Tag Archive | "Cathy Creedon"

Sag Harbor’s John Jermain Memorial Library Presents 2015 Budget Draft

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John Jermain Memorial Library Director Catherine Creedon at the library during its renovation in October 2013. Photo by Michael Heller.

John Jermain Memorial Library Director Catherine Creedon at the library during its renovation in October 2013. Photo by Michael Heller.

By Tessa Raebeck

With the much-anticipated move back to its renovated and expanded home at 201 Main Street on the horizon, the board of Sag Harbor’s John Jermain Memorial Library (JJML) is presenting a budget draft that aims to cover the expenses of the building without exactly knowing what they will be.

“This budget was by far the most interesting budget for the board and I to put together in the years that I’ve worked at the library,” director Cathy Creedon said Monday, July 21, “because we’re almost back into the old, fresh, new building and we don’t have a real clear sense—because we’re not there yet—of what any of our operating expenses would be.”

The total of the 2015 draft budget, proposed at a library board meeting Wednesday, July 16, is $2,399,812. It includes operating expenses and debt service but is excluding capital expenses.

The budget represents an increase of $111,367 over the 2014 total budget, which was $2,288,445.

It would result in a 5.8-percent increase in the tax collected on the library’s behalf by the Sag Harbor School District, increasing that by $128,723 to $2,348,088. Those figures include funds for the library’s operating expenditures and the $905,000 in annual debt service approved at the time of the library’s 2009 renovation referendum.

Income designated for operating expenses (exclusive of funds raised through the capital campaign to improve the building) that the library generates itself through fundraisers, fines and other means is projected at $51,724 for 2015.

Ms. Creedon said the budget increase is due to moving into a bigger and better building, a move that has been stalled several times but should occur over the winter.

“At a minimum, we expect to see increases in electricity,” the director said. “We’ve been seeing our electric bills go up month after month even here in our temporary space, as we have people use our facility as a resource to support information searching of a digital nature. People are charging their laptops here or their iPad—they’re interfacing those devices with our collection to try to bring their research into the 21st century, which has been a great thing.”

Ms. Creedon said she has met with PSEG Island representatives to try to determine how much electricity the new building will need. In the proposed budget, electric expenses would increase by $8,439 for a total projected cost of $36,439.

The other major anticipated increase in expenses is due to staffing.

The building is four times larger than the library’s temporary space at 34 West Water Street, so custodial hours will need to be added.

The library moved into its temporary space around the same time as Governor Andrew Cuomo enacted the 2-percent tax cap on school districts. As a result of being in a smaller building and under a smaller budget, three employees left without being replaced. A desk clerk will not be replaced, but Ms. Creedon hopes to reinstate the adult programming coordinator and local history library positions.

“I really want to bring that building to light, be able to celebrate our local history holdings and the programming that we have,” Ms. Creedon said, adding that the number of people visiting the library for programs is increasing monthly.

“I think that kind of face-to-face instruction is something the community is really hungry for in terms of how they gather their information,” she added.

Ms. Creedon is hopeful the proposed budget for 2015 will enable the library to stay below the tax cap next year—and that JJML and the community will be enjoying the new library before the spring.

“I can see the staff, I can see the public computers, I can see the reading room full of people and it’s really wonderful,” the director said.

The terms of three current board members—Jackie Brody, Ann Lieber and Toby Spitz—will expire on December 31, 2014. They are all eligible for re-election.

A budget hearing and trustee forum will be held at 5:15 p.m. on Wednesday, September 17, preceding the regular monthly meeting. The library trustee election and budget vote is Monday, September 29, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

John Jermain Memorial Library Accepts Vast Collection of Native American Research Books

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Mac Griswold, Richard Buckley and Catherine Creedon pose with books from Buckley's collection at the library's storage unit.

Sag Harbor Historian Mac Griswold, Collector Richard Buckley and JJML Director Catherine Creedon pose with books from Buckley’s collection at the library’s storage unit November 12.

By Tessa Raebeck

As a child growing up in Little Falls, New York, Richard Buckley was eager to learn about the Native American tribes that lived nearby, but the materials he could find were minimal, ill advised and uninformed.

“It didn’t seem right to me the way they were describing it,” explained Buckley, who, rather than settling for subpar information, spent the next 40 years compiling an extensive collection of books, journals and other research on — and by — Native Americans.

