Queens Broadway Library
Located between Long Island City and Astoria, the Broadway Branch Library built in 1956 serves the surrounding area as a vital community hub in Queens. To ensure the busy library can better answer the demands of its patrons, Queens Public Library system initiated the renovation of the branch’s lower level to transform the underutilized and outdated spaces into critically needed program areas.
Sandwiched between the East River and Northern Boulevard, the surrounding neighborhood is primarily residential, making the library a convenient and central meeting location. Historically, library basements have played host to community meetings and events, and the Broadway Branch is no different. Although its upper level was most recently renovated in 2009, the basement – sitting four feet above a subway line – was left untouched. The heavily used underground community room is uninviting and difficult to access, and any found space has been utilized for storage, which compounds the already dark hard-to-navigate floor plan.
This new renovation rectifies these current shortfalls culminating in up-to-date, comfortable spaces and mechanical systems. The finished lower level features a sizeable computer lab, clear wayfinding, modernized meeting rooms, and new restrooms. The librarian workstation, which previously discouraged interaction with the public, is reconceived as a central hub, easily accessed by librarians and patrons alike. Curving green tile walls lead patrons from the main circulation core to the computer lab, which is visually connected to exterior green space through expansive windows, while inlaid acoustical panels and felt baffles hanging under exposed ceilings help to mitigate the subway rumblings below.
The new lower level will ensure the library remains a flexible and critical resource for years to come, fulfilling the specific and varied needs of the library and its surrounding community.
SRW Engineering & Architecture
Ewell W. Finley
Renfro Design Group