Due to popular demand, the Little Free Library at West Meadow Beach hosted by Emma Clark Library was installed before the usual time so that beachgoers may enjoy books even longer. Its official opening was Thursday, May 9.

A literary summer tradition, the Little Free Library at the beach has been going strong since its inception in 2016. After close to ten years, the structure itself had taken quite a beating; therefore, library employees have built a replacement cabinet, once again constructed from recycled materials. You might recognize the sides of the structure, which were assembled from end caps of previous library shelving units. The legs of the cabinet were made from an old library chair. 

This “Take a Book or Leave a Book” concept inspires beachgoers to read, share, and reuse and encourages lifelong reading. It is located under the pavilion at the beach. Visitors are encouraged to grab a book and/or donate one. The books are all donated by the public and cater to all ages. This little library is possible thanks in part to many generous booklovers (books are not curated or owned by Emma Clark — don’t return your library books here!). Library teen volunteers “adopt” the library each week to ensure that it is neat, undamaged, and well-stocked. There is no need to live in Three Village to participate, as long as you are a visitor to the beach. The Town of Brookhaven and Environmental Educator Nicole Pocchiare have once again graciously given their consent for Emma Clark to host the Little Free Library at the beach. 

“I was happy to take part in the installation of the Little Free Library at West Meadow Beach again this year,” remarked Brookhaven Town Councilmember Jonathan Kornreich. “The dedication of Emma Clark Library to providing access to books and knowledge for the community, especially younger readers, is truly commendable. I see the positive impact this resource has on the residents of our town. Thank you to all involved for continuing this project for nine consecutive years.”

Little Free Libraries have become an international phenomenon since their inception in 2010, and Little Free Library was established as a nonprofit organization in 2012 in Wisconsin. According to the official Little Free Library website, there are over 150,000 registered book-sharing boxes across the United States and 120 countries worldwide. Emma Clark’s Little Free Library at West Meadow Beach is registered on and can be found on the site’s official map of all Little Free Libraries. 

Emma Clark Library is delighted to increase access to books for all ages and promote the exchange of books within the community, enhancing a day at the beloved West Meadow Beach.

By Tara Mae

Like separate entries in an anthology, different community organizations offer rich options for diverse cultural endeavors that form a cohesive collection of experiences to encourage understanding and appreciation.

In this spirit, Middle Country Public Library’s Centereach branch at 101 Eastwood Blvd. will host Museum Day on Thursday, May 16, from 4 to 7 p.m. The event is free and no registration is required. 

This year 30 local institutions are participating, including the Long Island Museum of American History, Art and Carriages (LIM) in Stony Brook, Three Village Historical Society (TVHS) in Setauket, Whaling Museum and Education Center of Cold Spring Harbor, Railroad Museum of Long Island in Riverhead, and Sweetbriar Nature Center in Smithtown.  

“The purpose [of Museum Day] is to provide a forum for community members to interact with representatives from local museums, historical societies, science and nature centers that participate to share information regarding their collections, programs, and exhibits in a festival type setting,” said Deborah Hempe, Middle Country Public Library’s Coordinator for Outreach Services and Museum Corner.

Held at the Museum Corner section of the library, which is part of the Youth Services Department, Museum Day is geared towards children and their families. Interactive elements across multiple mediums include science experiments, arts and crafts, live animal visits, and interaction with museum displays and artifacts. 

“For many children, looking and listening isn’t enough to activate the desire to learn. At events like this, children are presented with opportunities to also create, explore objects for themselves, and feel a connection that is personal,” said Lisa Unander, Director of Education at the Long Island Museum. “That feeling can be a catalyst to spark wonder and a lifelong love of art and history.”

The LIM will have a collage project inspired by the art of Reynold Ruffins, whose work is featuring in one of its current exhibits, Painting Partnership: Reynold and Joan Ruffins. The activity will concentrate on how using color and geometric shapes can create art. 

TVHS will set up a mini-exhibit and teach hands-on crafts, like making colonial whirligigs. Sweetbriar Nature Center will attend with two of its ambassador animals; traditionally, a resident owl and snake come as its guests. The Railroad Museum of Long Island will set up a train display. 

