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Tom Donlon

From left, Leg. Kara Hahn and Port Jefferson Mayor Margot Garant check out the selection of books in the new Little Free Library at Rocketship Park with a young reader. Photo by Kevin Redding

‘Today a reader, tomorrow a leader’ — Margaret Fuller

By Kevin Redding

Port Jefferson’s newest minilibrary has liftoff at Rocketship Park. In a partnership between the Port Jefferson Free Library and the village board, a Little Free Library was recently installed at the family-friendly park, where adults, teens and children alike can reach into the purple-painted wooden box to pick up or drop off a wide array of books. An official ribbon cutting was held last Thursday, Sept. 28.

The library, shaped like a tiny schoolhouse and currently stocked with children’s titles like “A Series of Unfortunate Events” and “Fantastic Mr. Fox,” was built from a kit and installed by Stonegate Landscape. It stands as Port Jefferson Free Library’s second book exchange program, with the other unveiled in front of the William Miller House on North Country Road in Miller Place last month.

From left, PJFL Director Tom Donlon, Leg. Kara Hahn, Mayor Margot Garant and Chris Graf, president, Stonegate Landscape in East Setauket. Photo by Kevin Redding

Director of Port Jefferson Free Library Tom Donlon led elected officials, including Mayor Margot Garant and Legislator Kara Hahn (D-Setauket), in a ribbon-cutting ceremony for what the mayor called a fantastic addition to the town.

“I’m so happy that we can provide some reading for our young children because I think reading a book goes a long way to helping educate them and bring them into the world,” Garant said with giant scissors in hand. “[It’ll make for] a true sense of community, and that’s what makes our village great.”

Donlon said when the park reopened in June, he and the library’s board members knew it was a perfect spot for book-sharing for all ages. “We have families that come here and while the kids are running around, mom or dad or the adult with them might want something to read,” he said. “Giving back to the community is our goal. And you never know what you’re going to find in there … and what adventures await.”

Rocketship Park is located in the Village of Port Jefferson on Maple Place between Mill Creek Road and Barnum Avenue, across from the tennis courts. For more information, call 631-473-0022.

Port Jefferson Free Library's children's section is bursting with books. Photo by Heidi Sutton

A library board president was unseated on Wednesday, in an election that will also fill the board for the first time in a while.

Two incumbents and two newcomers were gunning for three positions as Port Jefferson Free Library trustees this week, at a time when the library is working on plans to expand its facilities.

The library announced on its website that Trustee Susan Prechtl-Loper was re-elected to the board with 129 votes and newcomers Carl Siegel — who once served on the board in the late 1990s — and Joel Rosenthal were elected with 135 votes and 126 votes, respectively.

President Laura Hill Timpanaro lost her re-election bid, garnering only 77 votes, according to Tom Donlon, the interim library director.

Being the top two vote-getters, Siegel and Prechtl-Loper won five-year terms on the board, while third-place winner Rosenthal won a two-year stint that became available after former Trustee Harriet Martin vacated her spot on the board with the time still left on her term.

The library has recently acquired two properties adjacent to its corner building at Thompson and East Main streets in downtown Port Jefferson — a residential property on Thompson and a business on East Main — and is working on developing those properties to help satisfy the library’s parking and general needs.