Four Seek Three Seats on Library Board

Posted on 21 August 2008

This Monday marked the deadline for residents to submit petitions to the clerk of the Sag Harbor school district to run in the upcoming John Jermain Memorial Library trustee elections. Three seats are up for election, and four petitions with the required 25 signatures were received.

The three trustees whose terms have expired, board president Christiane Neuville, Theresa Ameres and Susan Merrell, are all running for reelection. All trustees run at large.

The one new face in the race is Craig Rhodes, a local architect.

Although the library board is now fully elected, until 2006 all trustee seats had been appointed. Neuville, Ameres and Merrell, who took office January 1 of 2006, were the first elected trustees, each serving a three-year term. Accordingly, their terms expire on December 31 of this year.

Neuville was born in France and was a California resident since 1948, before moving to Sag Harbor in 2000. She was an educator and college counselor at a San Francisco prep school for 30 years, and was also a library board president in Sausalito, California.

Ameres, a Sag Harbor resident, tutors local grade school students as well as volunteers at the Stella Maris Regional Catholic School library. She has also taught middle and high school students in Roslyn and Lynbrook public schools. She received a Bachelors Degree in English and World Literature from Manhattan College and a Masters Degree in Secondary Education from Hofstra University. 

Merrell has been a resident of Sag Harbor since 1989. She is a novelist who has also written for several publications including “Self,” “New Woman” and “Parenting.” Merrell also teaches in the Bay Street Theatre’s Young Playwrights Program. She graduated from Cornell University with a degree in psychology, and has worked in marketing and public relations for such companies as Yale University Press, Grey Advertising and Avon Products.

Rhodes, the newcomer in the race, was raised in Sag Harbor. He explained he spent much of his youth in the John Jermain Memorial Library, to which he attributes his interest in running for trustee. He’s had a house here for many years, although lived in Manhattan. He and his family moved here full time in 2006. Now, he says, his daughter has learned to love the library as well.

“I just want it to be the best facility it can be,” said Rhodes, who has been an architect for 30 years. He believes his expertise and knowledge in this field may be helpful with the continuing conversations in expanding the library.

Said Rhodes, “I think I can lend some critical abilities to the process.”

The expansion of the library has been a dominant topic of discussion for the board of trustees, and will most likely be taken into consideration in the upcoming trustee elections.

A budget meeting and trustee forum will be held at the library on September 10 at 5:15. The budget vote will be on the same ballot as the trustees, also held at the library, on September 16 from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.

This year’s proposed budget is for $989,580, a 9.26 percent increase. Last year’s approved budget was from $905,700. There is not, however, a spending increase according to library director Catherine Creedon, as several costs, such as children’s books, the annual audit and computer related expenses were not factored into the 2007 budget.

Additional reporting by Kathryn G. Menu.

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