The Importance of Libraries in our Community

Queens Library at Astoria, 1401 Astoria Blvd, Astoria

OANA recognizes the great importance of Libraries in our community and greatly appreciated the presentation by outgoing Astoria Library Brach manager Gus Tsekelis at our last monthly meeting on May 14th.

He gave a great presentation on the history and upcoming capital projects of the “Carnegie” library.

Both Councilman who represent Old Astoria are strong proponents of our library system.

Our councilman Costas Constantinides has been instrumental in securing funding to modernize our local facility, including modern check out systems and ADA Compliant elevators for the disabled.

“In the last five years, the City Council has proudly allocated more than $7 million toward the renovation of the Queens Library at Astoria, which is on schedule for its Fall 2022 completion,” said Council Member Costa Constantinides, District 22. “Not only is this one of our borough’s few remaining Carnegie Libraries, it is a vital public use that has served western Queens for generations. Hopefully the administration recognizes this library’s important role in our community and covers any remaining costs in making it a 21st century facility.”

Following is a quote from District 26 Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer

“Our city’s public library systems need more funding to keep up with rising costs and demands. It is undemocratic to propose cuts for libraries at a time of such great need. I will continue to fight any attempt to diminish library services in our communities,” said Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer, Chair of the Cultural Affairs and Libraries Committee.

OANA would also like to see a ramp installed so that in the event of power issues or fire, the disabled would still be able to move easily in and out of the facility.

We also appreciate the article written by the Queens Chronicle describing our meeting and the Library issues specifically.

Lastly, OANA Implores the government to fully fund all of our libraries. Libraries are a pillar of our communities, especially for our youth and seniors. Locally with the threatened closure of our Senior Centers and the lack of a local community center for our Youth, the role the Library is essential for a healthy community.

The Queens Library System has requested $35 Million for Operational Funding and (^# Million in Capital Funding over the next 10 years. We fully support these requests and implore our government to meet their responsibilities

Please write to Mayor Bill de Blasio, City Hall, NYC NY and let him know the importance of our libraries and of your support for funding.

History of our library by Gus Tsekelis

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Mr. Khuzami has been a member of Community Board 1 in Astoria, NY for the last 20 years. He sits on the Zoning and parks Committees and is on the Executive Board. Previously, he served as Parks and Culture chair of Community Board 1 for eleven years and also chaired Capital and Expense priority Committee. He is a member of the Queens General Assembly and had been a panelist for grant submissions for the Queens Council on the Arts (QCA). Richard also is an officer of The Eastern Mediterranean Business Culture Alliance (EMBCA)

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