July 19, 2021 By Christian Murray
The building that houses the Flushing branch of the Queens Public Library will be closing due to a failure of the HVAC system.
The branch, located at 41-17 Main St., has been used in recent months by the city as a vaccination site—with library service being closed. The vaccination site is being relocated to an adjacent synagogue in order for the HVAC repairs to be completed.
The Queens Public Library is uncertain as to how long the repairs will take—but it is expected to take many months. However, the city is exploring temporary cooling and heating options.
Many residents who have been waiting for library service to return are likely to have to wait much longer. In addition, the city is planning to begin work on a new, additional public elevator in the building, potentially in the fall, which will necessitate a closure of the branch.
“We know very well that the library is the center of community life in Flushing and that it is an invaluable resource. So many people have been looking forward to the library’s reopening and unfortunately it is unclear when this will be possible,” said Queens Public Library President and CEO Dennis M. Walcott.
The branch closed in March 2020 when the pandemic broke out, then reopened as a fulfillment center for requests in July 2020 and in November began offering to-go service. The city closed to-go service when it became a vaccination site in March.
“Replacing the HVAC system will take considerable time — it is an extremely complicated system — and we are working with the City to determine the best plan of action for installing a new one, and to evaluate options for a temporary solution. This work, along with the construction of a new, second public elevator, is enormously complex,” Walcott said.
The QPL says its Flushing branch is the busiest branch in the U.S., drawing 1.7 million visitors in 2019 with 1 million items circulated. The building, completed in 1998, includes a 227-seat auditorium, a multi-purpose room with a 150-person capacity, conference rooms, exhibition areas, an Adult Learning Center and International Resource Center.