Queens Borough Public Library
Langston Hughes Community Library & Cultural Center
Queens, NY

24,000 SF • 2,230 SQ M

The Langston Hughes Library was founded in 1969 as a local center for exploring the African American experience. By the late 1990s, the Library had outgrown its storefront location and taken on a higher profile thanks to its Heritage Reference Center, a significant collection of Langston Hughes and Harlem Renaissance-related material. Davis Brody Bond was commissioned to design a new building to accommodate its ever-expanding collection and ambitious public programming.

The new Library’s ground floor contains the general and children’s collections and a reading room and archive space for the Heritage Reference Center. The second floor can be accessed independently and houses a community-based art gallery and performance/lecture hall. The plaza next to the building is designed to accommodate both large events and everyday use.

The Library faces a major thoroughfare, and its front face is distinguished by a 28-foot-high canted wall of metal panels etched with an image of Langston Hughes and text excerpts from his works. A memorable combination of billboard and high art, this presentation of Hughes’ poetry is meant to intrigue visitors and draw them inside, establishing the Library as a place where books are a part of exploring personal heritage and preserving community histories.