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Feb 27, 2018 11:48 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Graduate Student Now Offering Social Services At Hampton Bays Library

Faith Vidale. VALERIE GORDON
Feb 28, 2018 8:49 AM

The Hampton Bays Public Library offers a lot more than a good book.

While it is still an excellent place to get lost in a novel, the Ponquogue Avenue institution now offers free social services to library patrons through the Stony Brook University School of Social Welfare.

Since September, Faith Vidale, a graduate student at Stony Brook who is majoring in psychology, has interned at the library, offering one-on-one informational sessions. She is also working with the Southampton Town’s Act TWO youth program, which helps raise mental health awareness through short skits, according to the library’s director, Susan LaVista.

“When the opportunity came up I thought it was a great idea for both parties,” Ms. LaVista wrote in an email. “Library staff help patrons with social issues all the time, and it seemed like a good fit for us in Hampton Bays.”

Ms. Vidale, who lives in Shirley, can assist those who need help completing forms for the Suffolk County Department of Social Services, offer referrals to mental health resources, including psychiatrists and therapists, and provide information about various support groups, such as food pantries. She can also help with the filling out of affordable housing applications and provide tips to those looking to join the workforce.

“For as long as I can remember people have always felt comfortable talking to me,” Ms. Vidale said on Monday. “I just want to help people.”

The social work intern program, which started at the Patchogue-Medford Public Library in 2017, is the latest example of how libraries have evolved to meet the changing needs of those who frequent them, according to Valerie Lewis, the administrator of outreach services for the Suffolk Cooperative Library System.

“Libraries truly add to the health and well-being of a community,” Ms. Lewis said on Monday. “People who visit the library are looking for information that may not be in scope of what a librarian [can offer]. It adds another realm of assistance that a public library can offer.”

Ms. LaVista agreed: “I think the people that have met with [Ms. Vidale] are grateful for her help,” she said. “She can help direct people to resources and help people find information they need.”

The 20,000-square-foot library is one of six public libraries in Suffolk County participating in the social work intern program. The others include South Country, Amityville, Longwood, Patchogue-Medford and Bayshore-Brightwaters, according to Ms. Lewis.

“There seems to be a greater need for this kind of help,” Ms. LaVista said on Monday. “Having a person who is more appropriately trained is a great idea.”

Ms. Vidale’s services are available on Mondays and Thursdays, from 5 to 9 p.m., and on Saturdays, from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., according to the library’s website.

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Nothing against this woman, but there are professional agencies all over the east end that provide social services. If there are not enough library services to fill the building, move to a book trailer and sublet the building to a professional social service agency and stop collecting over $2 million a year from the Hampton Bays taxpayers to run a....LIBRARY...We already pay taxes that get allocated to social services and many of us contribute via charitable donations to social services. And let's ...more
By G.A.Lombardi (327), Hampton Bays on Mar 3, 18 1:15 PM
1 member liked this comment
You should really head down to the local library and check out some history, civics, and library studies books. If you take the time to do any research or reading you'll quickly learn that libraries currently and historically have many more purpose than just book lending. The library will even have a computer with internet access so you can then log back on to this website to share what you've learned with the world. Good luck.
By adlkjd923ilifmac.aladfksdurwp (613), southampton on Mar 3, 18 4:24 PM
This is an added bonus to services offered for their patrons. Free, accessible to all, and right here in our hamlet.. Way to go HBPL.
By Infoseeker (271), Hampton Bays on Mar 3, 18 3:32 PM
I spent many a day, night, and weekend in libraries getting my bachelor's degree in accounting, mater's degree in tax and representing billion dollar clients for almost 30 years as a CPA.. I have gone to almost two years worth of Library Board meeting on and off as well as reviewed the minutes and financial statements. The taxpayers of Hampton Bays sent a clear message to the Library Board when they voted down the referendum for a new building twice. The Board continues to report of the poor ...more
By G.A.Lombardi (327), Hampton Bays on Mar 5, 18 12:49 PM
1 member liked this comment
and let me add that I past the Business Library in Brooklyn Heights this weekend that is now closed as well as the Law Library in the Lincoln Building in Manhattan that is now closed. If we need a social services space, the library itself can probably be condensed to 1/2 to 1/4 of the building - sublet the rest to a professional organization,collect the rent and fix the building.
By G.A.Lombardi (327), Hampton Bays on Mar 5, 18 1:12 PM
I see.
So you want don't want a new library building but you would like to improve the existing building?
That sounds like a good plan.
By adlkjd923ilifmac.aladfksdurwp (613), southampton on Mar 5, 18 1:37 PM
It appears that you have not been following what has been going on at the Hampton Bays library for more than 2 years about th eneed for upgrades and maintenance. Maybe you should look at the minutes and reports.
By G.A.Lombardi (327), Hampton Bays on Mar 5, 18 1:48 PM
Maybe I missed it, but nowhere in the article did I read that this would cost taxpayers anything other than already-existing space.
By Fore1gnBornHBgrown (5542), HAMPTON BAYS on Mar 5, 18 1:51 PM
I think you are missing my point. The Board continues to report that they are stretching their budget beyond capacity and they don't have the monies to maintain the building and that the 'need a new building". However, they continue to expand into non-core services that put wear and tear on the existing facility. If there is so much excess capacity in the building for these non-core services - they should sublet the building to raise money for the maintenance and not try to pierce the cap or ...more
By G.A.Lombardi (327), Hampton Bays on Mar 5, 18 1:59 PM
So what funds would we save by pulling out of the social work intern program?

