Thursday, 06 February 2014 00:00
As an Island Trees resident, I am very concerned about the Island Trees School District’s recent proposal to sell the Farmedge property. This is particularly disconcerting because the Island Trees Public Library currently resides in a small portion of the Karopczyc building. Without the Karopczyc building, the library will return to the Island Trees Middle School, where it was housed from 1989-1997.
I was also informed that the new space would be “comparable” to the library’s current location. However, others I’ve spoken to said this would not be the case, especially since the space being offered is the same space allocated to the library in the past, which had been much smaller than what the library currently has. Regardless, I find this suggestion problematic for several reasons.
First, if there were any decrease to the size of the library’s location, it will negatively impact the library, which is already in need of expansion. The space for Children’s Room is already incredibly small. as is the space for Adult Reference, which is shared with a
makeshift computer lab that really warrants its own room. An individual area for teens and young adults is nearly non-existent. Losing any of the little space that the library currently has means potentially losing one of these services altogether, as there is already such a limited amount of space to go around.
Secondly, why should the middle school lose a portion of their building? The district should not be taking away a significant part of the middle school in order to house it. Rather, it should find ways to use that space to benefit the students that go there. Moreover, if the School District decides in a few years it needs that space again for the middle school, what will happen to the library? Because the library is so dependent on the school district housing them in different wings of different buildings, it is also at the School District’s mercy whenever it chooses to evict them.
Lastly, the Island Trees community has settled for our library renting small and inadequate space from different buildings while the libraries of neighboring communities are afforded their own library buildings. Excluding Levittown and East Meadow—which are central
libraries in Nassau County—communities such as Hicksville, Wantagh, Seaford, Bethpage, and Plainedge all have individual libraries that are much larger than the space in the middle school.
If the Farmedge property must be sold and the library relocated, and if the Island Trees School District believes it will gain such a hefty profit, why can’t some of the money gained from the sale go to purchasing a proper building dedicated solely to the Island Trees
Public Library like all of the public libraries in our neighboring communities? After all, the library gives all Island Trees residents fair and equal access to information, no matter what their age, race, or gender may be. It is a hub for learning, literacy, technology, and community for everyone in Island Trees, and, with proper funding and support from the Island Trees School District, it can become a modern, independent facility with expansive and separate space dedicated to children, young adults, and adult services as well as individual areas allocated to media, technology, and meeting rooms.
The library is an important part of the community and the School District needs to support it rather than hinder it. I encourage my fellow Island Trees residents to support the library by attending the Community Forum at the Island Trees High School on Monday,
February 10 at 7:30 p.m. and having your voices be heard. Island Trees residents must rally and show the School District how vital the Island Trees Public Library is to the entire community.