Elected and library officials joined parents and students from PS 244 to cut the ribbon on the Flushing Library’s new children’s room last Thursday afternoon.
The 5,880-square-foot space features a wall of detachable LEGO blocks, a larger selection of children’s books, and a new early learning center for younger kids.
“We have a wall of detachable LEGO blocks, which is not only being enjoyed by the children, but their parents as well,” said library director Donna Ciampa-Lauria. “I had to tear myself away from the wall because I was having such a good time.”
“In our children’s room, it’s books that will start children on their reading journey,” she added. “In our popular reading area, it’s books for those of us who love to read because it relaxes us, entertains us or teaches us.
“Like everywhere else in our libraries, we are community centers,” she added. “This gives a chance for parents and children to come together, whether it’s after school or on the weekends.”
The $1.5 million project took 21 months to complete. But the entire process, from design to construction to completion, took more than four years, Ciampa-Lauria said.
Queens Library president and CEO Dennis Walcott said the long-awaited project predated his tenure leading the library system. He called the new space “pristine” and “gorgeous,” with an impact will last for a long time.
“It’s a project that will pay benefits for years to come,” Walcott said. “This is a room for you.”
Dozens of community members and parents gathered in front of the children room to enjoy a singing performance by second grade students from PS 244. They also helped cut the ribbon and got a first look at the new space.
In order to be a future leader, Councilman Peter Koo told the children they have to read books.
“No matter what occupation or profession you want to do, you have to start by reading books at an early age,” he said. “Form a good habit so when you go to elementary school, you have no problem.”
He linked early reading to high grades and test scores.
“When a community has a high usage of libraries, the schools in the district will be very good,” he said. “Everything is related to the library.”