On November 13, Buckley and his wife, former United States Ambassador Prudence Bushnell, packed his entire collection of 23 boxes into the back of their pick-up truck and drove from their home in Northern Virginia to Despatch Self Storage in Bridgehampton, where Catherine Creedon excitedly awaited their arrival.Richard Buckley

After a deliberate screening process of potential libraries in New York State, Buckley decided to donate his collection to the John Jermain Memorial Library (JJML) in Sag Harbor, where Creedon is director, because he knew they would be appreciated, complemented and, most importantly, used.

Buckley, who worked as a lawyer before concentrating primarily on his research and academic lecturing, estimates his collection includes some 350 materials. The most historically significant part of the collection is the inclusion of four journals on Native American history, to which Buckley has subscribed since their respective inceptions.

He began subscribing to the American Indian Culture and Research Journal when it was first published in 1979, and the journals now fill four boxes.

The journals “give an incredible amount of new history,” said Buckley. “History that had never been written from the viewpoint of American Indians.”

“These journals,” he continued, “have covered everything from the history to the current preservation of Native American tribes throughout the ‘70s, ‘80s, ‘90s, 2000s. If someone were to read those journals, they could write a thesis.”

The collection also includes 15 boxes of books on Native Americans, separated by topics such as women, Iroquois and “Excellent/General Overviews.”

In compiling his collection, Buckley first tackled the Native American history of New York State, moving on to the entire continental United States and eventually to Alaska and Latin America. The collection also includes extensive documentation of the present condition of Native Americans.

“That is probably the underlying value of the collection,” explained Buckley, “to have that approach of — both historically and currently — the ongoing evolution of American Indian history…. The collection’s value is to show that American Indians are not only here, but they’re living out their history, they’re living out their story.”

Once his collection was complete with an extensive variety of viewpoints from both men and women across different regions, tribes and cultures, Buckley faced the daunting task of deciding where his work belonged.

“What I did was,” he explained, “because I didn’t want these to go anywhere, I wanted them to be in a certain library — when I contacted [the libraries], I’d then know whether it was the right fit.”

Former Ambassador Prudence Bushnell, JJML Director Catherine Creedon and Richard Buckley in the midst of delivering the collection November 12.

Former Ambassador Prudence Bushnell, JJML Director Catherine Creedon and Richard Buckley in the midst of delivering the collection November 12.

At first, Buckley put a notice in the regional library system of central New York, where he grew up. Without any quick responses, he sent the notice to the statewide system.

Within a few days, he was on the phone with Cathy Creedon.

“By the initial interest,” he said, “I could see that she was really interested and they were looking for something to complement the new renovation and the newly restored old beautiful building.”

Since JJML opened in 1910, the History Room has been an integral part of the library. It started with rare materials from the personal library of William Wallace Tooker, a Sag Harbor pharmacist who was also an ethnographer with an interest in Algonquin history. Tooker’s collection in JJML includes the Eliot Indian Bible, a bible in the Algonquin language that was the first bible printed in the colonies.

After unloading the 23 boxes into a storage unit, Creedon gave Buckley a tour of the new building, including the history room, which once completed will be climate-controlled, humidity-controlled and temperature-controlled.

“The tour of the library was the final proof that my donation will ‘fit’ with the future use of the library — particularly the special research room,” said Buckley. “The primary reason for donating the collection to [JJML] is Cathy. She will ensure that the collection is used in the most effective manner.”

In a message to Creedon, Buckley envisioned his collection in Sag Harbor.

“I imagined,” he wrote, “that you would have at the opening of your beautiful library — a researcher would be reserving the special room and using the American Indian collection. She will complete a new powerful book about the contributions of Indian women.”

“I thought that was a real tribute to the role of a public library,” said Creedon.

At John Jermain, It’s Restoration First, Then Expansion

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web library bricks

The John Jermain Memorial Library (JJML) Board of Trustees is hoping to complete repairs on the exterior of the historic building before moving forward with an expansion project, according to JJML director Catherine Creedon.

During a trustees meeting on Wednesday, July 15, Creedon said the roughly 34-month, $10-million renovation, restoration and expansion of JJML approved by Sag Harbor School District voters in June, would be broken up into two projects. Sandpebble Builders, the library’s construction managers and cost estimators, have predicted it will take some 14 months to obtain permits from the Village of Sag Harbor for the whole of the project, but advised Creedon to seek a separate building permit for exterior repairs to JJML, specifically to re-point the brick façade and repair the limestone cornice. The library is currently shrouded in scaffolding to protect patrons from the potential of falling masonry. 

According to Creedon, having these repairs done prior to construction of the expansion will ensure the existing building is stable enough to withstand the large construction project.

 “We are shooting for fall 2010 to break ground on the new building,” said Creedon, noting it will be the library’s 100th anniversary and she enjoyed the symmetry of celebrating that milestone along with the expansion of the new library wing, expected to almost double the size of JJML.

