Opening Day at Hunters Point Library

On September 24, Queens Public Library President and CEO Dennis M. Walcott, Board of Trustees Chair Haeda Mihaltses, Mayor Bill de Blasio, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, NYC Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer, NYS Senator Michael Gianaris, NYS Assemblywoman Catherine T. Nolan, NYS Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas, Deputy Mayor Laura Anglin, NYC Department of Design and Construction (DDC) Commissioner Lorraine Grillo, and hundreds of QPL staff and volunteers, community leaders, and members of the public celebrated the grand opening of Hunters Point Library.

Hunters Point is the first new QPL branch since 2007 and the system’s 66th location. Designed by Steven Holl Architects, the 22,000-square-foot building—known for its distinctive modern shape and appearance—offers a collection of more than 50,000 books, periodicals, and other materials, including several thousand items in Chinese and in Spanish.

Hunters Point also has adult, teen, and children’s areas, desktop and laptop computers for the public, a Percent for Art installation by artist Julianne Swartz, and a ground floor meeting room that can seat up to 140 people.

Inside the library, warm bamboo creates an inviting space for visitors, and natural light enters through the large glass cut-outs in the sides of the building, offering spectacular views of the East River, the United Nations, and the east side of Manhattan on one side and the growing community of Long Island City on the other. Hunters Point Library is designed to achieve LEED Silver certification for environmental sustainability and will host QPL’s first-ever environmental education center, offering programs for all ages.

The opening ceremony featured students from PS/IS 78Q greeting guests in ten languages plus a band from Hunters Point Community Middle School entertaining guests. A boat from the New York City Fire Department (FDNY) provided a water show from the East River after the ribbon-cutting at the library’s main entrance.

Guests spoke about the dedication and support of the Library’s partners in city and state government, the hard work of the NYC Department of Design and Construction, and the advocacy of generations of community members in the Long Island City community, like the late Fausta Ippolito, that helped make the library possible.

“We are incredibly grateful for the teamwork, talent, and tenacity of library staff, government agencies, elected officials, and the community that brought this spectacular building to life,” said President Walcott.

“We cannot wait to serve everyone who visits this library,” said Hunters Point Library Manager Euni Chang. “Our doors are open to you, to help you and collaborate with you in creating a welcoming center of community. We are here for you. This is your place.”

“Hunters Point now has a library that matches the vibrancy of the community. With an early childhood play area, environmental center, and books in many languages, it will serve as a resource for generations to come,” said Mayor de Blasio.

In the two hours that Hunters Point Library was open on September 24, we welcomed 1,355 visitors and circulated 840 items—that’s seven items a minute! Nearly 3,000 guests joined us on the first weekend Hunters Point was open for a Community Day featuring storytime, face painting, and science activities. By the end of the library’s first week of operation, we had more than 11,000 visits. We look forward to seeing you at Hunters Point.