The community of East Elmhurst enjoys some of the best features of Queens living: tree-lined streets, excellent transportation, close proximity to Manhattan, two airports, Shea Stadium, and a branch of the Queens Library System.
The East Elmhurst community is a young and small community that was carved out off the Jackson Heights and Corona areas. One, two, and three family homes make up the architecture of the community. Some high rise apartments provide additional housing for a bursting community. At one time the area was mainly beach and recreational land space. The neighborhood of East Elmhurst has seen profound and rapid demographic changes over the years. The eastern Europeans who first settled in the area have since yielded to other populations including Italian, Greek, and Spanish-Americans, African Americans, and Haitians. More recent groups include Asians and Eastern Indians.
The East Elmhurst Branch opened for business in June of 1912 and was known as the Louona Park Library. Like many branches of the Queens Library system, the East Elmhurst Branch has claimed many different locations as its home over the years. Unlike the others, though, every time the branch changed its location, it also changed its name. It was renamed the Northern Boulevard Library when it moved to Northern Boulevard in May of 1927. In 1942 the library found a new home at 90th Street and Astoria Boulevard and brought with it the new but peculiar appellation of North Beach Library. The branch assumed its current name when a new city owned building was erected in 1972 at its present home at 95-06 Astoria Boulevard.
For many years, the East Elmhurst Branch was one of Queens Library’s five Community Neighborhood Information Centers, offering referral services to people in need. This service was largely used by older adults who needed the aid of city agencies and community organizations, and young mothers who were seeking information on day care centers and schools. The branch continues to serve as a depository for the City’s Department of Environmental Protection materials about the ongoing Flushing Bay project.
Over the years the East Elmhurst library has had the flavor of a “community center” which numerous community groups used as their monthly meeting place. Satisfying cultural needs goes hand-in-hand with fulfilling the informational needs of the branch’s steady stream of small business owners, retailers, construction, airport workers, and students.
The East Elmhurst branch enjoys top ranking in sessions and attendance for its delivery of cultural, musical, and informational type programs. East Elmhurst is known for its large number of famous artists of all genres. An impressive number of branch programming originates from the community.
Among the many unique and outstanding programs and activities taking place at the East Elmhurst Library over the years, three memorable ones include: Former Mayor David Dinkins’ use of the library for the filming of his last mayoral campaign commercial which included issuing to him a Queens library card; the celebration of the library’s 100th anniversary in 1996; and the recipient of a Plaque for the New York Times’ first Librarian Award in September, 2001.
A unique and successful feature of the East Elmhurst Community Library’s services is its mission of “Keeping Jazz Alive in Louis Armstrong’s Neighborhoods”. A grant from the Louis Armstrong Educational Foundation Inc. makes it possible for Jazz artists, performers, and workshop presenters from throughout the Metropolitan area to help us accomplish our mission. The Louis Armstrong House is located in Corona, but is in walking distance to the East Elmhurst Community Library .