It is her hope, added Creedon, that the entire project will be completed by the spring of 2012.

In the next few months, said Creedon, the project will focus primarily on the design of the new addition, which will be created by Newman Architects, as well as plans for the renovation of the current building, the permitting process, and securing additional funds through grants, loans and donations to help buoy the $10 million project.

 “In the past two weeks I have applied for the initial State Historic Preservation Office Review, spoken to [New York State Assemblyman] Fred Thiele’s office to get support for our Economic Stimulus Fund application and begun work on the State Library Construction Grant application,” said Creedon in her report to the trustees.

One large donation already received is from The Friends of the Library who gifted $100,000 to the library last week following their annual House Tour fundraiser, which Creedon said earned closer to $22,000 this year.

 “I am more than grateful for the work of Gloria Brown, president and Diane Schiavoni, treasurer, and the rest of the members of this organization for their support,” said Creedon. “And I’d like to make special mention of Nada Barry, who, in selling tickets at her Wharf Shop assures the success of this annual event.”

According to Creedon, the Friends’ gift enables the library to move forward with the building project while they are waiting for loans to be secured.

The timing of the building project coincides with continued increases in JJML’s circulation. According to Creedon, the library is up 23 percent over June of 2008, and up 40 percent from two years ago.

“While some of the increase can be attributed to the economy, we have also seen many first-time patrons who have come to the library for cards because of the increased visibility of the library throughout the pre-referendum period,” said Creedon, who said roughly 67 new cards were handed out in June. “I have to admit, the rain helped our numbers a bit.”

While the library has continued to be closed on Sundays in the summer, Creedon said given the increase in use by residents she would like to keep the library open seven-days-a-week next summer.

In other library news, board president Diane Gaites announced the library’s annual budget vote will be held on September 22 from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. at JJML. District residents will vote on a proposed $1,068,800 budget for 2010, which represents a 4.9 percent increase. Two seats are up for election on the board, with Chris Leonard planning on seeking re-election and Gaites bowing out.

North Haven Fed-Up With Abandoned Boats

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On Tuesday, June 2, The North Haven Village Board of Trustees presented a draft for a local law pertaining to boat storage. Once the summer season ends, residents often abandon their kayaks, sailboats, hobie-cats, canoes and dinghies at the end of Sunset Beach Road.
The draft law stipulates that the village will grant boat permits for the storage of boats on village beaches. Once a permit is granted, the boat owner will be given a registration sticker to be placed on the boat. The boat must be removed from beaches by October 31. Boats left on the beach after this date will be considered abandoned and the village will have the right to sell these boats or destroy them.
The village will hold a public hearing on the law on Tuesday, July 7, at 5 p.m.
In addition to legislation on abandoned boats, John Jermain Memorial Library Director Cathy Creedon visited the board to present plans for the library’s expansion, which will be up for a referendum vote on June 29.
Trustee James Morrissey, a self-proclaimed regular patron of the library, asked why the library couldn’t build on the Union Street side of the property to add additional space. Creedeon responded by saying the small stretch of greenery by Union Street is the best position for the library’s cesspool.
Morrissey went on to raise concerns about a lack of parking, especially when the library hosts group meetings and special events. Creedon said a parking analysis revealed there are almost 65 spaces within a block and a half radius of the building. She added that patrons are often more concerned with safely crossing the street — as the library lies at a busy intersection — than finding parking.
Trustee Jeff Sander asked if the library was exploring other sources of funding in addition to taxpayer money. Creedon said she was actively pursuing private donations and grant money.
“A lot of people are waiting until after the referendum [to commit funding],” Creedon said of private donors.
The board appeared receptive to the building plans and referendum.

