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Jul 8, 2016 12:01 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

John Jermain Memorial Library In Sag Harbor To Re-Open July 23 Following Renovations

John Jermain Library Director Catherine Creedon in the newly renovated library in Sag Harbor. The opening will be held on July 23 at 11 a.m.  DANA SHAW
Jul 13, 2016 9:47 AM

After five years, the newly renovated John Jermain Memorial Library on Main Street in Sag Harbor will finally open its doors with a ribbon-cutting on July 23.

“It’s very much a celebration of a work in progress,” Catherine Creedon, the library’s director, said this week of the planned opening festivities as she stood in the first-floor space that soon will house the adult and children’s circulation area.

With any luck, by July 23 all the books will have been moved back from the library’s temporary home on West Water Street, where it has been operating while the library was renovated. The library, which originally opened in 1910, has undergone a widespread restoration, with a new, light-filled addition built at the back.

Sag Harbor residents approved a nearly $10 million plan in 2009 for the restoration and expansion, with 84 percent having voted in favor of it. The library pledged to fundraise to cover all remaining costs and has raised more than $4 million through a combination of grants and donations. “We’ve had more than 3,000 individual donations for our capital campaign,” Ms. Creedon said, adding that it showed a major level of community support.

Care was taken to incorporate as many historical pieces as possible, following two goals that have run parallel to each other throughout the project, according to Ms. Creedon. “One was to bring the building into the 21st century, with electricity”—some elements of the original building actually predate the installation of electricity in the building—“[and] with code compliance issues. But an equally important goal for us was to make sure our historic building lasts into the 21st century.”

New features are all in line with Americans With Disabilities Act codes, including two family bathrooms and wheelchair-accessible doorways and walkways.

Meanwhile, pieces from the older building have found new uses, such as bricks from an old chimney that now line a walkway leading to the circulation floor. Ms. Creedon found four chandeliers that had been in the library at its opening, which had at one point been removed when the ceiling was lowered and covered the original plaster work trim. The chandeliers have been outfitted for electricity and will placed back into the space.

“When school kids come through here, they always say, ‘What’s your favorite book in the library?’ and I always tell them that my favorite document is the library, that it tells as much about our history as any of the books that we have,” said Ms. Creedon, who has been a librarian for more than 40 years and a Sag Harbor resident since 1990.

She pointed to a crack in the vestibule floor as an example. The crack appeared when fir trees fell during the Hurricane of 1938, she said, and she opted not to have it repaired because of the story behind it. Instead, a metalworker will fill it in with bronze.

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By Vikki K (490), Southampton on Jul 8, 16 12:35 PM
About time !
By 1942sparky (18), Bridgehampton on Jul 8, 16 6:38 PM
8k run & 3 mile walk, Agawam Park, Southampton Rotary Club fundraiser