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State-of-the-Art Library Opens In Queens

queenslibrary-3Thomas W. Galante, President and CEO of Queens Library, was joined by community and government leaders to ceremonially open the new Queens Library in Glen Oaks at 256-04 Union Turnpike today. Commissioner David Burney of the NYC Department of Design and Construction was among the attendees.  The new library is expected to serve 250,000 library users a year with information, education and cultural enrichment. The new building was designed by Marble Fairbanks. It won awards for the design before construction even began.

The new library cost $17.1 million. It was funded by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and New York City Council Member Mark Weprin.

“The new Glen Oaks library offers state of the art architecture, the latest technology, and a host of impressive resources for our vibrant and diverse community,” said Council Member Mark Weprin (D-Oakland Gardens).

“This new three-story branch library doubles the square footage of the original building,” said DDC Commissioner David J. Burney, FAIA. The open design of the exterior channel glass facade and skylights in the outdoor plaza draw natural light into the lower levels. Sustainable elements of the design by Marble Fairbanks Architects, including the planted roof and the landscaping woven between the benches minimizes storm water runoff, qualifying the library for a LEED Silver rating.”

Assemblyman David I. Weprin (D-Fresh Meadows) stated, “I’m delighted that the Glen Oaks Library is officially reopening its doors with a new beautiful and spacious facility. When I served as the Councilmember in the area, helping the libraries renovation was one of my top priorities. The residents of Queens can now explore all of the new features of the library and enjoy an academically enriching environment that promotes creativity, community engagement and learning.”

City Council Member Vincent Gentile, chairman of the Council’s Select Committee on Libraries, said: “With the new Glenqueenslibrary-2 Oaks Library, Queens Library has once again shown how to transform a library for the 21st Century. Congratulations to Tom Galante and his entire team on creating a space that truly responds to how New Yorkers are using libraries today.”

“Please use, use, use this library,” said Deputy Queens Borough President Barry Grodenchik. “It is a wonderful resource and, judging by the size of the crowd here today, it will be embraced by the community.”

“The new library is an asset that will enrich the Glen Oaks community for many decades to come. We are grateful to Mayor Bloomberg and Council Member Weprin for their support. We would like to thank the NYC Department of Design and Construction for bringing the extraordinary talents of Marble Fairbanks to the project. They have created a very special environment,” said Thomas W. Galante, Queens Library President and CEO.

The new Queens Library at Glen Oaks measures 18,000 sq. ft. on three levels. It is double the library space of the previous building. It is flooded with natural light on every level and loaded with books, videos, computer workstations. There are two program/meeting rooms. The adult area has a sky-lit reading lounge. There is 24/7 exterior self-service check in and self-service check out and an outdoor program area. The word “search” is used as a design theme. On bright days, the word “search” appears above the window on the north façade, moving across the glass surface as the sun moves across the sky. The pattern of movement reflects how the sun’s path changes throughout the seasons and over the course of a day. The graphic pattern on the glass curtain wall at the street level also includes the word “search” translated into the many languages spoken in Glen Oaks, reflecting the diversity of the neighborhood. The project has so far received the Art Commission Award for Excellence in Design, and the Merit Award, New York City Chapter American Institute of Architects.

Architects Scott Marble and Karen Fairbanks said, “The Glen Oaks Library is designed as a beacon for the community. It was our hope to provide a building that would engage those passing by and encourage them to come inside and explore their library. We have been thrilled to see the heavy usage of the building from the day it opened.” “We were interested in connecting this building to its site and to its community through the scale of the building, the integration of landscaped exterior spaces in the design of the library, and through the use of information about the demographics of the community as part of the design of the glass curtain wall.”

An art installation on the ceiling above the Children’s Room is by Janet Zweig. It is called “North of the North Pole.” It exhibits a mesmerizing path of LED lights that sometimes display random patterns, and sometimes form words that ask “unanswerable questions” derived from dozens of philosophers and writers. It was commissioned by the City of New York, Department of Cultural Affairs through the Percent for Art Program.

Queens Library is an independent, not-for-profit corporation and is not affiliated with any other library. Queens Library serves a population of 2.3 million in one of the most ethnically diverse counties in the U.S. and has among the highest circulations of any public library system in the world. For more information about programs, services, locations, events and news, visit the Queens Library web site at or phone 718-990-0700. Queens Library. Enrich your life®.


Marble Fairbanks is an architecture, design and research office located in Brooklyn, New York, and founded in 1990 by Scott Marble and Karen Fairbanks. The office is committed to highly innovative design through research and analysis of the core issues surrounding each project. Recent work has focused on cultural and institutional projects for public and private clients including Princeton University, New York Public Library, Queens Library, Hunter College, Haverford College, Columbia University, The Museum of Modern Art, The New School, and New York University. The research-based practice is at the forefront of discussions concerning digital technology, integrated design processes, and education. Marble Fairbanks is the recipient of numerous local, national, and international design awards. The work of Marble Fairbanks is published regularly in books and journals and has been exhibited in galleries and museums around the world including the Museum of Modern Art in New York where their drawings are part of the museum’s permanent collection.




256-04 Union Turnpike, Glen Oaks, NY 11004


·                     18,000 square feet (vs. old library @ 10,000 sq. ft.)

·                     3 levels

·                     Cost: $17.1 million

·                     Architects: Marble Fairbanks

·                     Funders: Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Council Member Mark Weprin

·                     Built by: New York City Department of Design and Construction

·                     Old branch built in 1956; rehab 1975/76; torn down Fall 2010

·                     Features:

o        Separate library space for adults, children and teens

o        Computer workstations in every area

o        Sky lit reading lounge,

o        Two meeting/program rooms,

o        24/7 self-check in kiosks,

o        Outdoor program area

o        Art installation by Janet Zweig through NYC Department of Cultural Affairs through the Percent for Art Program

o        Fully handicap accessible.

o        Eligible for LEED Silver



About the Author

New York Trend is a weekly news publication that focuses on issues and lifestyles of the African & Caribbean American communities throughout the New York metropolitan area and Nassau and Suffolk Counties of Long Island. It is a respected and well recognized news publication that has been in existence since 1989. Owner, Publisher and Executive Director, Dr. Teresa Taylor Williams has been at the helm of this award-winning publication since its inception. New York Trend continues to be the only black woman-owned, metropolitan newspaper in New York and Long island. New York Trend is the largest black-owned newspaper throughout Nassau and Suffolk counties.

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