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Emma Clark Library

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 www.littlefreelibrary.org 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.

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.

Health Outreach Bus

Emma Clark Library, 120 Main St., Setauket welcomes the Catholic Health Mobile Outreach Bus to its parking lot on Thursday, Jan. 18 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (Last screening begins at 1:45 p.m.) Registered nurses will provide blood pressure, cholesterol, body mass index, and glucose screenings, along with patient education and referrals as needed. They will also offer free flu vaccinations. No appointments are necessary, there are no fees, and insurance is not required. Questions? Email [email protected] or call 631-941-4080.

METRO photo

Overwhelmed by the thought of having to pick the best preschool for your child? Emma Clark Library’s Preschool Fair is back on Saturday, Jan. 13 from 2 to 4 p.m.  This is a great opportunity to speak informally with many local preschools all in one room, ask questions, and help narrow down your search and choose which schools you’d like to tour.  

Meet representatives from  Alternatives for Children, Harbor Country Day School, Kiddie Academy of East Setauket, Montessori School at Old Field, North Shore Montessori School, Our Savior Preschool, Playgroups School, Saints Philip and James School, Setauket Presbyterian Preschool, Smithtown Nursery School and Tiny Hearts Childcare Center in St. James. 

This event has no registration and is open to the public. Emma Clark Library is located at 120 Main St., Setauket For more information, email [email protected] or call 631-941-4080 ext. 123.

Photo by Abigail Choi/ Councilmember Kornreich's office

The delicious aroma of fresh coffee filled the air as Emma S. Clark Memorial Library in Setauket held a ribbon cutting for its new Level Up Kitchen Library Café on Jan. 7. 

Library board members and staff, Level Up Kitchen Library Café owner Chelsea Gomez, Town of Brookhaven Councilmember Jonathan Kornreich, architect John Cunniffe, and Thomas Pirraglia of Urban Village Contracting, Inc., were all in attendance.

Library Director Ted Gutmann thanked everyone involved in the entire three-part construction project.”We stayed open the whole time [during construction]. We didn’t have to close…[the cafe] has been open now a few weeks, and it’s been very popular with our patrons.” 

“Seeing the library evolve and meeting the changing needs of the community is very heartening, and this place continues to be very relevant and continues to be the absolute heart of this area,” said Councilmember Kornreich.

Library patrons will be able to grab a quick snack on-the-go, or stay for a bite to eat and enjoy a more leisurely experience at the library in the new, indoor seating area adjacent to the historic 1892 reading room. Café customers will also have access to the outdoor seating terrace, which opened in August 2022 and looks out over the library’s beautifully landscaped grounds and the historic Setauket Village Green.

The extensive menu features soup of the day, wraps, grilled cheese, frittatas, bagels, croissants, and rolls as well as scones, cookies, brownies and cakes. Drinks include hot and iced coffee, hot and iced tea, hot cocoa and more with many nut-free, gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan options.

Pictured at the ribbon cutting, from left, are Joan Kahnhauser (Head Adult Services Librarian), Councilmember Jonathan Kornreich, Chelsea Gomez (Level Up Kitchen Library Café owner), Angeline Yeo-Judex (Library Board Member), Ted Gutmann (Library Director), Anthony M. Parlatore (Library Board Member), Suzanne Shane (Library Board Secretary), Linda Josephs (Library Board Member), John Cunniffe (Architect), Linda Pirraglia, Thomas Pirraglia (Urban Village Contracting), and Lisa DeVerna (Library Marketing & Communications Manager).

Operating hours for the café are Mondays  to  Fridays from 9:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.; Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. For more information, please call 631-941-4080 or visit www.emmaclark.org/cafe/.

METRO photo

Emma Clark Library, 120 Main St., Setauket hosts a Shed the Meds event on Wednesday, Dec. 6 from noon to 4 p.m. Members of the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office will be on hand in the historic section of the library to properly dispose of unused medications. Proper disposal is essential to protect the environment and ensure that old drugs don’t end up in the wrong hands. There is no registration required and all are welcome.

Please note: The Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office cannot accept any liquids, needles, creams, or ointments of any kind. They are only accepting unused or expired medications from individuals (not large quantities from a doctor’s office or health care facility).

Questions? Call 631-941-4080.

Winners of the 2023 Helen Stein Shack contest display their picture books. Photo courtesy Emma S. Clark Library

This coming year marks the 10th annual Helen Stein Shack Picture Book Contest for junior high and high school students, hosted by Emma S. Clark Memorial Library in Setauket.

This contest, which asks participants to create an original picture book for children, is now open to those in grades 7–12 who reside in the Three Village Central School District. The winning teens receive a significant monetary award, are honored at a distinguished ceremony and have their original books added to the Library’s Local Focus Collection.

Ten years ago, the family of the late Helen Stein Shack came to the library with an endowment from their mother, who had always loved Emma Clark and often brought her children and grandchildren there, as it was one of her favorite places. The four siblings — Sherry Cleary, Barbara Kelly, Karen Shack Reid and Edward Taylor — met with library staff and shared fond memories of their mother’s enthusiasm for the library. This was the impetus for launching the contest in Shack’s memory and using the endowment for prize money each year.

Students in grades 7–12 who live in the Three Village district may enter the contest by creating a children’s picture book. This is an opportunity for teens to showcase their creativity through words and art and make something for the children in the community. Participants may submit their entry as an individual or collaborate with a friend. Winners are announced in March, and there is a ceremony in April — the birth month of Shack — honoring the winners and their talents. In addition to library trustees and staff, in the past, teachers and top school district administrators, as well as representatives and elected officials from New York State, Suffolk County and Town of Brookhaven have all been in attendance at the event.

