Library Waits on Village Review of Expansion

Posted on 30 October 2009

It is still unclear when the proposal for the expansion and renovation of the historic John Jermain Memorial Library (JJML) on Main Street in Sag Harbor will commence, although according to library director Catherine Creedon it should begin sometime in the next two months.

During a JJML board of trustees meeting on Wednesday, October 21, Creedon said Newman Architects, the Connecticut firm charged with designing the 7000 square foot expansion were fine tuning plans for the library, specifically where different services will be held in the three-story building. The project has also made it through the first round of review with the Domestic Authority of the State of New York (DASNY), which will bond the $10 million voter-approved plan with 20-year bonds.

While Creedon said she intended to submit materials for November’s planning board meeting, she added an informational work session with that board may be required before any formal process begins with the village as a part of rules laid out in the new village code.

Trustees expressed concern with any delay, noting residents of the Sag Harbor School District, which make up the library district, will fund the project publicly and any holdup could cost residents more money in the long run.

 “My fear again is because all of this is so new and with the fear of lawsuits we might be crunched in the middle of all this,” said board president Diane Gaites, who added she hopes the public will come out in support of the project at all village meetings. Creedon said she would update the library website,, the minute village meetings are scheduled regarding the project.

At the same time, Creedon noted during her director’s report that the building is continuing to deteriorate structurally, as three new “major leaks” have sprung up throughout the library, one over the large print books, one over the coin operated printer and one in the staff room.

 “The latter, just inside the door, is located in such a way that bucket-placement becomes a challenge,” she said. “It is also located feet from any pipes or exterior walls making the source of the leak somewhat difficult to identify.”

Also, early in the season, the boiler at JJML is not working, although Creedon said she hoped the problem would be remedied before winter set in, noting the zigzag in temperatures has made testing the boiler difficult at best.

Despite expected drops in temperature, one thing JJML has not seen is a decline in patrons. Creedon said program attendance and patron use at the library has not seen usual seasonal declines, crediting the passage of the expansion and renovation referendum and annual budget.

 “This vote—roughly 88% positive — is also a testament to the hardworking staff, especially the circulation desk staff, who are most often the patrons’ first experience of the library,” she said.

In other library news, current Suffolk County Library System Trustees Nat Brown, Harold Trabold and Irving Toliver were nominated by the board to reelection to their posts.

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