“I enjoy seeing the families who attend Museum Day and [engaging] with the children on hands-on learning activities we offer during the event,” said Education Coordinator of TVHS Lindsey Steward-Goldberg.

These offerings are made to energize minds and excite imaginations. 

“Museums can be places that introduce new ideas, unique perspectives and often challenge people’s ways of looking and thinking. Giving children a chance expand their way of thinking and encouragement to be creative in unexpected ways is often a goal of museum educators,” Unander said. 

For 35 years, Middle Country Public Library has organized the gathering in conjunction with International Museum Day, which falls on or around May 18. In 2023, more than 37,000 museums in about 158 countries and territories took part in the celebration.

Coordinated by the International Council of Museums, International Museum Day has a distinctive theme every year; 2024’s focus is Museums for Education and Research.

Although the motif changes, primary objectives of the official occasion and the library’s exhibition remain consistent: to alert people to the role museums play in the advancement of society and fortify the cooperation between neighboring operations.

“The public is able to learn about what these local organizations have to offer in a fun and interactive setting…Additionally, it provides a nice way for the organizations to do a bit of networking with each other,” Hempe said.  

A welcome chance to fortify interdisciplinary dynamics for the attending entities while engaging with a new audience and enchanting existing patrons, Museum Day is both a synopsis and preview of the organizations’ services. Many vendors return annually to maximize and solidify their exposure.

“Each year we meet many patrons who know our museum, and also many who have not ever visited the LIM. It is a wonderful way to showcase what the LIM has to offer and to extend a personal invitation to these families to visit for the first time or to come back and see what is new since their last visit,” Unander said. 

Through nurturing partnerships of longevity and consistency, Museum Day invigorates  lifelong interest in learning as well as sustained support for assemblages dedicated to historical preservation and intellectual enrichment. 

“I look forward to further cultivating those relationships, interacting with the staff and volunteers of participating organizations, and seeing the event attendees interacting with them as well…all are welcome,” Hempe said.

Participating organizations include:

American Airpower Museum

Bayard Cutting Arboretum

Bethel Hobbs Community Farm

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County Community Education

Fire Island Lighthouse Preservation Society

Fire Island National Seashore

Greater Port Jefferson Arts Council

Hallockville Museum Farm

Hofstra University Museum of Art

Long Island Explorium

Long Island Maritime Museum

Long Island Museum

Long Island Telephone Museum

LT Michael P. Murphy Navy SEAL Museum

Montauk Historical Society/Lighthouse

NY Marine Rescue Center

Old Westbury Gardens

Patchogue Arts Council

Railroad Museum of Long Island

Sagtikos Manor

Smithtown Historical Society

Southampton History Museum

South Fork Natural History Museum

Sweetbriar Nature Center

Three Village Historical Society

Town of Brookhaven Historian

Vanderbilt Museum and Planetarium

Whaling Museum & Education Center of Cold Spring Harbor

Water Mill Museum

To learn more about Museum Day, call 631-585-9393 or visit

Amber Gagliardi. Photo from MCPL

In its May 2024 issue, Library Journal showcases the 50 recipients of the 2024 Movers & Shakers awards—a vibrant cohort of Advocates, Community Builders, Change Agents, Innovators, Educators, and Ban Battlers selected from public libraries across the United States. 

Middle Country Public Library adult services librarian Amber Gagliardi is one of these 2024 Movers and Shakers. Amber received this honor for creating the MCPL Seed Library and the Local Eats program series with Cornell Cooperative Extension. Additionally, Amber expanded MCPL’s traditional gardening programs to include seed saving and gardening that helps local pollinators thrive.

As part of her efforts, Amber has encouraged other libraries in Suffolk County to join the seed library movement and librarians from throughout the county have reached out to her for help as they take on this challenge. In response to the growing need to support her fellow librarians, Amber co-founded the Long Island Seed Libraries Roundtable with Regina Dlugokencky, from Glen Cove Public Library, as a way to share knowledge between seed libraries. 