Last year’s grand prize winners were Julia Hou (Grades 7–9 category) and Celia Gordon (Grades 10–12 category). The public may view previous year’s winning entries at emmaclark.org/picturebookaward.

Contest details

The contest is 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. Each entry can be the work of a single author/illustrator or can be a joint effort between an author and an illustrator. The picture book entries must be their own original work (both artwork and text).

How to enter

Those in grades 7–12 who reside in the Three Village Central School District may obtain an Official Entry Form in person in the library’s lobby or at emmaclark.org/picturebookaward starting Oct. 17. Included with the form are the contest procedures and guidelines. Entrants should bring their completed picture book, along with a completed Official Entry Form, to the Children’s Department by the contest deadline, Jan. 31, 2024.

Prizes/winner information

Each of the firs-prize award recipients will receive $400, and each of the second-prize award recipients will receive $100 (in the event that a winning entry is a collaboration, the prize will be shared). Winning entries are bound, made into a hardcover book and added to the library’s shelves. Additional copies of the winning books will also be available for purchase by family and friends. Winners and their families will be invited to an awards ceremony on Monday, April 8, 2024. All entrants will receive a Certificate of Participation.

Please note: A maximum of one entry will be accepted per individual. Entries may be a collaboration of no more than one author and one artist/illustrator. Entrants must live within the Three Village Central School District. Emma Clark employees, trustees and members of their households are not eligible to enter. For a complete listing of the rules, visit emmaclark.org/picturebookaward.

Emma S. Clark Memorial Library, 120 Main St., Setauket will host a meeting of the Travel Presentation Club tonight, Tuesday, September 19 in the community room at 7 p.m. Janice and Jim Rohlf will make a presentation entitled “Adventures at Ningaloo Riff and the Kimberley, Western Australia.”

Western Australia’s Ningaloo Reef offers spectacular opportunities for viewing whale sharks. Whale sharks are as large as whales, but they are sharks. Like all sharks, their skeletons are made up of cartilages which help them swim fast and use less energy. Whale sharks are enormous but gentle fish found in tropical oceans. They can pose a risk to humans by accidentally swatting us with their tail if we swim too close. Long-time Travel club member Jim Rohlf succeeded in swimming with whale sharks, as you will see during the presentation. This particular adventure had been on his bucket list for some time.

Jim Rohlf and his wife Janice Rohlf are both Stony Brook University retirees. Jim was a Professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolution from 1969 until his retirement. The Rohlf Medal in Geometric Morphometrics honors his work in the field. Janice headed the Governmental Relations office from 1988 until 2009. They are world travelers, having visited all 7 continents!

Please invite your friends, family and all to experience this thrilling expedition. Free and open to all.

Emma Clark Memorial Library in Setauket hosted its annual Star Wars Day for families on Aug. 12. Over 240 people attended the event and many wore their best intergalactic attire. Darth Vadar and a Stormtrooper were on hand to greet guests and take pictures. Assisted by teen volunteers, children played Star Wars-themed carnival games and made out of this world crafts to take home. 

By Samantha Rutt

Blankets, lawn chairs and picnics dressed the front lawn of Emma S. Clark Memorial Library in Setauket on Friday evening, Aug. 4, as the Three Village community staple held a free concert, featuring Grand Folk Railroad, a 1960s-’70s inspired band. 

Despite gloomy skies, the event brought families, couples, pets and passersby together. Children danced as fans clapped and sang along. 

GFR’s lead guitarist, Frank Doris, enjoyed performing for the audience saying, “When you see someone singing along, it’s a great feeling for all of us.”

The library has been hosting summer concert events for over three decades, showcasing a variety of genres such as folk, blues, rock and jazz.

“Having community events like these are important for library patrons to see that we can create a fun and relaxing environment where the community can join together on a beautiful lawn in the summer,” said Carolyn Emerson, event organizer and reference librarian at Emma Clark Library.

Having been together for nearly 14 years, GFR has played at venues across Long Island’s North Shore, including the Port Jefferson Village Center and Stony Brook’s Long Island Music and Entertainment Hall of Fame. In 2010 the band released its first CD, “True North,” a collection of forgotten favorites.

“The event was great — great turnouts, and such an incredible building,” lead singer Susan Schwartz-Christian said. She was joined by her husband, Mike Christian, who performs as the band’s drummer. The fourth band member, Gary Shoenberger, played the keyboards.

On the cool summer evening, GFR played songs such as “Summer Breeze” by Seals & Crofts. The group also played songs by another local band, Alive ‘N Kickin’. 

People gathered from all over the Long Island for the free event. “I love the bands the library hosts, they always deliver,” said Gale Putt, an East Setauket resident. 

Throughout the show, Schwartz-Christian exchanged her guitar for a banjo and demonstrated her musicianship with a perfectly pitched flute solo.

Between songs and switching instruments, bandmates cracked jokes and offered cheerful conversation to the audience. As the concert came to a close, all band members showcased their vocals together, and drummer Christian traded his sticks for an electric guitar.

Emma Clark, standing as Suffolk County’s oldest public library, has been serving the Three Village community since 1892. Comprising over 200,000 books, periodicals, audio, video and software materials, the library’s collection continues to expand, finding new ways to serve the community. 

The library has recently undergone its latest construction project, including an outdoor terrace and a cafe, adding nearly 800 square feet to the historic building. 

“The summer evening concerts have brought together more than 200 community members [per concert] each year,” Emerson said, adding that she hopes to continue holding summer concerts in the future.