Tag Archive | "John Jermain Memorial Library"

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 19, preceding the regular monthly meeting. The library trustee election and budget vote is Monday, September 29, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

East End Weekend: What to Do July 11 – 13

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Malin Abrahamsson, "Winter Lot," mixed media on canvas. Image courtesy Sara Nightingale Gallery.

Malin Abrahamsson, “Winter Lot,” mixed media on canvas. Image courtesy Sara Nightingale Gallery.

By Tessa Raebeck

From shark hunting to art grazing, a carefully-curated selection of top picks to do on the East End this weekend:

Art Market Hamptons brings booths from selected modern and contemporary galleries to Bridgehampton, returning for its fourth season from Friday, July 10 through Sunday, July 13.

Scott Bluedorn of Neoteric Fine Art.

Scott Bluedorn of Neoteric Fine Art.

With 40 participating galleries, Art Market is more exclusive than other art fairs. Local galleries like Neoteric Fine Art, Sara Nightingale Gallery and Grenning Gallery will feature their artists in booths.

The fair is open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday, July 11, and Saturday, July 12, and from 12 to 6 p.m. Sunday, July 13, at the Bridgehampton Historical Society, located at 2368 Montauk Highway in Bridgehampton.

 

The Silas Marder Gallery in Bridgehampton shows East Hampton artist Richmond Burton in an exhibition running July 12 through August 11.

“Known for his dazzling kaleidoscopic abstractions, Richmond Burton melds geometry and naturalism to usher the pictorial language of his predecessors into a contemporary context,” the gallery said in a press release. “With swift, vibrantly hued marks, Burton creates densely gridded compositions that morph into expansive waves of pattern, their overlapping rhythms at once steady and unstable.”

The exhibition will feature Mr. Burton’s last large-scale paintings created in his East Hampton studio, as well as his more recent works. An opening reception is Saturday, July 12, from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Silas Marder Gallery, located at 120 Snake Hollow Road in Bridgehampton.

 

The Shark’s Eye All-Release Tournament & Festival returns to Montauk Friday, July 11 through Sunday, July 13.

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A little girl watches a shark being tagged at the Shark’s Eye Festival and Tournament in 2012. Photo by Tessa Raebeck.

The weekend-long event is “Montauk’s only satellite tag, catch-and-release, high stakes, big game sport fishing competition combined with cutting-edge science, conservation and informative entertainment focused on saving sharks,” according to a press release.

The tournament, held in the Montauk Marine Basin, offers prize money of $10,000. In 2013, participating teams tagged and released 64 sharks, including 33 mako and 31 blue sharks. Four sharks were tagged with satellite tracking devices.

Although it may sound scary, the event offers fun for the whole family, as kids can see sharks up-close-and-personal and learn about conservation and marine wildlife. The festival is free to the public on Saturday, July 12, from 3 to 7 p.m. and on Sunday, July 13, from 2 to 6 p.m. A dock part Saturday night runs until 10 p.m.

The tournament and festival are supported by marine artist and conservationist Guy Harvey of the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation.

“There is no other fishing tournament like Shark’s Eye,” Mr. Harvey said in the press release. “This tournament combines the thrill of shark fishing, practical conservation measures, and meaningful fisheries research and community involvement into a single event. It is truly the future of shark fishing tournaments.

The Montauk Marine Basin is located at 426 West Lake Drive in Montauk. For more information, call (631) 668-5900.

 

In its annual Sag Harbor house tour, the John Jermain Memorial Library presents five homes–one in North Haven and four in Sag Harbor Village–to the public. The houses were specially picked for their unique and personalized interior decorating and for the feeling of “home” each conveyed. For more information on the house tour: read the Express’ full article here.

John Jermain Memorial Library’s Annual House Tour Shows Sag Harbor’s Living History

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The bathroom at Delores and Phil D'Angelo's homre on Glover Street. Photo by Delores D'Angelo.

The bathroom at Delores and Phil D’Angelo’s homre on Glover Street. Photo by Delores D’Angelo.

By Tessa Raebeck

Delores D’Angelo’s home in Sag Harbor isn’t particularly big or professionally decorated. She calls it her “little dream house” because it’s unique, peaceful and filled with mementos—and grandchildren.

“I think it’s a little surprising when you walk in,” Ms. D’Angelo said Thursday, July 3. “I just have a lot of stuff that I like.”