As Library Journal Executive Editor Lisa Peet said when announcing this year’s Movers and Shakers, “Our 2024 Movers represent a range of innovative, proactive, and supportive work; they are imaginative and kind and brave in a world that needs those qualities – and the results they produce – very much.” Middle Country Public Library could not be more thrilled for Amber Gagliardi and this new class of Movers and Shakers – they represent an inspiring sample of the work being done in and around libraries today.


Founded in 1876, Library Journal is a trade publication serving librarians and library workers. Sharing important news and perspectives that shape the field, surfacing best practices and innovations to invest in, identifying emerging leaders, guiding purchasing decisions, and acting as an advocate for librarians and libraries, Library Journal has been leading the field through the great changes and innovations required to keep libraries strong for nearly 150 years.

Middle Country Public Library is a dynamic center for life-long learning that provides access to a wide range of programs, services, technology, and resources to meet the needs of a diverse community.

Photo from TOB

Donation is part of Town’s “Greening Brookhaven” Program

On Monday, April 29, Town Councilman Neil Manzella (right) and Town Clerk Kevin LaValle (left) arranged for a truckload of free compost to be delivered to the Sachem Public Library’s “Inside Out” garden.

Located directly across from the library’s main entrance, the garden features an area for large performances and programs, as well as smaller quiet locations where residents can enjoy a children’s story hour, appreciate the beauty of nature, or take a leisurely stroll.

Also pictured are Sachem Public Library Director, Neely McCahey (second from left) and Sachem Public Library Facilities Manager, Anthony Bliss.

For more information about the Sachem Public Library and the “Inside Out Garden,” go to For more information about the Town’s Free Compost and Mulch giveaway, go to or call 631-451-TOWN (8696).

The humble shepherd Strephon (Henry Horstmann) has fallen in love with wealthy heiress Phyllis (Kara Vertucci), but she’s a ward in chancery and his chances of winning her seem slim in a scene from the Gilbert & Sullivan Light Opera Company of Long Island’s 2024 production of Gilbert & Sullivan’s Iolanthe. (Photo by NanMagna. Copyright 2024 The Gilbert & Sullivan Light Opera Company of Long Island.)

Mortals and immortals come face to face in the Gilbert & Sullivan Light Opera Company of Long Island’s 2024 production of Gilbert & Sullivan’s classic Iolanthe, coming to the South Huntington Public Library on Sunday, April 28, at 2 p.m.

Iolanthe—which debuted in 1883, with book and lyrics by W.S. Gilbert and music by Arthur Sullivan—is one of the most beloved of all the Gilbert & Sullivan operas, especially for its perfect balance of words and music, humor and drama, magic and political satire.  The current production is the Light Opera Company’s first since 2015.

2)    Phyllis (Kara Vertucci) is torn between competing proposals from Lord Mountararat (Kenneth Kopolovicz, left) and Lord Tolloller (Richard Risi) in a scene from the Gilbert & Sullivan Light Opera Company of Long Island’s 2024 production of Gilbert & Sullivan’s Iolanthe.  (Photo by NanMagna.  Copyright 2024 The Gilbert & Sullivan Light Opera Company of Long Island.)

The story is a whimsical one, involving a shepherd lad named Strephon, who has the unusual problem of being half fairy and half mortal … his mother was a fairy, his unknown father a mortal, and he’s a fairy down to the waist, though his legs are mortal.  When Strephon falls in love with Phyllis, a wealthy heiress who is a ward in chancery and sought after in marriage by half the House of Lords, it sets up a conflict between the wily Lord Chancellor and the cosmically powerful Fairy Queen, with the Queen’s band of fairies, the lovestruck Peers and Strephon and Phyllis themselves caught in between.

The dramatic side of the story involves Strephon’s mother, Iolanthe, who was sentenced to death for marrying a mortal, then reprieved at the last moment and banished from the fairy world.  Her greatest concern is for her son, and when the Lord Chancellor himself falls in love with Phyllis, Iolanthe faces a dilemma that may spell the end of her immortal life.

