.
They might as well cut the old building in half like they did to a house by Newtown Highschool to build more ugly stuff. This neighborhoods architecture is going to hell in a hand baskest 🙁

hing yee December 8, 2011 - 10:48 pm

I moved here in the 1970’s and spent a lot of time studying, and enjoying the books. It’s sad to see it go but you have to admit, the current library is too small for today’s population density in Elmhurst. Times have changed, and so has the neighborhood. It’s ugliness can match the new 4 / 5 story condo complex going up on the corner of Broadway. With all the new schools near the library and population increase, Elmhurst needs a bigger library regardless of how it looks. Besides, the new library will support property values and attract more investment. I can’t wait for this project to be completed. Now, if only Barnes and Noble will take over the old Seaman’s Furniture ( can’t remember the current tennants name )……

maria February 25, 2013 - 11:49 am

Such a shame. Goes to show you how the demographics of an area also affects the preservation of history and the neighborhood.


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