2008-02-29 / Community

Queens'First Teen Library Opens In Far Rockaway

By Miriam Rosenberg

Tayana Norman, 16, a Far Rockaway High School student, recites a poem written by Maya Angelou. Tayana Norman, 16, a Far Rockaway High School student, recites a poem written by Maya Angelou. Billed as a place for teens to call their own, the first teen library in Queens County officially opened in Far Rockaway last week.

"My hope for you [is that you see this] as your own safe space to learn, grow and create," said Tom Galante, the director of the Queens Library, at the February 21 opening.

With 40 computers, the library offers homework help, individualized tutorials, and workshops on subjects that include entertainment and fashion, according to Michele Echols, who is the senior youth counselor there.

The library opened, unofficially, in December.

"We just opened the door and kids have been coming in since December 17," said Echols. "On an average day, we have anywhere from 65 to 75 kids."

Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer especially thanked local entrepreneur Dino Malatestsa, who leased the building to the Queens Library.

"Dino was very responsive to bringing the library here," said Pheffer. "He really wanted something like this in his establishment." The library is located on the corner of Cornaga Avenue and Beach 20 Street and is open Monday through Friday from 2:30 pm to 6 pm.

Assemblywomen Audrey Pheffer and Michele Titus played huge roles in making the library a reality. They both called last Thursday a wonderful day for Far Rockaway. They also announced they had allocated an additional $50,000 for the Teen Library. Assemblywomen Audrey Pheffer and Michele Titus played huge roles in making the library a reality. They both called last Thursday a wonderful day for Far Rockaway. They also announced they had allocated an additional $50,000 for the Teen Library. Cutting the ribbon on the new library are Warren Gardener, representing Senator Malcolm Smith; Assemblywomen Michele Titus and Audrey Pheffer; Queens Library Director Tom Galante; Anne Marie Strano, Director of the Office Program Development and Funding for the New York State Division for Criminal Justice Services; Queens Library board member Liz Sulik of Peninsula Hospital; and Andrea Sanders, representing her husband Councilman James Sanders Jr. Photos by Miriam Rosenberg Cutting the ribbon on the new library are Warren Gardener, representing Senator Malcolm Smith; Assemblywomen Michele Titus and Audrey Pheffer; Queens Library Director Tom Galante; Anne Marie Strano, Director of the Office Program Development and Funding for the New York State Division for Criminal Justice Services; Queens Library board member Liz Sulik of Peninsula Hospital; and Andrea Sanders, representing her husband Councilman James Sanders Jr. Photos by Miriam Rosenberg Teens flock to the computers after the opening ceremonies are over. Teens flock to the computers after the opening ceremonies are over. During the opening, True and Father Wise (AKA the Rhyte Hitters) sing about peace and nonviolence. During the opening, True and Father Wise (AKA the Rhyte Hitters) sing about peace and nonviolence.

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