If we cut the program tomorrow, when can I expect my tax refund check?
Mar 5, 18 2:06 PM appended by Fore1gnBornHBgrown
That the library asks for more money doesn't mean we must give it to them, and that we deny it to them doesn't mean they have to stop doing more. In fact, libraries are notorious for being able to do more with less.
By Fore1gnBornHBgrown (5542), HAMPTON BAYS on Mar 5, 18 2:06 PM
Let me ask you - do you own a house? Do you fix the roof, boiler, concrete, foundation - do you set aside money knowing that you will need a new boiler someday or do you use your money to take yoga classes, make wreathes, make music tapes and then expect someone to bring you a bucket of money to pay for the repairs and upgrades? The Board should be focusing on maintaining and repairing the building and core services
By G.A.Lombardi (327), Hampton Bays on Mar 5, 18 2:23 PM
Which brings me back to my original question: is "wear and tear" the extent of the cost to the library?

Small price to pay!
By Fore1gnBornHBgrown (5542), HAMPTON BAYS on Mar 5, 18 2:32 PM
I completely disagree. This is a cumulative effect with all of the other non-core programs. We have several taxpayer and charitable funded buildings in our community that can be used, This is a complete misuse of library.
By G.A.Lombardi (327), Hampton Bays on Mar 5, 18 2:42 PM
What's a music tape and how do i make one?

It appears that many people are using the library for purposes that are common for libraries. It also seems like the building needs work.
More people want to use the library so we should improve the building or expand.
You seem to want to charge groups to use the library for library related activities? Your whole premise of 'core vs non-core services' is wrong. Quit being so cheap and help to improve the library and all that is provided ...more
By adlkjd923ilifmac.aladfksdurwp (613), southampton on Mar 5, 18 2:42 PM
1 member liked this comment
Alphabet Soup: it is squarely within Lombardi's rights to "be cheap" and to vote against the library at every chance she gets. What's not within her rights is to tell the library how to conduct business.

Rather than get bogged down in what's a core service and what isn't, let's go to the library's mission statement: "The Hampton Bays Library serves our community by providing educational, cultural and recreational resources for life long learning."

This falls clearly under "educational ...more
By Fore1gnBornHBgrown (5542), HAMPTON BAYS on Mar 5, 18 2:56 PM
First of all define "many" - there are 13,000 residents of Hampton Bays - what percent? 1? 1/2 of 1? This is not about being cheap - but please provide your real name and address and suspect a thousand or so taxpayers that voted down the referendum would gladly send you their library (and school) tax bill. Hampton Bays taxpayers pay the hugest rate in the Town of Southampton. The schools, property values This cannot continue to service a handful of people that can get services elsewhere. Socialism ...more
By G.A.Lombardi (327), Hampton Bays on Mar 5, 18 3:04 PM
So what do you estimate the "wear and tear" costs taxpayers?