In the new production of the opera, Kara Vertucci of Lindenhurst plays Phyllis and Henry Horstmann of Lindenhurst plays Strephon, with Traci Weisberg Gang of Rego Park playing Iolanthe.  Chris Jurak of Brightwaters is the Lord Chancellor, with Kenneth Kopolovicz of East Islip and Richard Risi of Locust Valley playing, respectively, Lord Mountararat and Lord Tolloller.  Ben Salers of Northport plays Private Willis, with Delaney R. Page as the Fairy Queen.  Farah Chandu of Oakland Gardens plays Leila, Rebecca Rutkovsky of Manhasset play Celia and Hanna Roth of Upper Brookville plays Fleta.  The director is Gayden Wren, and the music directors are Isabella Eredita Johnson and David Bernard.

Iolanthe is everything at once,” said Wren, a longtime member of the company and also the author of an acclaimed book about Gilbert & Sullivan.  “It’s a goofy slapstick comedy, a whimsical fantasy, a political satire and a drama of Shakespearean proportions, and it swings from one to another so gracefully that it seems perfectly natural.”

The score for Iolanthe is arguably Sullivan’s greatest, ranging from the jaw-breaking patter of the Lord Chancellor’s famous “Nightmare Song” to the romantic duet “None Shall Part Us,” from the swaggering “March of the Peers” to the keen-edged “When Britain Really Ruled the Waves,” offering literally something for everyone.

“It’s really Gilbert & Sullivan at their best,” concluded Wren, who admitted that it’s his personal favorite of the operas.  “The real magic isn’t the invisible fairies or the hypnotic spell they cast, it’s Gilbert, Sullivan and the way that they seem to come together so closely that it’s hard to tell where one begins and the other leaves off.  It’s one of the greatest works of musical theater ever written.”

Iolanthe will be presented on Sunday, April 28, at 2 p.m. at the South Huntington Public Library, 145 Pigeon Hill Road in Huntington Station.  Admission is free.  For further information, call (631) 549-4411 or visit

1)    The humble shepherd Strephon (Henry Horstmann) has fallen in love with wealthy heiress Phyllis (Kara Vertucci), but she’s a ward in chancery and his chances of winning her seem slim in a scene from the Gilbert & Sullivan Light Opera Company of Long Island’s 2024 production of Gilbert & Sullivan’s Iolanthe.  (Photo by NanMagna.  Copyright 2024 The Gilbert & Sullivan Light Opera Company of Long Island.)

2)    Phyllis (Kara Vertucci) is torn between competing proposals from Lord Mountararat (Kenneth Kopolovicz, left) and Lord Tolloller (Richard Risi) in a scene from the Gilbert & Sullivan Light Opera Company of Long Island’s 2024 production of Gilbert & Sullivan’s Iolanthe.  (Photo by NanMagna.  Copyright 2024 The Gilbert & Sullivan Light Opera Company of Long Island.)

3)    The Fairy Queen (Delaney R. Page) finds herself irresistibly drawn to the phlegmatic sentry Private Willis (Ben Salers) in a scene from the Gilbert & Sullivan Light Opera Company of Long Island’s 2024 production of Gilbert & Sullivan’s Iolanthe.  (Photo by NanMagna.  Copyright 2024 The Gilbert & Sullivan Light Opera Company of Long Island.)


North Shore Public Library. File photo

By Ernestine Franco

The North Shore Library held its annual budget and trustee election on Tuesday, April 9, from 9:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. 

The vote was held in one of the rooms of the library, which is located next to the Shoreham-Wading River High School.

The total budget was $3,936,406, with revenues of $231,645, which leaves $3,704,761 to be funded by taxation. This is a $96,745 increase over last year’s budget. The budget passed with 168 in favor and 52 against. There was only one trustee position to fill, with two people running. Charlotte Karpf-Fritts garnered 112 votes and Andrew Breslin with 92 votes.

When asked why she had run, Karpf-Fritts said she wanted “to help make the library a great place for people to visit.” In addition, she wanted to see someone from Sound Beach represented on the board. Her new position will start in July.

2014 — 2024: This year marks a decade of celebrating the creative writing and artistic talent from junior high and high school students of the Three Village community. 