The timber-peg home on Glover Street is one of five that will be featured on the annual Sag Harbor House Tour, put on by the Friends of the John Jermain Memorial Library (JJML) Friday, July 11. The houses, four in Sag Harbor and one in North Haven, were selected for their variety, individuality, and for being lived in homes rather than cookie-cutter models. The tour has been ongoing for some 40 or 50 years, but the organizers never fall short of finding unique houses to showcase.

The home Ms. D’Angelo shares with her husband Phil, their Labrador and whatever kids and grandchildren are home was built in 1987 and overlooks Sag Harbor’s tranquil Upper Cove.

“It’s all pre-cut,” Ms. D’Angelo explained. The frame is put up first, she said, followed by the interior walls, electricity, insulation and last, the shingles, resulting in a colonial-style exterior.

The D'Angelos home on Glover Street. Photo by Delores D'Angelo.

The D’Angelos home on Glover Street. Photo by Delores D’Angelo.

“It’s like a barn. They raise all the timbers up,” she said. And that was exciting—to turn the corner on Long Island Avenue and see this structure where there had been nothing for so long. It was just a wonderful thing and we love Sag Harbor, so it was really the best of both worlds to be here.”

The D’Angelo’s have transformed the timber-peg model into their family home by sticking to what they like. They love to watch the wildlife, so, rather than a neatly manicured backyard, they keep it friendly for visiting animals. While many people erect fences and douse their plants with sprays to ward off deer, the D’Angelo’s prefer having those neighbors stop by for a snack.

“It’s just a very peaceful—I think it’s a sweet little house,” Ms. D’Angelo said. “It’s very lived in…It’s not a pristine—maybe that’s the difference, it’s just a real family home.”

In addition to children, the house is filled with various items collected over the years—there’s something to look at in every corner.

Ann Lieber, who is on the library’s board of trustees and helps choose the homes on the tour, said she is excited about the D’Angelo’s house because it “has so many things that they’ve collected that are important to them and it’s been part of [their lives], things from their childhood, etc.”

The Friends of the Library choose homes like the D’Angelo’s for that exact reason—their authenticity.

“I think the big thing is that they’ve all taken things that were part of their families and their lives and have made them part of their very lovely homes,” said Ms. Lieber. “That’s one of the really nice things.”

“We have homes that the families have decorated with things that are important to them, rather than somebody just coming in and decorating,” she added. “I really feel like each home is individually styled with things that matter to them.”

The North Haven house is home to Susan Edwards and Ian Ziskin, the fifth generation of a Sag Harbor family, with furnishings collected from the couple’s former homes and the lives of those five generations. Ms. Edwards and Mr. Ziskin decorated the house by re-creating their favorite pieces from the 10 houses they formerly owned across the country. In addition to a large collection of art and sculpture, the Western, Prairie and Craftsman style house, which overlooks Genet Creek with views of Shelter Island, offers a living history of Sag Harbor.

Architect Scott Baker renewed a 1926 Sears Roebuck pre-fab house on Franklin Avenue with a 1,250-square foot addition in 2007 when Norah McCormack and Gordon Boals purchased the house. In the grand “great room,” light shines through the soaring ceiling from all directions. The house has a twin across the street and legend has it that two sisters who feuded without speaking for 20 years lived in the homes.

A Hampton Street home owned by Ki Hackney Hribar and Carl Hribar was built in 1790 as a simple one-story dwelling. Captain Jonas Winters expanded it in 1853 and it was again modified in the Victorian style in the 1920s. When the Hribars moved in, they reclaimed the pine-plank floors and beams from the original 1790 roof and added a few modern touches, such as a window seat and a “ship’s staircase,” which has brass railings, bead-board and rope trim.

“They’ve taken a really old house and opened it up and it’s just beautiful,” said Ms. Lieber. “And they too have many things that are part of their family life.”

Another historic home is that of Anton Hagen and Linley Pennebaker on Main Street. The Greek Revival-turned-Federal was built in 1840 and rotated by 90 degrees and converted into the Colonial style in the 1940s. Continuous renovations since Mr. Hagen purchased the home in 1980 include furniture designed by Mr. Hagen and family antiques, folk rugs and other collectibles.

In addition to showcasing the varied tastes and extensive histories of Sag Harbor residents and their village, the JJML House Tour is a major fundraiser for the library’s programs.

The proceeds, co-chair Chris Tice said Monday, are “what pays for all the programs that the library provides for the community.”

“That’s why the house tour is so important for the community and for the library,” she added.

