Nov. 2, 2021 By Allie Griffin
Queens officials celebrated the reopening of the Glendale library in a ribbon-cutting ceremony Monday after renovations and accessibility upgrades were completed.
The Queens Public Library branch, located at 78-60 73rd Pl., underwent a $6.9 million facelift to bring it up to code with the Americans with Disability Act, restore its original Italian Renaissance Revival features and rehabilitate the back garden.
The project — designed by Matthew Baird Architects and completed by the NYC Department of Design and Construction — included a new elevator to service the library’s three floors, an accessible entrance on Myrtle Avenue and an ADA-compliant bathroom for staff and patrons. The main entrance and the service entrance of the library were replaced and reconfigured to allow for easy access.
The project also restored original features from 1935, when the Glendale Library was constructed. The vestibule was brought back to its historic configuration and parts of the building’s exterior were restored to their original features as well.
The Spanish tile roofing and the clerestory roofing were left untouched, while the flat roofing was replaced. The woodwork on the main floor and historic shelving were restored and three large windows that were sealed off were reopened. Medallions featuring images of famous writers and philosophers, including Shakespeare, Voltaire, Homer, Dante and Goethe, were restored as well as brickwork and a wall fountain in the back garden.
The garden was updated with new plantings as well.
Meanwhile, the interior spaces were reorganized to improve functionality. The original reading room and mezzanine were converted into new teen and adult reading rooms. The library offices, lounge and workroom were also relocated to improve overall circulation and accessibility.
“The renovation of Glendale Library is a remarkable expression of civic pride and reflects our city’s firm commitment to infrastructure that advances learning and opportunity for our changing communities,” Queens Public Library President and CEO Dennis Walcott said. “We look forward to serving the public from this outstanding building for generations to come.”
While the building was being renovated, Queens Public Library opened a temporary branch at The Shops at Atlas Park to continue serving the Glendale community.
Funding for the project was provided by Mayor Bill de Blasio, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards and Council Member Robert Holden.
“It is a beautiful day in Glendale with the grand reopening of its beloved library,” Richards said. “I am glad to see the original grandeur of the beautiful Glendale Library intact while also adding a modern twist, including full accessibility.”