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Editorial: Our Library: You Will Write Its Next Chapter

It is understandable that the general public has wearied of the years of debate swirling around renovating and/or expanding the Main library, a beloved landmark that, while now a little frayed around the edges, has served us well since the ’60s. People have often remarked to us that they do not even read our library stories any more. “Just let me know when things get serious,” they conclude. They expect a never-ending circle of indecision and lack of resolve.

But serious time has arrived.

We are now entering a momentous time of decision making and the future of our library system will only be made better if citizens take some time now to study the choices, ask hard questions and make constructive comments. Eventually, you will be asked to vote for or against a bond referendum and certainly you will want your vote to be well informed.

The library’s website has a tremendous amount of information about the three plans, the design layouts, and the costs. Just go to the homepage at www.greatnecklibrary.org and click on the renovation icon.

We know that many of you are very concerned about the closing of Main for construction. No matter which plan is chosen, the architects and construction management firm strongly recommend closing the library during construction for safety, time and cost reasons.

This is the time to come up with creative ways to utilize materials and dispatch staff during the interim if a referendum is passed. For example, could the children’s program be partially located at CLASP? Or Open Door? Or could certain programs and materials geared for adults be temporarily located at the Senior Center? Would it be feasible to rent a Bookmobile and circulate through neighborhoods?  Luckily, we do have branches, but how could they be better prepared to take up the slack? How do we assure that online services continue without a blip? And where could the wonderfully successful Levels programs be relocated so that its momentum is not lost? The more brainstorming, the better.

We have faith in the intelligence and wisdom of our collective community members who have made Great Neck such a desirable place to live. You are needed now, more than ever, to weigh in on the great library debate.

The next important meeting of the board to discuss the matter is Wednesday, Sept.9, 8 p.m. at Main. Mark your calendar and talk it up with your neighbors who, gasp, don’t subscribe to a local newspaper.

Time to get involved. Seriously.