The John Jermain Memorial Library House Tour is Friday, July 11, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tickets are $45 if purchased in advance and are available at the library’s temporary location at 34 West Water Street and at the Wharf Shop, located at 69 Main Street in Sag Harbor. Tickets purchased on the day of the event are $50 and will only be available at the library. For more information, call (631) 725-0049 or visit johnjermain.org.

Libraries Receive Grants

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New York State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr. , the chairman of the Assembly’s Committee on Libraries and Education Technology, announced this week that the John Jermain Memorial Library in Sag Harbor, the East Hampton Library, and the Montauk Library had received grants totaling $210,107.

The John Jermain Memorial Library received $75,054 to help with its ongoing renovation project, while East Hampton will receive $75,053 for its children’s addition project. Montauk will receive $60,000 for an emergency generator project.

The grant funds are from $14 million in capital funds for public library construction provided in the 2013 state budget.

“With libraries now experiencing remarkable increases in use, and with budget cuts creating significant hardship, I am thrilled that so many of my constituents will benefit from increased library resources made possible through these state funds,” said Mr. Thiele in a press release.

Pamela Topham to Show Landscape Tapestries at Sag Harbor’s John Jermain Memorial Library

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Tapestry by Pamela Topham. Courtesy John Jermain Memorial Library.

Tapestry by Pamela Topham. Courtesy John Jermain Memorial Library.

 

By Tessa Raebeck

Inspired by nature’s beauty from the shores of Accabonac Harbor to the canyons of the West, artist Pamela Topham creates tapestries of landscapes, which she will show this month at the John Jermain Memorial Library in Sag Harbor.

“I have lived most of my life in an uncommonly beautiful place of wetlands, farmland, endless sea and sky,” the artist, who lives on the East End, said in a statement. “I also travel to find other places of similar and contrasting aesthetic inspiration, in the tradition of Thomas Moran. My landscapes reflect my longtime devotion to preserving and interpreting these visual impressions.”

This show marks the first time Ms. Topham is showing her tapestries from the Southwest on the East End. She will also show tapestries from her Sagaponack, Accabonac and Hudson River series.

An opening reception for the show, which runs May 1 through June 6, will be at the library on Saturday, May 3 from 3 to 5 p.m. For more information, call the library at 725-0049.

“With My Own Eyes” Explores Arab Culture with Sag Harbor Resident Ken Dorph

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75 Kerkennah Ayoub donkey (2)

Sag Harbor resident Ken Dorph in Tunisia in 1976. 

By Tessa Raebeck

Ken Dorph has lived with a polygamous family in Morocco, was kidnapped in Mexico City and picked olives with Palestinians next to an Israeli settlement. In his career in international banking, Mr. Dorph, a longtime Sag Harbor resident, has traveled the world, meeting people and learning about their respective cultures, histories and prejudices. In all his travels over a 40-year career, Mr. Dorph says he has never encountered a people so misunderstood by Americans as Arabs.

On Thursday evening, Mr. Dorph talked about the history, misconceptions and politics of the Arab world. The talk was the first of a new series, “With My Own Eyes,” sponsored by Bay Street Theatre and the John Jermain Memorial Library. with the intent of bringing local residents together to learn from the experts in their midst.

“We really can bridge our differences with enough information,” said Catherine Creedon, the library’s executive director, who on Friday called Mr. Dorph’s talk “the realization of a longtime dream for me.”

“History is never fully objective,” Mr. Dorph began, citing both his own subjectivity and the manner in which schoolchildren are taught. “History is always told from the perspective of which facts are chosen, how you speak it.”

The presentation was dedicated to two of his friends, Rob Deraney, who died in the World Trade Center’s north tower on September 11, 2001, and Tracy Hushin, who was killed by a car bomb in Amman, Jordan, in 2005.

“September 11 profoundly affected me,” Mr. Dorph said, “Not just the loss of a friend, but this sense of misunderstanding between the Arabs and the Americans. I decided I wanted to come back to the Arab world; I had to be an ambassador. I had to show the Americans that not all Arabs are evil and I had to show the Arabs that not all Americans hate them.”

Mr. Dorph emphasized that, contrary to its representation in popular culture, the Muslim world is not monolithic. From democratic, secular Turkey to the fundamentalist absolute monarchy of Saudi Arabia, the Arab world is spread across a myriad of dialects, nationalities and continents. Some 90 percent of Arabs are Muslims, but only about 20 percent of Muslims are Arabs. Of the 1.6 billion Muslims in the world, the vast majority live in Asia—India has more Muslims than the entire Arab world.

