Queens Library President and CEO Dennis M. Walcott has announced the launch of the Queens Library Digital Archives website and the renovation of the Archives reading room at Central Library. He was joined at a ceremony at Central Library on August 30 by New York City Council Member Daneek Miller, New York State Senator Leroy Comrie, Queens historians, researchers and members of the community.
Since 1912, the Archives at Queens Library, formerly known as the Long Island Division, has collected and preserved over 50,000 items and resources that document the social, economic and political history of the four counties that had comprised Long Island—Kings (Brooklyn), Queens, Nassau and Suffolk—prior to the consolidation of New York City in 1898.
“Researchers and the public who are familiar with our collections have long awaited their availability online, and I’m glad to say their patience has been well rewarded,” said President Walcott. “The digital archives website and the relocation and renovation of the archives space will give the public a new level of access to our collections and services, and help them discover a treasure trove of historical information about their families, their neighborhoods and the development of the great borough of Queens.”
The website, http://digitalarchives.queenslibrary.org, includes 12,000 items from the library’s archives collection, including maps, books, musical scores, newspapers, information relating to the New York World’s fairs, and thousands of historical and recent photographs that offer a vivid record of life in Brooklyn, Queens, and Nassau and Suffolk counties.
The newly renovated space for the archives is located on the lower level of Central Library, and features climate-controlled storage units to better preserve the valuable, interesting and informative items that are in the care of Queens Library.
“Queens’s history is one we can all be proud of and this renovated facility and website will allow people to have greater access to what makes our borough unique,” said Council Member Miller. “I would like to congratulate President Walcott and everyone at the Queens Library for making these important resources more readily available to our communities.”
The new website offers multiple ways to access the collections. In addition to keyword searches, users will be able to search by neighborhood, material type and collection name. High-resolution images of detailed items like maps are a highlight of the site, making it possible to zoom in to the smallest details.
Queens Library staff demonstrated the features of the Digital Archives website at the celebration at Central Library, followed by a tour of the new Archives space.