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Emma Clark

Emma S. Clark Memorial Library. File photo by Michael Ruiz

By Rita J. Egan

Three Village’s approval was overwhelming.

The school district voted in favor of the Emma S. Clark Memorial Library’s $5,235,398 budget for 2018, with 503 “yes” votes to 75 “no.”

With the budget $36,037 more than 2017, the tax levy will increase by 0.69 percent.

“Thank you to the Three Village community for your overwhelming support of Emma S. Clark Memorial Library,” President of the library board of trustees Linda Josephs said. “The library board and staff will continue to strive to provide the highest quality library services at the lowest possible cost to taxpayers.”

Library Director Ted Gutmann said future projects include renovation of the lower level public restrooms, and the possibility of a small café that would serve coffee and light snacks. The proposed refreshment area would include seating.

He said the library staff also looks forward to the continuation of classes and one-on-one help with technology. Among other services Emma Clark provides are volunteer opportunities for teens, resources for parents, and programs for infants, toddlers and school-aged children, including a summer reading program that brings in thousands of kids each year. Every other week a bus is available for senior residents who cannot drive, providing them with transportation to the library to socialize and participate in programs. The library’s Homebound Service delivers books and other materials to those who are unable to visit the library.

“I want to thank everyone who voted, either in person or through absentee ballots,” Gutmann said. “The library is 125 years old; its ongoing success is a testament to the residents who have treasured their library over these many years. It is a team effort between the administration, staff, and most importantly, the patrons of the Emma Clark Library. As I’ve said before, the library is still a thriving and vibrant place. As times have changed, the library has changed, too, but one thing that hasn’t changed is the great relationship we have with our community.”

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Emma S. Clark Memorial Library. File photo by Michael Ruiz

Setauket’s own Emma S. Clark Memorial Library is making strides to save money just in time for budget season.

The library announced this week it would be migrating its catalog system to be part of the Partnership of Automated Libraries in Suffolk, which runs library services with 49 other libraries across the county. The shared product, according to library Director Ted Gutmann, should increase efficiency and ease of use for both patrons and library employees while also saving money.

“The cost of ongoing maintenance is going to be shared across 50 libraries,” he said. “It makes a lot of sense for us to join this network.”

A spokeswoman for the library said patrons will now be able to create their own usernames rather than remembering long library card barcode numbers and will also have the option to pay fines online and receive text alerts.

“It will be much faster to borrow items from other Suffolk County libraries,” the spokeswoman said in a statement. “In just one click, the request is automatically put into other libraries, without the patron having to specifically request an interlibrary loan. The item is then delivered to Emma Clark Library for pickup or can be delivered to other Suffolk libraries as well.”

The cost-saving move comes just in time for the Sept. 16 budget vote at the library, which projected a 0.30 percent change in the tax levy from $5,177,684 last year to $5,192,968 this year. The proposed 2016 library budget saw an increase in employee salary expenditures and material and program expenditures, but a slight decline in costs related to mandated benefits, building and operations funding and estimated income.

Voting on the 2016 library budget is scheduled for Sept. 16 at the library from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. in the periodical room.

The new system is also more cost effective, both up front and ongoing, the spokeswoman said. The move to PALS should result in an annual 61 percent savings for the library catalog operation costs and will help the library in complying with the New York State tax freeze program. Under the tax freeze program, New York State requires shared services in order to reduce costs and save money — under the tax relief program, if the library complies with the tax cap and shows cost savings through shared resources, qualifying homeowners are reimbursed for increases in their local property taxes on their primary residences.

It is also important to note that during this migration, from Sept. 16 to Nov. 2, patrons will not be able to use the online catalog to request interlibrary loans. They will, however, be able to pick up books themselves at other libraries or they may contact our reference librarians who can place requests on the patron’s behalf. Starting in early November, when the new system is live online, interlibrary loan requests will resume. The library appreciates the understanding of the community — this small inconvenience while the catalog is under transition will lead to more improved services by November.

File photo by Michael Ruiz

Emma Clark Library will keep its summer tradition alive as it hosts the third annual food drive for the entire month of July. Run by the Teen Services Department, volunteers will be collecting toiletries and nonperishable food items to be donated to various food pantries throughout the community.

The teens will help publicize the drive, sort the food and deliver it to the food pantries, a spokeswoman for the library said in an emailed statement.

Donations are very much appreciated, and anyone is welcome to bring in a contribution. Some suggestions for food items include cereal, peanut butter, jelly, canned fruits and vegetables, rice, beans, tuna fish, juice, pasta and pasta sauce.

The food pantries can also use diapers, wipes, toothbrushes, toothpaste, shaving cream, disposable razors, shampoo and conditioner.

Donation boxes will be located at the library, in the lobby to the left of the circulation desk, through July 31.

Last year, a total of 135 bags of food were collected, and the library said its teens hope to surpass that number this year with even more bags.

If you have any questions about the food drive or would like to become a teen volunteer, you may contact Nanette Feder, teen services librarian, at (631) 941-4080 ext. 116 or email her at teens@emmaclark.org.

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File photo by Michael Ruiz

By Jenni Culkin

Adolescents from the Three Village Central School District were asked to use their creative talents to write or illustrate a children’s book to the Emma S. Clark Memorial Library and the results are in.

They launched the first-ever Helen Stein Shack Book Award to showcase the young writing and artistic talent, calling for teens in the Three Village school district to create a children’s picture book.

In the library-sponsored contest category for grades seven through nine, Leah Cussen won the grand prize with her book, “Lenny the Lion.” The book told the tale of a lonely lion who leaves his family in search of a new one because he feels like he doesn’t belong.

In the end, the lion learns that his family loves him the way he is, despite any differences they might have. Anny Weisenberg and her book, “Red Boots for Rainy Days” as well as Samuel Kim and his book, “Freddy the Fish and the First Day of School” both received honorable mentions.

For grades 10 through 12, Wendy Wahlert and won the grand prize with her book, “Lilabet.” In her book, a little girl who lives in a black and white world has a love for colors. She embraces what makes her unique and shares her color with everyone.

Kiera Alventosa and her book, “Heal Our Mother Earth” as well as Sarah and Karen Jiang and their book, “Pengy Goes on an Adventure” both received honorable mentions.

“We are so incredibly impressed with the high caliber of some of the entries — the vibrant colors of the artwork and the way they wrote with young children in mind,” said Lisa DeVerna of the library. “The two grand prize winners even had wonderful lessons built into their stories.”

The winners will be recognized at a reception on April 26 at 2 p.m. at the library. A $500 scholarship will be awarded to both of the grand prize winners.

All of the winners, including the honorable mention winners, will have their books bound and made into an e-book.

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