Emma Clark Library is overjoyed to reach this significant milestone. Those in grades 7 to 12, who reside in the Three Village Central School District, created an original picture book for children, in hopes of winning a substantial monetary prize and recognition. Their hard work paid off. Library board members & staff, the family of the late Helen Stein Shack, local elected officials, representatives from the Three Village Central School District, and guests all gathered on Monday, April 8 to honor the winners of the 10th annual Helen Stein Shack Picture Book Award:

First Prize in the Grades 7 to  9 category was awarded to Elizabeth Wright, a 9th grader at Gelinas Junior High School, for her children’s book titled Danny’s Birthday while Julia Hou, a 10th grader at Ward Melville High School, captured first prize in the Grades 10 to 12 category for her book Billy the Unusual Giraffe.

Juni Een, a homeschooled 8th grader, won second prize for her children’s book Our Trip to Estonia in the Grades 7 to 9 category and Sleepless Saturday, authored by Claire Sloniewsky and illustrated by Justine Bushman, both 11th graders at Ward Melville High School, snagged second prize in the Grades 10 to 12 category.

Library Director Ted Gutmann, along with the family of the late Helen Stein Shack, presented the winners’ books — bound and added to the Library’s Local Focus Collection — along with $400 checks to the first prize winners and $100 checks for the second prize winners.

Councilmember Jonathan Kornreich and a staff member from Assemblyman Ed Flood’s office were in attendance, and they presented certificates to the winners. The winners also received certificates from New York State Senator Anthony Palumbo.

Mr. Gutmann remarked that he thought the illustrations were particularly impressive this year.  One of Ms. Stein Shack’s daughters, Karen Shack Reid, reflected on the past ten years and recalled many of the wonderful winning entries throughout the decade. She also emphasized that it’s not just about the creativity, but also about the confidence that this contest builds and how important that confidence was to her mother. 

Library Board President Christopher Fletcher and Treasurer David Douglas were there to congratulate the winners.  President of the Three Village Central School District Board of Education Susan Megroz Rosenzweig, Superintendent Kevin Scanlon, Gelinas Junior High School Principal Corinne Keane, Ward Melville High School Assistant Principal Stacey Zeidman, Three Village Art Department Chairperson Jennifer Trettner, Gelinas Junior High English Department Chairperson Joanna Cadolino, and the Ward Melville High School Librarian April Hatcher were all in attendance.

Guests enjoyed sweets by The Bite Size Bake Shop, a local Three Village-owned business that has been donating desserts to the ceremony for the past ten years 

Eleven years ago, the children of the late Mrs. Shack approached the Library with the idea of establishing an endowment as a tribute to their mother, a teacher and lover of libraries, especially Emma Clark Library. After meeting with staff and discussing possibilities, the idea for this cherished contest was born. Their gift covers the cost of the awards and passes along Ms. Shack’s joy of reading and lifelong learning to future generations. 

The Helen Stein Shack Book Contest calls for teens in grades 7 through 12 who live in the Three Village Central School District to create a children’s picture book.  Each entry could be the work of a single author/illustrator or a collaborative effort between an author and an illustrator. The contest was divided into two grade categories, grades 7 through 9 and grades 10 through 12, with one First Prize Winner and one Second Prize Winner selected from each group.  

In speaking to the family of the late Ms. Stein Shack, Councilmember Kornreich remarked, “I just want to thank you for this beautiful living gift that you’ve created for this community in honor of your mother. It really is such a beautiful opportunity for these kids to develop and shine and for us all to share. Thank you very, very much for the palpable love that you brought to this endeavor.”

“Here’s to the next ten years,” proclaimed Ms. Shack Reid.

Emma S. Clark Memorial Library

By Serena Carpino

Recently, Emma S. Clark Memorial Library in Setauket has made many changes. From their new café to their outdoor patio, the library has undergone several renovations in the past few years. Combined with the creation of new programs, these additions reflect efforts to incorporate modern technology into Emma Clark. 

The library originally decided to add the outdoor patio space after the pandemic. The patio, which is fully wheelchair accessible, has added 800 square feet for patrons to sit and enjoy reading books in nice weather. The architect in charge was John Cunniffe, a Stony Brook resident who has done many projects for the Three Village Historical Society, Frank Melville Memorial Park, The Long Island Museums, and various other local organizations.

