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Queens Public Library reopens Steinway branch in Astoria after eight-month renovation

Photo courtesy of the Queens Public Library

Dec. 13, 2023 By Bill Parry

 

Queens Public Library reopened the Steinway branch in Astoria Tuesday following an eight-month closure for improvements to the building’s main floor and cellar.

Photo courtesy of the Queens Public Library

The upgrades consist of new furniture and finishes such as new paint and carpeting, shelving, workstations and self-service kiosks, as well as technology improvements including new computers and scanning equipment.

Photo courtesy of the Queens Public Library

“Steinway Library has served Astoria residents for more than 130 years, and the extensive upgrades will help ensure it remains a cornerstone of the community for generations to come,” Queens Public Library President and CEO Dennis M. Walcott said at a ribbon cutting event Tuesday to mark the branch’s reopening. “We look forward to welcoming back our customers, and introducing new ones, to an inspiring, modern space that is accessible to all.”

Queens Public Library president and CEO Dennis Walcott (third from left) cuts the ribbon on the newly reopened Steinway branch in Astoria following an eight-month renovation. Photo courtesy of the Queens Public Library

The reopening represented the completion of the second of a two-phase project to renovate and upgrade the building over the past few years. The Steinway branch, located at 21-45 31st St. originally opened to the public in 1956.

Photo courtesy of the Queens Public Library

“The historic Steinway Library has been an anchor of this community for the many generations of families who have passed through its doors,” Queens Borough President Donovan Richards said at the event. “Now that its extensive renovation is complete, all Astoria families will have equitable access to the many educational and enrichment opportunities the Steinway library will be offering inside its newly upgraded building. Thank you to the Queens Public Library for your hard work on this important project, which has given Astoria residents the state-of-the-art library that all communities deserve.”

The scope of the previous $4.9 million capital project, completed in January 2022, included the construction of an elevator serving all three floors of the building, an ADA-accessible restroom, and an ADA-accessible entrance ramp. The project also included expanded WiFi capability, a 24-7 exterior return machine, new staff offices and the renovation of the second-floor children’s area, teen area and multi-purpose room.

“This vital, beloved community resource serves not just as a haven for book-lovers like me but also as a site of technological access, a space for afterschool programming, a hub for community-based organizations and services, a cooling center in the summer, a warming center in the winter, and so much else,” Council Member Tiffany Cabán said in a statement. “Thank you to everyone who has worked so hard for eight long months to get it ready for the community.”

Assemblymember Jessica González-Rojas expressed similar sentiments.

“With all of the new renovations and improvements, including major accessibility upgrades, the new Steinway library will undoubtedly be a central hub again for our children, families, and seniors to learn and engage with this critical fixture in the community,” González-Rojas said in a statement. “The programming provided at this location is exactly why we must continue to invest in and support our libraries. Thank you and congratulations to Queens Public Library CEO Dennis Walcott and everyone involved.”

State Sen. Michael Gianaris participated in the ribbon cutting and encouraged all residents of western Queens to visit the upgraded facility.

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