The center of civilization for centuries, the Arab world once boasted most of the world’s largest cities and flourished with art, architecture, music, philosophy and all forms of culture.

“Before the discovery of America, Middle Eastern dominance seemed inevitable,” Mr. Dorph said. “Most of the great urban centers of the world until the 20th century were in the Middle East, Europe was a backwater…. this whole idea of Europe ruling the world is a relatively new concept.”

In addition to the misguided view of the region as uncultured, primitive. and monolithic, Mr. Dorph said there is grave misunderstanding of women’s position in Islam.

“For its time,” he said, “Islam was a feminist religion, remarkably feminist.”

The first wife of Muhammad, the prophet of Islam, was a businesswoman who didn’t wear a veil. The Muslim holy book, the Quran, banned female infanticide, gave women inheritance rights and right of witness and limited polygamy, divorce and dowries, all radical policies for the 7th century.

“Throughout the Arab world, women are as literate—in some cases more literate—than Arab men, actually in many cases now,” he said.

“I have worked all over the world and I have found that in Egypt, Turkey, in Malaysia, Indonesia, and Morocco, there are more women in authority—in banks at least—than there are in the United States—and way more than on Wall Street. I worked on Wall Street and Wall Street was like Saudi Arabia…[that] may have changed now, but [was] certainly true in the ’80s—worse than Saudi Arabia,” he added.

Mr. Dorph said in Korea and Japan, the opportunities for women are “way worse than in the Arab world,” yet people rarely comment on the treatment of women when discussing those countries.

When thinking of Muslim women, many Westerners conjure up images of  women in burqas, with nothing but their eyes showing through black cloaks. In reality, most Muslim women who wear veils choose to don a hijab, or simple headscarf.

In an informal survey of some 50 Muslim women, Mr. Dorph asked why they choose to wear the hijab. He received an “amazing series of responses,” he said, “but almost all of them have to, number one, deal with identity. The Muslim world knows that America is on their case.”

In response to prejudice against their religion because of the perception that it oppresses women, many Muslim women have decided to wear the veil in a proud statement of their Islamic identity.

Mr. Dorph recalled a Syrian woman who said to him, “The Lebanese girls with their makeup, with their hair, nobody takes them seriously. But when I wear my hijab with no makeup, people take me seriously.”

Mr. Dorph also spoke in-depth of the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, noting, “Israel’s creation was devastating to the Arab world in many ways.”

When the newly formed United Nations partitioned Palestine into Jewish and Arab states in 1948, the Arab world was essentially divided in half. The centuries-old trade route from the cultural center of Cairo to the intellectual capital of the Arab world, Damascus, was eradicated.

“All these trade routes that had existed for thousands of years were gone because you had this hostile area in between,” Mr. Dorph said.

“I think it’s part of our culture that we see the world through the Israeli lens,” he said, adding that a third of American foreign aid goes to Israel and the United States is the only country in which over half the population views Israel favorably.

“Life in the occupied West Bank is a series of obstacles,” he said. There are areas Palestinians are allowed to build, areas they can go with permission, areas where they are not allowed and “checkpoints everywhere.”

“It’s a disturbing place,” said Mr. Dorph, adding that the West Bank is a “different place” than the rest of Israel, which is considerably more progressive and secular.

When he first saw the wall in the West Bank, Mr. Dorph thought it was a prison. When his cab driver told him otherwise, “I couldn’t believe it,” he said. “I cried. I just thought this is wrong, this is not the way to build a future.”

“The extremists are killing us, they’re the ones. It’s not the Israelis, it’s not the Egyptians, it’s the nutcases that are the problem,” he said.

A film of Mr. Dorph’s presentation can be found at the library’s temporary space at 34 West Water Street in Sag Harbor. 

Sag Harbor’s John Jermain Memorial Library Will Return to its Historic Building by the Fall – Hopefully

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After an extended delay, on February 1 workers finally began installing steel piles that will be used to secure the foundation of the new addition to the John Jermain Memorial Library, completing the installation February 15. Michael Heller photo.

After an extended delay, on February 1 workers finally began installing steel piles that will be used to secure the foundation of the new addition to the John Jermain Memorial Library, completing the installation February 15. Michael Heller photo.

