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Mar 23, 2010 7:32 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

A push for library service in Springs

Mar 23, 2010 7:32 PM

As the East Hampton Library’s zoning battle over its proposed children’s wing continues, a growing number of people in Springs have begun to seriously examine how to improve library service for members of their own community, and the East Hampton Library has begun to respond.

Springs has a small, subscription-based volunteer library across the parking lot from Ashawagh Hall, but its limited hours and lack of modern library amenities such as computers and expanded multimedia services leave some residents wanting.

In early March, the East Hampton Library installed two wireless internet antennas in the Springs Library and Ashawagh Hall, which provide service in the buildings and on the grounds of the historic triangle, including the Springs Community Presbyterian Church.

The East Hampton Library is also planning several community programs in Ashawagh Hall, including a story time and craft session for toddlers this Thursday, March 25, at 11 a.m. and internet search and library search seminars for adults later this spring.

But from the Springs Library to the Springs School several blocks away, some residents believe a satellite library tied into the Suffolk County Library system is needed in a hamlet known as a haven for artists and writers.

The Springs Citizens Advisory Committee has formed a library subcommittee to examine a potential location and the potential costs of having a satellite library in Springs.

Dennis Fabiszak, the director of the East Hampton Library, is a member of that group, as is CAC chair Henrika Conner and Springs School Superintendent Michael Hartner.

Mr. Fabiszak said this week that he is working on an analysis of the costs associated with keeping the Springs Library open eight hours a day, six days a week, in order to allow East Hampton Library to send interlibrary loan books to Springs for pickup by residents.

The library, which is run by the Springs Historical Society and is staffed by volunteers, is currently open just two hours a day during the week.

Mr. Fabiszak said that the cost to hire staff for the Springs Library would be at least $40,000 and would require approval by voters who, in Springs, are already saddled with high taxes. Nonetheless, he added that while Springs taxpayers account for 20 percent of the East Hampton Library’s tax base, they use 35 percent of the library’s services.

Ms. Conner has long been a proponent of using the $234,000 that Springs provides to the East Hampton Library to build a satellite branch in Springs, but Mr. Fabiszak is skeptical that a separate library building in Springs could be acquired, maintained or staffed for such a small amount of money. The East Hampton Library’s budget is nearly $1.8 million.

“I’m there so whatever they can come up with, I can tell them what the real numbers are,” he said of his involvement in the Springs group.

Ms. Conner added that the current Springs Library has many drawbacks that keep it from being an ideal location for inclusion in the Suffolk County Library System.

“The building doesn’t conform to code—it’s a whole bunch of little things, like the door to the building needs to open out, not in. It’s really tiny,” she said. “The town has enough property. It could put up a building. As a municipality, they’re exempt from zoning. They could rent it to the library, but we would have to have a committee in Springs to raise the money and do the design. The key would be taxation, and whether it would be a main library or a branch of the East Hampton Library. As with the school situation, we feel like we’re not getting what we’re paying for.”

Mr. Hartner, the Springs superintendent, said that a library building could possibly be built on the school grounds, if the school is ever expanded.

“Maybe it would be a good idea to let the local community use the Springs School library as a satellite of the East Hampton Library. People could get interlibrary loans and could come in after school and use our collection, our computers. The East Hampton Library staff thought logistically it would be difficult to work out, and it never got off the ground,” he said.

“The idea of expanding the building here has been talked about for many years,” he added. “The board has talked about adding on a high school, cafetorium and kitchen. In the current economy, that seems like pie in sky thinking, but we’re not always going to have this situation economically.”

Mr. Hartner added that some other libraries on Long Island, including one in Sachem, have a public library that is also used as a school library.

“The public accesses through one door and the school accesses through another door,” he said.

Meanwhile, at the Springs Library, Heather Anderson, who serves as both the president of the historical society and the director of the library, which are both volunteer jobs, said that she’s very aware of what her library can and cannot provide.