Pinching pennies is a noble cause, but this may not be the hill to die on.
By Fore1gnBornHBgrown (5542), HAMPTON BAYS on Mar 5, 18 3:08 PM
ForeignBorn, I am not sure where you are getting pennies - the board wanted $13 million for a new building and the annual budget still includes payments for a bond on the old expansion. The annual budget is about $2 million. It is our duty and responsibility to voice our concerns about how the library is run since it is OUR money - not the Board's money. They have a fiduciary responsibility to allocate and spend our money wisely and in the best interest of the TAXPAYERS. The organization of ...more
By G.A.Lombardi (327), Hampton Bays on Mar 5, 18 3:20 PM
"Pinching pennies" refers to you taking up this issue on an article about a program that costs us that: pennies.

Cost-saving is a great goal, but cutting this program is not where it's going to be achieved.
By Fore1gnBornHBgrown (5542), HAMPTON BAYS on Mar 5, 18 3:25 PM
Resource allocation and budgeting and forecasting is NOT about pinching pennies and some cost small one time cost savings. It is a much bigger and long range analysis of wants and needs. This is just indicative of a lack of a plan for this taxpayer funded building and the expense of the taxpayers and eventually the patrons of the library.
By G.A.Lombardi (327), Hampton Bays on Mar 5, 18 3:39 PM
So by all means, campaign against this free program to get people in need signed up for food stamps, but be conscious of how you sound when people look away in disgust.
By Fore1gnBornHBgrown (5542), HAMPTON BAYS on Mar 5, 18 3:46 PM
It is amazing how quickly people turn to demonizing people when they run out of arguments. Again it is not this program alone, but no I don't think people should go to a library to get advice about getting food stamps. That is what DSS and other agencies are for that are already funded with taxpayer dollars.
By G.A.Lombardi (327), Hampton Bays on Mar 5, 18 3:52 PM
Why doesn't DSS sublet the extra space from the Library if that is so important to the community? Why double dip on taxpayer funds?
By G.A.Lombardi (327), Hampton Bays on Mar 5, 18 3:55 PM
My argument is simple: You're trying to save money on something that comes at negligible cost and many others believe is beneficial.

Also, a person who comes to see Ms. Vidale doesn't come asking for food stamps, they come to her with problems and she educates them on the resources available to help.
By Fore1gnBornHBgrown (5542), HAMPTON BAYS on Mar 5, 18 4:09 PM
First of all - you used the food stamp example. My argument is simple also - the library has moved away from its core competency and maintaining the physical structure. The leadership is distracted by the latest idea/initiative that some other library has like making tapes for those that have a memory loss (how many really took advantage or that). How many days have they closed the library because of a maintenance problem that has not been addressed. These programs are like dancing around while ...more
By G.A.Lombardi (327), Hampton Bays on Mar 5, 18 4:38 PM
Um, somebody needs to get a life!
By Infoseeker (271), Hampton Bays on Mar 5, 18 7:08 PM
Yes someone does
By G.A.Lombardi (327), Hampton Bays on Mar 5, 18 7:46 PM
Infoseeker it is always easy to criticize, demonize or attack a person when you can't attack an issue. I am passionate about Hampton Bays moving forward in a positive direction. We have fallen behind all of the other neighboring communities in recovery after the great recession. We are in the best geographic location with the best waterfront and some of the best restaurants on the east end, , but yet take a look along the blight along Montauk Highway, our depressed property values, and high taxes. ...more
By G.A.Lombardi (327), Hampton Bays on Mar 5, 18 8:15 PM
The state of our downtown has more to do with the Town ruining our hospitality industry when they closed down the clubs on Dune Rd and group rentals. Our little hamlet survived from the summer trade. The library offering services that you think is double dipping is not necessarily true either. We have many residents who dont have the money, health insurance or what have you to get to these social service agencies. This FREE service being offered at the library hurts nobody nor their finances.
By Infoseeker (271), Hampton Bays on Mar 5, 18 9:25 PM
1 member liked this comment
I have repeated in my posts that it is not this one non-core service, but the cumulative effect of all of the non-core services. You cannot bifurcate the effect the the library taxes on the cost of doing business on Main Street as well as the reduced disposable income for the rest of the property owners. We seem to be going around the same mountain so let's just agree to disagree.
By G.A.Lombardi (327), Hampton Bays on Mar 5, 18 10:13 PM
Don't let me tell you how to live your life, but maybe you want to pick a better example of unnecessary spending than a free program to get poor people social services.