By Tessa Raebeck

On Saturday, February 15, at around 1 p.m., the last of the new piles for the foundation of the John Jermain Memorial Library’s addition went into the ground, just moments before the snow began to fall.  Missing the snowstorm was a small bit of good luck in a four-year construction process that has been wrought with setbacks.

With the foundation excavated and the piles installed, Sag Harbor’s historic library is finally moving full steam ahead on its addition—and Executive Director Catherine Creedon couldn’t be happier.

“It’s great,” Ms. Creedon said Tuesday, “This has been, as you know, a long journey… the design process for these piles was intensive.”

Screw-like stainless steel poles driven into the ground to support a structure, the piles were first delivered in December after geological conditions, the historic nature of the 201 Main Street building and the village’s requirements that vibrations from caused by construction be limited together mandated the complete redesign of the foundation plan.

That part of the process was finally completed Saturday, “so we’re up and running now,” said Ms. Creedon. The next steps are placing the underground plumbing, electrical work, ductwork, piping, conduits and loop hearing system, or essentially everything that needs to be set in the ground. A grade beam, which helps distribute the weight of the foundation, will then be installed atop the piles and the foundation will, at long last, be poured over that. Ms. Creedon is hopeful that work will be completed by the end of March.

The restoration and expansion of the library officially began in 2009, when the community approved a referendum to fund nearly $10 million for the project, with the library committing to raise an additional $2 million. In the nearly five years since, the library has exceeded its goal, raising about $2.5 million through grants and pledges. But due to the setbacks, Ms. Creedon estimated another $1 million is necessary to complete the project.

“It’s generally, I think, hard to point to any one thing and say this is what it was,” she said of incurring the additional costs. “Part of it was the extended permitting process we went through which had its own expenses, part of it was work on the dome, part of it was work on the foundation and some of it was the economy itself; that when we had the referendum vote in 2009, we were in a period of de-escalation in construction costs and now we’ve moved into a period of escalation in construction costs.”

Ms. Creedon used to give timeframes for the reopening of the expanded library in months, but has now reduced her speculation to seasons. “And the season I’m going to say is late fall 2014,” she said Tuesday. Her personal goal is for the community—and the patient staff and patrons of the library—to be able to enjoy it again by the time it celebrates its 104th birthday October 10.

“The temporary space has been great,” said the director, “but I’m so excited to have the new building in place for us to be able to really expand on the programs we offer to the community.”

John Jermain Memorial Library in Sag Harbor Moves Forward on Excavation of New Addition

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The steel screws that will be used to secure the foundation of the new addition of the John Jermain Memorial Library.

The steel screws that will be used to secure the foundation of the new addition of the John Jermain Memorial Library. (Photo by Michael Heller).

By Tessa Raebeck

After years of planning and months of revisions and setbacks, the John Jermain Memorial Library (JJML) in Sag Harbor is finally ready to start the excavation of its new addition.

“It really is an exciting time,” Catherine Creedon, the library’s director, said Thursday.

The restoration and expansion of the library’s historic building at 201 Main Street officially began in 2009, but the project has encountered several unforeseen obstacles that stalled its progress.

One of those obstacles occurred when work began on the excavation for the new addition.

Soil borings, tests that evaluate the soil and its ability to support a structure, which were done in the early predesign stages of the project proved inaccurate once the excavation began in August, rendering the original plans to support a 7,000 square-foot addition obsolete.

The initial plan was to support the structure with long finger-like spread footings, a type of shallow foundation that extends beyond the building’s perimeter and transfers building loads close to the earth’s surface. After performing more soil borings, however, the library found several areas of the construction site exhibited lower soil bearing capacity than was initially thought, meaning a deeper foundation was required.

The usual response to such a problem is to simply extend the spread footings further, but longer spread footings would have reached off of the library’s land and onto the neighboring property, 6 Union Street.

“Obviously,” said Creedon, “that wasn’t a possibility.”

The next fix considered was to install conventional driven piles, screw-like poles of either wood, reinforced concrete or steel that are pushed into the ground. Because the library’s village building permit limits the amount of vibration the construction process can create, however, conventional piles turned out to be yet another impossible option.

Working with preservationists, civil engineers, structural engineers and architects — all within the parameter of the building permits and property lines — Creedon went “back and forth with a series of designs” until a plan was finally determined.

“It’s been a journey, but we’re there now,” she said Thursday.

The team has designed and ordered stainless steel helical piles. At 20 feet, they will be driven into the foundation in key places. A header, or concrete beam, runs along the top of the piles.