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Are you kidding? The EH library is just fine, drive the 6 minutes.
By Happy in Springs (12), Springs on Mar 25, 10 8:59 AM
No - I don't think they are kidding. And kids under 17 can't just drive to EH. I'm curious if you would be opposed to this idea, Happy, if having a real annex in Springs wouldn't cost more than the $234,000 being sent to East Hamprton and would not increase taxes for Springs residents. Please don't come back with "it can't be done". My question is if it COULD BE done for that amount or less, would you support the proposal? I would.
By Board Watcher (521), East Hampton on Mar 25, 10 12:54 PM
Ridiculous! If your kids are under 17 you need to drive them to the library be it in spring or the village. It takes less than 5 minutes to get there. I live in northwest should we put a library there as well??
By razza5350 (1867), East Hampton on Mar 25, 10 2:09 PM
I am in favor of removing twomey and his cronies and getting a board that represents the town
By razza5350 (1867), East Hampton on Mar 25, 10 4:59 PM
Razza - last I knew Northwest is not sending $234,000 AS A TAX DISTRICT to the library, and a proposed annex could be within walking distance to the school, which may cut out the necessity of anyone driving into the village and back - especially in the summer. I do agree with you whole heartedly about getting a board that represents the interest of all residents and uses our tax dollars wisely . . . I would also note the library is going to ask for a tax increase shortly -- pretty nervy.
By Board Watcher (521), East Hampton on Mar 26, 10 12:31 PM
Make the Springs Library the Children's Library for East Hamtpon and solve two problems at one time.
By splashdown (21), sag harbor on Mar 26, 10 9:41 PM
1 member liked this comment
Why are we even debating this? Most people consider a library a point of civic pride, a place of learning and solace, and community activities. Springs is the most densely populated area of the town and its being crushed under by taxes with all community services a car drive away. Because of that density Springs contributes most and gets least then any other area of town. I have a radical thought. How about everyone else give a buck or two in taxes to Springs for its library. Consider it equalization. ...more
By facts man (148), east hampton on Mar 27, 10 7:48 AM
I think we are debating this because we are drowning in taxes and the last thing we need is for another municipal entity to add more. It's not like the EH library is lacking or that it is far away. There is no way for us to build a new library in Springs and not increase our taxes.
By Happy in Springs (12), Springs on Mar 27, 10 1:13 PM
Happy - it may not be necessary to actually BUIILD a new library in Springs, and therefore possible to provide an annex and services without increasing the taxes Spriongs already pays. I would encourage anyone who is interested to contact Henrika Conner, who is extrememly knowledgeable about the subject. The issue, i believe, is going to be this: Is the EH Library Board going to be willing to allow an annex in Springs with the money Springs residents ALREADY PAY? And if their answer is no - ...more
By Board Watcher (521), East Hampton on Mar 27, 10 1:38 PM
The truth is Springs pays a heavy tax. And yes I know except for school tax its the same as everyplace else in town. And yes it would raise taxes if a library was built but the people in Springs pay for a library in those taxes now and get nothing but a 6 mile drive for it. And a long drive to the dump and the town clerk and grocery store and police and it goes on. Its time we all recognize Springs as a community that needs more then a drive to anywhere. A library isnt a bad start.
By facts man (148), east hampton on Mar 27, 10 4:58 PM
I AGREE WITH FACTS MAN BUT, AGAIN, IT MAY NOT BE NECESSARY TO BUILD ANYTHING "NEW", AND IT MAY BE POSSIBLE TO SPEND ONLY WHAT IS ALREADY BEING PAID TO THE LIBRARY (OR LESS) TO HAVE AN ANNEX IN SPRINGS. I AM NOT IN FAVOR OF RAISING TAXES TO HAVE AN ANNEX IN SPRINGS BUT THINK THERE IS ANOTHER WAY TO GET THIS DONE IF THE CURRENT LIBRARY BOARD IS OPEN-MINDED ABOUT IT. MARK MY WORDS - THEY WON'T BE - BUT ULTIMATELY IT NOT BE BECAUSE OF MONEY, IT WILL BE BECAUSE THEY REALY ARE NOT INTERESTED IN SERVING ...more
By Board Watcher (521), East Hampton on Mar 28, 10 8:44 AM
The East Hampton Library is asking for a 6% tax increase which works out to be $4.51 Per Person. Feel free to visit the website explaining the East Hampton Library's budget. http://easthamptonlibrary.org/events/2011budget.html
$4.51... Just dont go buy your coffee from golden pear this week and you'll have enough :)
Its a library for gods sake, a LEARNING ENVIORNMENT.
By KnuddleHasi (1), East Hampton on Mar 30, 10 1:23 PM
Now Ive seen it all! Drive your kids 10 minutes down the road like our parents drove us. Spend some time with you children for gods sake!
By 27dan (2189), south hampton on Mar 30, 10 1:39 PM
It's not the cost of the tax increase when compared to a cup of coffee at the Golden Pear (that speaks volumes about your snobish attitude toword the residents of Springs. At Barns coffee is a buck.) But back to the point. Springs isn't being served. Because of the density in Springs they pay more for services, in aggrigate, and get the least and they have to travel the farthest. It's wrong.
By facts man (148), east hampton on Mar 30, 10 6:45 PM
Yes but everyone knows that Golden pear coffee is the best on the island....Your welcome Keith
By 27dan (2189), south hampton on Mar 30, 10 9:25 PM
27dan - if you truly are from Southampton, please but out! Not every parent has the time or opportunity to "drive their kids ten minutes down the road" after school or on the weekends while they are working two jobs and ninety hours a week to support them. How fortunate you are that your parents could spend extra time with you! I suppose your next comment will be "Then move to South Carolina" The issue is - and will remain - could Springs have an annex for the $234,000 it sends to the library ...more
By Board Watcher (521), East Hampton on Mar 31, 10 8:42 AM
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