Far Rockaway Rezoning Includes State-of-the-Art Library

An artist’s rendering of the new Far Rockaway Library scheduled for completion in 2021 // Renderings courtesy of Queens Library

An artist’s rendering of the new Far Rockaway Library scheduled for completion in 2021 // Renderings courtesy of Queens Library

By David Brand

Starting Friday, Sept. 28, the Far Rockaway Library at 1637 Central Ave. will close for three years to make way for a brand new, two-story library twice as big as the current facility.

In the meantime, the library will operate out of a temporary location, which will open on Tuesday, Oct. 30, at 1003 Beach 20th St.  

The new LEED-certified building will feature a glass-curtain wall, pyramid entrance, central atrium and a blue roof designed to retain water.

A spokesperson for the Queens Library said the facility “will serve as a cornerstone of Downtown Far Rockaway,” which is undergoing a city-sponsored redevelopment.

The new library, which is slated for completion in 2021, will include also designated children’s and teen spaces, an elevator, an ADA-compliant entrance and restrooms, a large meeting room, additional computer stations, a quiet room and self check-in/check-out equipment, the Queens Library said.

The building was designed by the Oslo-based architectural firm Snøhetta, which previously designed the Alexandria Library in Egypt and the National September 11 Memorial Museum and Pavilion at the World Trade Center site.

The existing 9,000-square-foot, single-story brick library was constructed in 1968.

Far Rockaway Library_Interior Render (1).jpg

When it is complete, the new and improved Far Rockaway branch — which will cost $33 million to build — will be just the latest new library to rise in Queens.

In August, lawmakers and community leaders broke ground on renovations to the Steinway Library in Astoria during a special ceremony.

In July, the Center for Active design recognized three innovative library branches in Queens in its report Assembly: Civic Design Guidelines.

“A robust civic life is essential to a healthy, thriving community—one where people trust each other, have confidence in local institutions, and actively work together to address local priorities,” the report stated. “As cities seek to bridge social divides, reinvest in the public realm, and foster civic life, it is particularly important to prioritize equitable distribution of investments so that all residents can benefit.

Branches in Glen Oaks and Elmhurst and the Children’s Library Discovery Center in Jamaica encourage visitors to come inside with welcoming design and keep them there with open and engaging interior facilities, the report said.

“In Queens, New York, the recently opened Glen Oaks Branch Library — situated in one of the most diverse communities in America — is an inspiring example of the role design can play in supporting the important work of public libraries,” the report states. “The new Glen Oaks library addresses the need of the surrounding community and serves as an epicenter of cultural exchange.”

The “transparent façade” of the Elmhurst Library creates “a visual connection between interior and exterior spaces,” the report continued