Once again, beachgoers can grab a book to go when they visit West Meadow Beach or leave one behind for someone else to enjoy.
The Little Free Library was returned to the beach June 22 under hazy skies. Built by volunteers from the Emma S. Clark Memorial Library in 2016, the unit, located under the pavilion, was not available last year due to COVID-19.
Town of Brookhaven Councilman Jonathan Kornreich (D-Stony Brook) and environmental educator Nicole Pocchiare joined library employees for the first day of “take a book, leave a book” at the beach.
“The Little Free Library at West Meadow Beach is just a great opportunity to put books into peoples’ hands,” Kornreich said. “I love the community spirit embodied in those little structures and knowing that favorite books can be shared among neighbors in this way. By the way, when you’re there check out the bottom [of the little library case] — it was constructed from an old wooden library chair.”
The little library is maintained by teen volunteers. On the first day, beachgoers had a few shelves of books to choose from, including classics such as “The Hardy Boy” mysteries and “Harry Potter.”
To borrow a book from the little library, a card is not needed, according to Emma Clark officials. Also, readers do not need to return the books they borrow — if the books are returned, they go back to the unit and not Emma Clark library. Anyone who visits West Meadow Beach can take part in taking or giving a book.
The return of the little library to the beach after COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted is just one change library employees have witnessed.
“Now that most restrictions have been lifted, it’s wonderful to see more and more of our patrons coming in and using the library in person again,” said library director Ted Gutmann. “Since it opened in 1892, the library has seen good times and bad, but through it all it has remained a rock, and this past year and a half showed us that it’s as solid as ever. The return of our Little Free Library at West Meadow Beach is just one example of the growing sense of optimism and normalcy in our community, and highlights our commitment to the importance of books and reading.”
The Emma S. Clark Memorial Library is located at 120 Main St., Setauket.