Two spots for trustee on at the Port Jefferson Free Library are coming up for vote in January and five community members are asking library cardholders for their vote.
While current library trustee Christian Neubert is running again for the same spot, trustee Lisa Ballou has decided not to run again for her seat.
Those who wish to vote for the trustees must be a Port Jefferson Village resident and be a cardholder “in good standing,” meaning voters cannot have more than $5 outstanding on their library cards. The vote will be held 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Jan. 9, 2019, at the library.
As the incumbent, Christian Neubert said he feels he has become intimate with the qualities and the issues of the library over his six-year tenure.
“It’s important to not lose sight of the day-to-day processes we have going on here,” Neubert said.
Neubert said the library is missing out on the demographics of fourth- or fifth-graders as well as young professionals. He said if he were elected, he would work toward reaching out to those groups in conjunction with the library and is thinking of integrating the teen center with the main library building.
Dr. Lynn Hallarman, the director of Palliative Medicine Services at Stony Brook University Hospital said she is throwing her hat into the ring based on her unique background looking strategically at programs and institutions, as well as with urban planning, development and programming. Hallarman said the biggest changes will come to the library through urbanization, traffic, an aging population and higher taxes.
“The board has to be extremely forward thinking and out of the box in thinking about how a small-town library will survive,” she said.
Nancy Loddigs has been a resident of Port Jefferson for more than 30 years and boasts of her experience working in the libraries at Comsewogue School District and both Port Jefferson and Comsewogue public libraries.
The longtime Port Jeff resident said the library has already done a good job in its programming, with various adult programs being the most popular. She said she hopes those programs continue, but that the library will keep up with changing technology in order to stay current.
“I am interested in seeing how the library would be physically changed by incorporating all of these things,” Loddigs said.
Wailin Ng, an engineer at Brookhaven National Laboratory, has been a Port Jefferson resident for a year, but she has been a patron of the library for close to a decade before that.
Ng said there is potential for growth in the number of educational programs the library provides,
especially those that could get kids interested in STEM.
“We can increase the focus on introducing children to science,” Ng said. “We are in a very diverse community, and we have many people from other districts coming here. We need to assess where our needs are for educational programs.”
Joseph Orofino is a lifelong Port Jefferson resident with two kids currently in the Port Jeff school district. As a person who has worked in finance for 25 years, in both an upper management and on a voluntary basis with several local community organizations, he said he would work to make sure the library stays on top of its finances.
“My contribution could be making sure the library stays fiscally solvent,” he said.
When it comes to renovating the library’s currently owned properties, Orofino said the board should look at it from a long-term point of view.
“We need to weigh in on the existing plans and look at how financially they fit into the library on a long-term basis,” Orofino said.