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Elmhurst's erstwhile Carnegie library reveals its modern, glassy transformation

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The newly expanded branch is expected to be the most visited within the Queens Library system

Photos by Taigo Itadani

The Elmhurst Community Library expansion has been in the works for more than eight years, and at last, the project is complete. When renderings of the space first surfaced in 2007, many people were less than thrilled, to say the least, but the final result isn’t bad at all. Encompassing 32,000-square-foot space, the branch finally celebrated its grand opening with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on the new building’s front steps on Tuesday.

Designed by Marpillero Pollak Architects, the former Carnegie library is now in a much better position to service the immense amount of visitors it receives each day, now that it has doubled its size. The facade features glass cubes that protrude from its surface accompanied by terracotta tiles, brick, and metal, constructed by Stalco Construction. The building was designed to meet LEED Silver standards and hosts two green roofs along with 13,000 square feet of outdoor space.

Inside, four floors welcome adult, teen, and children’s sections while offering services that include an adult learning center, early learning center with play kitchen, and an international section that offers media in nine different languages. The library is so expansive that local officials are expecting it to be the most heavily trafficked branch within the Queens Library system, drawing in about 1.2 million visitors each year.

“This beautiful building will be a welcoming community hub where residents can enjoy Queens Library’s educational and cultural programs, its computer services, and its vast collection of books and other media. I commend the New York City Department of Design and Construction, Queens Library and all the officials involved in this project for all they have done to make this great new library a reality,” said Queens Borough President Melinda Katz.

Photo by Peter Wilk/Wilk Marketing Communications