In addition to the outdoor patio, the library also installed a new café, which is run by Level Up Kitchen. The kitchen is owned and operated by Chelsea Gomez, a local chef. In her cooking, Gomez prioritizes sustainability, using high quality ingredients, and working with Long Island farmers. 

According to Lisa DeVerna, a spokesperson from Emma Clark, the café has been successful so far. “We’ve been very pleased with how the café is going so far. We’ve seen people of all ages, from senior citizens to teens, utilizing the café, an extended service of the library.”

Other changes include adding a Main Reading Room, where the café is located. This section is now separated by glass doors to allow more social activities in the front, while the back is reserved for reading and quiet activities. 

The library is also planning on adding an environmentally friendly HVAC unit in the near future. It will be energy efficient and not use fossil fuels.

Aside from construction, Emma Clark has also continued to add new programs and projects for visitors. This March, the library is offering Seed Library and Seed Swap Box to celebrate the first day of spring. This addition goes along with the gardening classes, which have been very popular both in-person and online. 

The library is also working to expand programming opportunities for teens. “Since the establishment of Teen Services as a new and separate department just last year, programming has more than doubled,” DeVerna said. “We hope to continue to grow this department.” 

To do this, the library plans on providing more programming opportunities both in and outside of the library. For example, they have been offering more technology classes, including a course on advanced Excel, the first non-beginner course at Emma Clark. Also, they have placed a greater emphasis on the Cricut machine. While it may seem that most of the improvements have been for teens and adults, the children’s library is continuing to see changes as well. “In our Children’s Library, we have added new imaginative play toys, and looking ahead, we’re hoping to continue rearranging the flow and usage of that area to make it a more welcoming space,” DeVerna explained.

The recent years have seen many technological updates for Emma Clark. While some may worry that such additions can distort the original intent of a library, DeVerna clarified the benefits of these changes. “As the world has evolved, libraries have evolved with it.” She explained that the library offers printed, eBooks, and audiobooks in order to cater to all of their patrons’ needs. In addition, they supply both movies and music and have databases for people to “learn anything from history to finance to genealogy to how to fix your car.”

“We recognize that technology now plays a large part in obtaining information, so we help people learn how to use their computers and mobile devices through computer classes, tech clinics [where adults learn from teen volunteers], and even one-on-one appointments with a tech-savvy librarian,” DeVerna said. “We have classes and events for all ages. The library connects people and is a community and information center, both in our building and beyond its walls.”

METRO photo

Comsewogue Public Library, 170 Terryville Road, Port Jefferson Station invites the community to a presentation titled Heart Healthy Diet on Thursday, Feb. 15 from 7 to 8 p.m. Join cardiologist Jyoti Ganguly, MD to learn the most recent recommendations for a healthy diet to lower your risk of heart disease. Open to all. Call 631-928-1212 or visit to register.

Middle Country Public Library, 575 Middle Country Road, Selden will host a Venues for Volunteering Fair on Thursday, Feb. 8 from 6 to 8 p.m. Come find out what volunteer opportunities are available in our area and how you can help!

The following organizations are scheduled to be at the event: All American Assisted Living – Coram, Atlantic Marine Conservation Society, Bethel Hobbs Community Farm, Big Brothers, Big Sisters, EAC Chance to Advance, Family Service League Long Term Care Ombudsman Program, Federation of Organizations/Senior Companion Program, Fire Island Light House Preservation Society, Friends of the Middle Country Public Library, Girl Scouts of Suffolk County, Great Strides LI, Kids Need More, Legal Hand, Literacy Suffolk, Inc., Long Island State Veterans Home at Stony Brook, Mercy Haven Inc., Middle Country Public Library, NY Blood Center, Rebuilding Together Long Island, Save-A-Pet Animal Rescue, Selden Fire Department, Suffolk County Police Explorers, Town of Brookhaven Dept. of Environmental Education and the Three Village Historical Society.

No registration required. For more information, call 631-585-9393.