April 11, 2022 By Michael Dorgan
The Flushing branch of the Queens Public Library (QPL) is scheduled to fully reopen later this month after being closed for more than two years.
The branch, located at 41-17 Main St., will open on April 25 with all in-person library services being made available to the public, the QPL announced Thursday.
The library was closed along with the rest of the library system at the start of COVID-19 but a faulty HVAC system and the construction of a second elevator prevented it from reopening sooner.
The Flushing branch will initially be open on Mondays through Saturdays with Sunday service expected to return in the near future.
Council Member Sandra Ung welcomed the news and said the library plays an important role in the lives of many residents.
“The library is truly the heart of this community, especially for our large immigrant population,” Ung said in a statement.
“[It is] more than just a place to check out books, it is essential to our seniors and families, as well as a place for students to gather after school. Not having this facility in our community…was a real hardship.”
The Flushing branch, according to QPL, is the busiest branch library in the nation. Before it shut down in March 2020, the branch averaged approximately 6,000 visitors per day.
Residents of all five boroughs routinely visit the library to pick up materials in dozens of languages and dialects, read, study, gather with one another, or attend one of the hundreds of English classes, GED prep courses, technology workshops, job readiness classes, and other programs offered there each year.
The branch did reopen to staff in July 2020 to help distribute books and materials across the vast library system. In November 2020, the branch then started offering to-go service.
The library was later used as a vaccination hub before its cooling and heating system failed in May 2021 causing it to fully close in July. The HVAC system has been temporarily repaired and is now providing heat but still needs to be replaced — since its cooling system is only functioning with the aid of a chiller that is set up in a trailer outside the building.
Then, in December, the library announced plans to install a second elevator and renovate its existing one. The bulk of the work on the elevators is ongoing and will take place at night in order for the library to be open during the day. The elevator work is expected to be completed in July 2023. When the new elevator is completed the existing one will be renovated.
Opening hours will be from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Fridays and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays. A roster of virtual and in-person programs will be offered from April 25.
The library’s Adult Learning Center (ACL) will also reopen on April 25 with classes for the public.
The 77,000 square-foot building includes a 227-seat auditorium, a multi-purpose room for 150, conference rooms, exhibition areas, an Adult Learning Center and an International Resource Center.