Library Decides to Go Ahead with Referendum

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It has been nearly three months since the John Jermain Memorial Library (JJML) hosted a community workshop to generate ideas on a future renovation and/or relocation of the library. At the previous meeting, held in early December, workshop participants laid out three different options for the future of the library: renovating and expanding the existing space, renovating the existing building and constructing a new building on a parcel of land — owned by the library — near Mashashimuet Park, or moving all of the library services to a building on the plot near the park.
In December, architect Michael Scott, of Newman Architects, said the library would be ready with plans by March, but now JJML director Cathy Creedon says preliminary plans will be presented to the public on April 20. The plans will include several different architectural options. In light of the economic crisis, the library needed an extra few weeks to “really make sure we were pursuing the best plans for the community,” said Creedon.
On April 20, Creedon said the library will have rough budgetary figures for each design option. By the second meeting, scheduled for May 6, Creedon expects the board to winnow down the plan options, decide upon materials and furnishings and present specific cost estimates. Creedon added the final option will be up for a referendum by late June or early July.
Although the economics of the project is a chief concern for the board, JJML board vice-president Christiane Neuville said the referendum couldn’t be postponed because of the state of the existing building. A number of consultants, including a mechanical and plumbing engineer and an historic building preservationist, were hired by Newman Architects to visit the building and compile a laundry list of necessary repairs.
The consultants found the building’s wiring is non-conforming, the boiler system is functioning at a compromised level and the emergency systems lack proper lighting, fire pulls and sprinklers. In addition, the roof hasn’t been replaced since the 1950s. The cast-iron drain pipes from the roof to the ground are consistently blocked, forcing the water to go through the library’s walls. Creedon said there are often leaks throughout the building, including a leak over the computer area in the basement.
“The consultants’ recommendation was that this building is in need of immediate attention,” said Creedon. The compromised condition of the building is further exacerbated by an increased demand for library services. According to Creedon, over the past year library usage has increased by 23 percent.
The next public meeting on the library’s options will be held on Monday, April 20 at the John Jermain Memorial Library, 201 Main Street, at 5:15 p.m.

Above: The iron piping is exposed in the basement floor of the library, and is a constant source of leaks.

Start the Morning With a Book

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It was a familiar sight at the John Jermain Memorial Library on Saturday morning in the children’s section. Two moms and their daughters sat in a circle discussing a book with Susann Farrell, the children and young adult librarian, and Cathy Creedon, director of the library.

The refreshments — an array of muffins, donuts, hot cocoa and coffee — and the topic of conversation, however, were out of the ordinary. Mother, Lisa DiRussa, and her daughter Isabella, age 9, debated the motivation of certain characters from the chapter book “The City of Ember” by Jeanne DuPrau. Lisa felt the character Doon Harrow should have told his father before embarking on a perilous mission away. Isabella, Lisa’s daughter, said Doon was simply trying to protect his father.

It is rare to find a parent and child intelligently hashing out the nuances of a book, but this was one reason Farrell and Creedon created the Saturday morning program “Bookclub and Breakfast for Parent and Child.”

After the club’s initial meeting ended, Creedon said “Both Susann and I love to read. We always talk about books together and it was nice to give parents a chance to do that with their children.”

DiRussa reads teen books as a way to “gain insight as to what is coming next” when her daughter becomes a teenager in a few years. When she and Isabella were reading “The City of Ember” simultaneously, she said it was nice to be able to discuss the book with her daughter, which is unusual since they rarely read the same books. During the meeting, Isabella was able to keep pace with her mother when talking about the plot points and themes of the book.

Farrell chose “Ember” because it explores universal themes found in children’s literature, like the child being the hero of the story and the children being able to see the world more clearly than the adults around them.

The Parent Child book club was started as an extension of the library’s four adult book clubs. In recent years, Farrell has increased the number of children’s programs to attract younger patrons to the library. In 2005, she debuted a summer book club for young adults, and 100 children participated in the first year. The book club boasted 300 members in 2008. Under Farrell’s guidance, the library created a teen reading room. Farrell runs a teen poetry and college writing program out of the space. In addition, she established a teen programming advisory committee, comprised of teen patrons who help her create programs and choose books for the library to purchase. One of Farrell’s more novel programs is T-Pac. For the program, children read manuscripts for a literary agency based in New York City.

“Susann is great with pulling kids in here and making them feel welcome. It’s because of that that they are likely to come back. They feel like this is their library,” said Creedon. “The original charter for the library calls for community [and children's] programs. There is 100 years of tradition for these types of programs here.”

Although the genre of children’s literature has a lengthy history, writing aimed at teenagers is a relatively new form of literature. Creedon credits “The Catcher in Rye” by J.D. Salinger with paving the way for teen literature. The book’s protagonist, Holden Caulfield, was an adolescent, thus the work couldn’t be defined as a strictly adult novel. In the 1970′s and 1980′s, Judy Blume reigned over the genre with her slice-of-life depictions of teenagers. The Harry Potter series debuted at the end of the 1990′s and sparked the current movement of teenage fantasy literature. Creedon and Farrell said that Harry Potter ushered in a whole new generation of readers.

Farrell’s programming efforts tap into a recent national movement to promote literacy. According to a study conducted by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), reading among 18 to 24-year-olds declined by nearly 20 percent in 2002. In order to combat this downward trend, teachers and librarians have made a concerted effort to create various national and local reading programs for teens in the last six years. A 2008 NEA study proved their strategies worked. The study showed a 21 percent increase in reading for the same age group.