“The combination of the beam and the helical piles will support the new addition,” said Creedon. “So it’s a great day.”

“I’m so excited,” she added, “to open that new building and so excited at the opportunity to really fully serve the community.”

The new piles will be delivered to the construction site on Friday and twisted into the ground soon after the New Year.

Driving the piles — 80 in total — into the foundation is expected to take two to three weeks. After the header is installed, construction will start on the other walls and the building’s steel support.

Depending on the weather this winter, Sag Harbor residents should be enjoying their new library within the year.

“Our latest schedule,” explained Creedon, “is showing that the substantial completion [will be] in August, so my goal — and I think I tend to be an optimistic person — my goal is to move back in there for the library’s birthday.”

Founded in 1910, the library will celebrate its 104th birthday on October 10, hopefully in its new and improved home.

“And sooner would be great,” adds Creedon.

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.

John Jermain Memorial Library Looks Towards New Year, New Building

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By Amanda Wyatt; Photography by Michael Heller

The year 2012 was a whirlwind for John Jermain Memorial Library (JJML), but don’t expect it to slow down too much in 2013. In fact, the library is moving full speed ahead with its renovation and expansion during this new year.

Already, scaffolding is being slowly taken down from the historic building, which has been undergoing a massive renovation since last spring. And if all goes according to plan, JJML will be able to break ground on its new, modern addition to the 102-year-old structure later this month.

The multimillion-dollar construction project has been years in the making, and was approved for funding by library district voters in 2010, but as Catherine Creedon, JJML’s director, explained this week, the library really kicked the project into high gear last March.

That was when JJML received its building permit from the Village of Sag Harbor, as well as a construction loan from the Bridgehampton National Bank.

“Those two things really allowed us to begin the project in earnest,” Creedon said.

For Creedon, nine months ago feels more like “a million years ago,” considering all of the work that has been accomplished in such a small amount of time.

The exterior bricks at the historic building have been restored with a new roof currently in the works. The restored stained glass lay light — one of the architectural gems of the library — will also be installed soon.

All of the windows have been restored, and new mahogany storm windows have also been fabricated for the outside of the building. The library’s lighting fixtures, which were originally wired for gas, are being cleaned and rewired by a master craftsperson in Connecticut.

The building’s “crown jewel” — the terracotta dome designed by the R. Guastavino Company and located on the third floor rotunda — has also been restored after a rather anxiety-provoking discovery this summer.

“We took off the old copper dome and it was in very bad shape, corroded in a variety of places, worn very thin and quite grayed out and green,” said Creedon.

But when workers began to take off the terra cotta tiles to replace them, they discovered that the steel compression ring — which went around he base of the dome — had been corroded. As a result, they built a temporary shoring ring which was used until the new compression ring was built.

“We knew we would discover the unexpected, and indeed we did. So that was a time delay and an extra cost,” Creedon said.

“I’ve been told that most of the surprises will be behind us. The old building held a lot of mystery, but the new construction should be a little bit more straightforward,” she added.

But as Creedon noted, the library’s “ongoing priority is to restore and stabilize the historic structure before we break ground [on the new addition], before we do any on-site vibration that could further damage it.”

And while the library’s exterior might be the most visible part of the John Jermain building project, its interior renovation is just as exciting to Creedon.

The library is looking into purchasing small, freestanding charging stations that are solar operated, which Creedon noted will be useful during power outages. These stations would be able to “power up a cell phone, a laptop or an espresso maker — depending on what you feel your critical needs are,” Creedon joked.

Currently, Trunzo Builders, the Wainscott-based company heading the renovation, is finding ways to rewire the historic building to improve wireless communication. Pat Trunzo III said his firm was picking out special floor boxes to be installed on all three floors that would allow for patrons to both charge their laptops and hardwire them to get internet access.

JJML is also planning to put in place a LOOP hearing-amplification system throughout the building for the hearing impaired, as well as computers with specialized voice recognition software, movie and music-editing software and more.

In the new building, there will be less space for DVDs, which Creedon likes to call “the VHS tapes of the very near future.”

The library, said Creedon, is seeing an increase in the number of people asking for help with digital downloads, e-book devices and specialized computer applications.

“We’re really looking at the new space and saying how can the library fulfill its mission of providing information to the community by being a teaching institution, by making sure that if more and more information is available only electronically, that we’ve not only provided access to that information, but we’ve given our community the skills with which to access it. So that has been key as we look at the design of the building,” she said.

“We’re always responding to changes in culture.”