Queens Library at Richmond Hill: Experience the Grandeur of the Past and Enjoy the Present

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By Katharina Luerken

Originally appeared in the September/October  2010 edition of Enrich Your Life, a bi-monthly publication of the Queens Library

Richmond Hill was one of the city’s first planned garden communities in the 19th century. In 1869, New York attorney Albon Platt Man purchased the Lefferts and Wellings Farms in West Jamaica, envisioning a garden spot and refuge from city life in Manhattan, which he named Richmond Hill. In the 30 years that followed, Richmond Hill slowly developed into a community, with a post office, a police force, and stores. In 1898, the village of Richmond Hill became part of New York City.

One year later, the Richmond Hill Free Library was founded by the Twentieth Century Club, an organization of Richmond Hill women. In 1901, the library became a branch of Queens Library. In 1902, the library relocated to the old Congregational Church building on Park Street (Hillside Avenue), where, in 1979, a Rose Garden was organized by the Friendship Rose Society. In 1996, the Queensmark Award was presented to the library by the Queens Historical Society, recognizing its outstanding architectural and historical merit.

Queens Library at Richmond Hill has preserved much of its original beauty and grandeur. The old Carnegie building, featuring WPA murals and surrounded by a beautiful and well-kept garden, radiates elegance and invites customers to come inside.

The staff at Richmond Hill enjoys working with the community where, they indicate, “you can be more personal with the customers. You get to know people’s names, what they like, and who they are.” Providing good customer service is Richmond Hill’s staff ’s primary goal.

Richmond Hill caters to a diverse pool of customers, offering books and programs in languages in addition to English, like Spanish, Russian, and Punjabi. It also has a black experi¬ence and Jewish heritage collection, as well as special collections on community history and gardening. Richmond Hill has a diverse offering of programs, too. Customers can enjoy ESOL and computer classes, a knitting club, and a book discussion club. The staff at Richmond Hill will make sure you feel at home. Come and see for yourself!

Queens Library is an independent, not-for-profit corporation and is not affiliated with any other library. The Queens Library serves a population of 2.3 million in the most ethnically diverse county in the U.S. With a record 23 million items in circulation for FY 2009, the Library has the highest circulation of any public library system in the U.S. and one of the highest circulations in the world. For more information about programs, services, locations, events and news, visit the Queens Library Web site at www.queenslibrary.org or phone 718-990-0700.

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