So far the only alternative you've suggested is "rent out the building if you have so much room!"
By Fore1gnBornHBgrown (5542), HAMPTON BAYS on Mar 5, 18 10:23 PM
A library should not be providing social services. There are social service agencies trained for that such as DSS. This is as bad as a people who try to fix something that know enough to be dangerous, like the kid that tried to fix the clock with no experience and the library had to close for a day. Don't worry yourself about having to tell me how to live my life, I have been blessed with a very successful one by working hard and putting myself through school at night and have shared my time ...more
By G.A.Lombardi (327), Hampton Bays on Mar 5, 18 10:38 PM
The library is not providing services, it is providing space for a volunteer to provide education on services.

If it's not about THIS service why are you choosing THIS article as your soapbox?
By Fore1gnBornHBgrown (5542), HAMPTON BAYS on Mar 5, 18 10:40 PM
My soapbox was also on the 2 referendums of the l Library expansion and the clock mishap and the boiler mishap that caused the library to close. Clearly the nearly 1,000 property owners that voted down the expansion agree with me. The Library is funded by taxpayers and the Library has a fiduciary responsibility to use the taxpayer monies in fiscally responsible manner. They continue to "cry poverty" that they have no resources to maintain the building and have not set aside monies to replace the ...more
By G.A.Lombardi (327), Hampton Bays on Mar 5, 18 10:50 PM
So I get it, your soapbox is on every library article, I'm just trying to convey why every other commenter on this article is disagreeing with you forcefully: this is not a good example of government waste.
By Fore1gnBornHBgrown (5542), HAMPTON BAYS on Mar 5, 18 10:54 PM
It's you and two people disagreeing - not exactly a mob. No worries, let's see what happens when the library board tires another referendum..
By G.A.Lombardi (327), Hampton Bays on Mar 5, 18 10:59 PM
I'll probably be voting it down alongside you, but I'll stop short of calling for free programs for the poor to get displaced.
By Fore1gnBornHBgrown (5542), HAMPTON BAYS on Mar 5, 18 11:01 PM
They are looking for people to join their foundation - why don't you contact them and help them out there.
By G.A.Lombardi (327), Hampton Bays on Mar 5, 18 11:36 PM
What makes you think I don't already?
By Fore1gnBornHBgrown (5542), HAMPTON BAYS on Mar 6, 18 6:56 AM
Good if you did - it didn't seem like they have advertised that. I only know they want to do that since I went to several Board meetings. I hope every gives of their time talents and treasures and tithes to help those less fortunate before they demand others do the same and don't judge others that chose not to for their own reasons.
By G.A.Lombardi (327), Hampton Bays on Mar 6, 18 8:32 AM
I also hope than when good people want to do good work at no cost, others don't stand in their way.
By Fore1gnBornHBgrown (5542), HAMPTON BAYS on Mar 6, 18 8:38 AM
Again, let's RESPECTFULLY agree to disagree....there is ALWAYS a cost.
By G.A.Lombardi (327), Hampton Bays on Mar 6, 18 8:45 AM
And where the cost is negligible but the benefit is great, one should be loathe to suspend the service, not giddy.
By Fore1gnBornHBgrown (5542), HAMPTON BAYS on Mar 6, 18 8:49 AM
Again just let's respectfully disagree on all accounts.
By G.A.Lombardi (327), Hampton Bays on Mar 6, 18 8:52 AM
I also can't help but note that repeated requests to quantify the costs borne by the library on Ms. Vidale's account have gone unanswered, failing to support your premise that kicking out this program or others like it would be a boon for the taxpayer.
By Fore1gnBornHBgrown (5542), HAMPTON BAYS on Mar 6, 18 9:00 AM
I can ask you the same thing - you don't know the tangible and intangible costs associated with this program as well as the benefits or there lack of associated with this program. Based on my observations and analysis of what has happened to the programs and physical structure over the past several years, I would not be supportive of any new programs until they address the pressing needs of the core programs and building structure. If that is not addressed, there will be NO library for any programs. ...more
By G.A.Lombardi (327), Hampton Bays on Mar 6, 18 9:21 AM
It's not MY position that this program and others like it are a burden to the taxpayer, so it's not MY responsibility to provide support.