In spite of these results, Farrell said, “I think it is harder to entice kids to read books unless they have been fed them when they were young, and shown how you can get so much more from a book than from a video.”

For DiRussa, literacy education begins in the home.

“At night, I always read to my kids. It’s the way we end our day,” said DiRussa. “It was never hard to interest Isabella in reading because she loves to read.”

The “Bookclub and Breakfast for Parent and Child” will meet again on February 21 at 9:30 a.m. 

 

Start the Day with a Book

Tags: , ,


It was a familiar sight at the John Jermain Memorial Library on Saturday morning in the children’s section. Two moms and their daughters sat in a circle discussing a book with Susann Farrell, the children and young adult librarian, and Cathy Creedon, director of the library.

The refreshments — an array of muffins, donuts, hot cocoa and coffee — and the topic of conversation, however, were out of the ordinary. Mother, Lisa DiRussa, and her daughter Isabella, age 9, debated the motivation of certain characters from the chapter book “The City of Ember” by Jeanne DuPrau. Lisa felt the character Doon Harrow should have told his father before embarking on a perilous mission away. Isabella, Lisa’s daughter, said Doon was simply trying to protect his father.

It is rare to find a parent and child intelligently hashing out the nuances of a book, but this was one reason Farrell and Creedon created the Saturday morning program “Bookclub and Breakfast for Parent and Child.”

After the club’s initial meeting ended, Creedon said “Both Susann and I love to read. We always talk about books together and it was nice to give parents a chance to do that with their children.”

DiRussa reads teen books as a way to “gain insight as to what is coming next” when her daughter becomes a teenager in a few years. When she and Isabella were reading “The City of Ember” simultaneously, she said it was nice to be able to discuss the book with her daughter, which is unusual since they rarely read the same books. During the meeting, Isabella was able to keep pace with her mother when talking about the plot points and themes of the book.

Farrell chose “Ember” because it explores universal themes found in children’s literature, like the child being the hero of the story and the children being able to see the world more clearly than the adults around them.

The Parent Child book club was started as an extension of the library’s four adult book clubs. In recent years, Farrell has increased the number of children’s programs to attract younger patrons to the library. In 2005, she debuted a summer book club for young adults, and 100 children participated in the first year. The book club boasted 300 members in 2008. Under Farrell’s guidance, the library created a teen reading room. Farrell runs a teen poetry and college writing program out of the space. In addition, she established a teen programming advisory committee, comprised of teen patrons who help her create programs and choose books for the library to purchase. One of Farrell’s more novel programs is T-Pac. For the program, children read manuscripts for a literary agency based in New York City.

“Susann is great with pulling kids in here and making them feel welcome. It’s because of that that they are likely to come back. They feel like this is their library,” said Creedon. “The original charter for the library calls for community [and children's] programs. There is 100 years of tradition for these types of programs here.”

Although the genre of children’s literature has a lengthy history, writing aimed at teenagers is a relatively new form of literature. Creedon credits “The Catcher in Rye” by J.D. Salinger with paving the way for teen literature. The book’s protagonist, Holden Caulfield, was an adolescent, thus the work couldn’t be defined as a strictly adult novel. In the 1970′s and 1980′s, Judy Blume reigned over the genre with her slice-of-life depictions of teenagers. The Harry Potter series debuted at the end of the 1990′s and sparked the current movement of teenage fantasy literature. Creedon and Farrell said that Harry Potter ushered in a whole new generation of readers.

Farrell’s programming efforts tap into a recent national movement to promote literacy. According to a study conducted by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), reading among 18 to 24-year-olds declined by nearly 20 percent in 2002. In order to combat this downward trend, teachers and librarians have made a concerted effort to create various national and local reading programs for teens in the last six years. A 2008 NEA study proved their strategies worked. The study showed a 21 percent increase in reading for the same age group.

In spite of these results, Farrell said, “I think it is harder to entice kids to read books unless they have been fed them when they were young, and shown how you can get so much more from a book than from a video.”

For DiRussa, literacy education begins in the home.

“At night, I always read to my kids. It’s the way we end our day,” said DiRussa. “It was never hard to interest Isabella in reading because she loves to read.”

The “Bookclub and Breakfast for Parent and Child” will meet again on February 21 at 9:30 a.m.

Above: JJ Library Director Cathy Creedon explores the themes in “City of Ember” with participants of the “Bookclub and Breakfast for Parent and Child.”