2009-10-16 / Top Stories

Arverne Library To Get $1.6 Million Makeover

By Miriam Rosenberg

Eugene Johnson of Friends of the Library; Councilman James Sanders Jr.; the director of the Queens Library, Tom Galante; Sulvia Rodiquez of Friends of the Library; and Ariel McNaney, the community library manager at the library take part in a symbolic ground breaking outside the now closed Arverne Library. Eugene Johnson of Friends of the Library; Councilman James Sanders Jr.; the director of the Queens Library, Tom Galante; Sulvia Rodiquez of Friends of the Library; and Ariel McNaney, the community library manager at the library take part in a symbolic ground breaking outside the now closed Arverne Library. For 45 years it has stood on Beach 54 Street as a beacon of learning and the imagination. Now with the help of a $1.5 million allocation and two grants it will enter the second decade of the 21st Century with a complete makeover from roof to floor.

At a press conference on October 13 it was announced that, primarily funded by a $1.5 million allocation from Councilman James Sanders Jr., the Arverne Library would undergo a complete renovation.

"There's going to be a new roof, a new heating system, air conditioning system, flooring, lighting, furniture, carpet, walls - basically it's just the brick that you see and quite frankly even the façade is going to be improved," said Tom Galante, the director of the Queens Library. "There's going to be enhancements made to the glass … the front. When this is done it's going to look like a new library."

This trailer next to the Arverne Library will serve as a temporary library during renovations.  This trailer next to the Arverne Library will serve as a temporary library during renovations. The renovations will cost approximately $1.6 million. In additional to Sanders' $1.5 million, the library obtained two $50,000 grants.

"I understood here you have a building that's been neglected," said Sanders. "No one has changed the air conditioning and heating system for 45 years. Meaning that there aren't any parts. Those who [do] repairs are magicians. They're holding it together by sheer will. No longer. Our children are the future and we understand that. We want to make sure that they have every single thing [so] that they can dream beyond these walls."

Central to making the project happen was the Friends of the Library.

"We have been looking forward to this moment for a long time," said Eugene Johnson, of the Friends of the Library. "All of the hours of negotiating, sitting with individuals trying to map out how the renovations were going to take place. This is our satisfactory moment. The only thing that will top this is the ribbon cutting ceremony when we have the grand opening."

Johnson particularly thanked Sanders, who he said was, "Somebody who knows that in the end, when we go, this building will still be here, and there'll be young children who will be inspired to be the greatest individuals they can ever be because of the fact that somebody cared enough to give them a good facility that they can come into to learn and to be themselves. That's what we're happy about."

Galante said that bids have already been awarded and that "construction is basically beginning, and we expect to have it done in four to six months."

When the library does reopen it will be home to a totally new collection of books. A normal collection is around 30,000 books, according to Galante.

During the renovations, a trailer next to the building will serve as a temporary library. It has two computers and approximately 2000 books. The temporary facility will be open normal operating hours.

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