What exactly are your observations and analysis of the programs and structure of the past several years?

Are you observations limited to the fact that the library asks for money but continues doing more and more with what they already have?

Which core-programs are deficient and how? In what way does Ms. Vidale's program draw resources ...more
By Fore1gnBornHBgrown (5542), HAMPTON BAYS on Mar 6, 18 9:36 AM
I am not sure why we can't agree to disagree. I use my real name - why don't you and have a real discussion at the next Library Board meeting. I will meet you there.
By G.A.Lombardi (327), Hampton Bays on Mar 6, 18 9:43 AM
I'm not interested in agreeing to disagree, I'm trying to highlight the deficiencies in your argument so that you will improve it by using a better example of potential cost-saving measures, or at least leave Ms. Vidale and her clients alone.
By Fore1gnBornHBgrown (5542), HAMPTON BAYS on Mar 6, 18 9:57 AM
I am not interested in continuing this stream. Have a blessed day.
By G.A.Lombardi (327), Hampton Bays on Mar 6, 18 10:02 AM
1 member liked this comment
The one thing that's clear after all of this is that the Hampton Bays Library is due for some improvements to the building, if not a new building all together.

Thanks all.
By adlkjd923ilifmac.aladfksdurwp (613), southampton on Mar 6, 18 10:06 AM
Again, you are entitled to your opinion, but almost 1000 taxpayers would disagree that Hampton Bays needs a new building.
By G.A.Lombardi (327), Hampton Bays on Mar 6, 18 10:13 AM
I'd be curious how you came to that conclusion, since the vote for a new building bond failed 719-507.

719 is almost 1000, I guess.
By Fore1gnBornHBgrown (5542), HAMPTON BAYS on Mar 6, 18 10:20 AM
I "rounded up" and there were two votes.
By G.A.Lombardi (327), Hampton Bays on Mar 6, 18 10:26 AM
Yes there were! The other one was 571-336.
Mar 6, 18 10:29 AM appended by Fore1gnBornHBgrown
571 is also the same as 1000 if you round to the nearest thousand.
By Fore1gnBornHBgrown (5542), HAMPTON BAYS on Mar 6, 18 10:29 AM
oh wow, only 700 people voted this down, it seems like we need to get the word out about library improvements then. 700 is such a low number, it's probably actually just the mailing list and peripheries that received info via the CAC.

I be a majority of tax payers would actually be for improvements.
By adlkjd923ilifmac.aladfksdurwp (613), southampton on Mar 6, 18 12:44 PM
You seem misinformed - the CAC is a TOWN appointed position, it is has nothing to do with the Library. These numbers are consistent with the School and Library votes. Usually only about 1200 people should up to vote/can vote since they are second home owners or away during the vote.
By G.A.Lombardi (327), Hampton Bays on Mar 6, 18 1:09 PM
and only 325 voted in the regular budget last year of which about 1/3 voted it down even though it was under the cap.
By G.A.Lombardi (327), Hampton Bays on Mar 6, 18 1:37 PM