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Smithtown Library

Join the Four Harbors Audubon Society for a free screening of The National Parks: America’s Best Idea – Ken Burns – EPISODE TWO: 1890 –1915: The Last Refuge (2009) at the Smithtown Library, 1 North Country Road, Smithtown on Friday, Jan. 7 at 6:30 p.m.

Part of the series, The National Parks: Americas Best Idea, this episode tells how, by the end of the 19th century, industrialization had left many Americans worried about whether the country would have any pristine land left. Poachers in the parks were rampant, and visitors were littering or carving their names in wilderness sites. Congress had yet to establish judicial authority or set aside appropriations for protection of the parks.

This sparked a conservation movement by organizations such as the Sierra Club, led by John Muir; the Audubon Society, led by George Bird Grinnell; and the Boone and Crockett Club, led by Theodore Roosevelt. Learn about how America and Americans protected their last national open spaces. Age appropriate from those in middle school to retirees! For the budding environmentalist, and also those curious about how nature and the natural world works. All are welcome, as are questions and comments.

The screening is free and open to all but reservations required. Call Joy Cirigliano at 631-766-3075 or call the Smithtown Library at 631-360-2480, ext. 232, to reserve seating.

By Melissa Arnold

The vast majority of artists will say they are influenced by the work of someone else. Whether it’s a contemporary from their own time or someone from long ago, artists blossom from appreciating and studying others.

This sentiment is held dear by members of the Smithtown Artists Group (SAG), a small network of local artists who gather for creativity and camaraderie alike.

Their friendship began at the main branch of the Smithtown Library, where artists of all backgrounds and skill levels have gathered on Tuesday afternoons to paint, some of them for decades.

“When my kids were in school I ran a lot of arts and crafts programs, and then in their later teens I took a watercolor class,” said Judy Contrino of Stony Brook, who began painting at the library 20 years ago. “Joining the library group was a wonderful experience because there were so many different mediums being used by the people there, and some of them were quite accomplished. I was a self-taught artist. And it’s wonderful to have newcomers improve and show them how they’ve grown. No one is asking you to be Rembrandt — it’s just a place to come, relax and learn from those around you.”

A few years ago, some of the library artists expressed a desire to broaden their horizons and pursue exhibitions. Roughly a dozen people came together to form what is now the Smithtown Artists Group.

With the help of a new website to showcase some of their work online, the group was able to hold exhibits in libraries around Long Island, including Harborfields, Sachem, Kings Park and East Northport. After a long hiatus during the pandemic, they are thrilled to share their work again. Their newest exhibit, A Potpourri of Art, will be on display this spring at the Port Jefferson Village Center.

Featuring more than 80 pieces from 8 artists, the exhibit will feature works done in watercolor, acrylic, oil, colored pencil and more. Each artist has a unique flair and favorite subjects, making it a great fit for art enthusiasts of all kinds.

Carol Kelly of Kings Park spent many years simply appreciating the work of others before trying her own hand at painting. “It wasn’t until I was around 45 that I started learning to paint. I would go to art exhibits and often say, ‘Wouldn’t it be marvelous to be able to create beautiful works of art for other people to enjoy?” she recalled. 

“I started taking watercolor classes, and then some time later saw a listing in my library’s newsletter about the group meeting in Smithtown. I’ve been there for 13 years and enjoy the process of critiquing and learning from one another.”  

Kelly enjoys painting landscapes and scenes from her garden, but occasionally branches out into other subjects, as with a painting of a bird she titled “Looking for Lunch.”

Lucia Alberti of Smithtown has spent the past 10 years painting at the library and was excited to participate in exhibitions with longtime friends in the group. Alberti said that the majority of her work is done in acrylics with a focus on imaginative realism.

“We have a lot of variety in our experiences and what we enjoy doing as artists. Some people teach art and have exhibited before, while others simply enjoy art and being creative,” she said. “We are friends, and we admire one another, which adds another layer of joy to our painting. Getting to do this exhibit together is a very special opportunity.”

The exhibit is a welcome source of joy for the community, too.

“We’re happy to be doing shows again — this is our second exhibit since the pandemic,” said Sue Orifici, head of graphic, archival and special projects at the Port Jefferson Village Center. “There’s a nice mix of art to enjoy in this show and we hope people will stop by and visit.”

Participating artists include Lucia Alberti, Cheryl Cass-Zampiva, Carol Ceraso, Judy Contrino, Ruth Johnson, Carol Kelly, Anita Simmons and Joanie Whalen.

A Potpourri of Art will be on display on the second floor of the Port Jefferson Village Center, 101 E. Broadway, Port Jefferson from March 1 to April 30. Viewing hours are 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. For more information about the exhibit, call the Village Center at 631-802-2160. To learn more about the Smithtown Artists Group, visit http://sagartists.wixsite.com/sagartists.

A sign of the times outside Smithtown Town Hall. Photo courtesy of Smithtown Library

The Smithtown Library’s Long Island Room, located in the lower level of the  library’s main branch at 1 North Country Road in Smithtown, invites the community to participate in an important project.

Over the course of the last few months, the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent shutdowns have had a dramatic impact on the entire world and our own community. As challenging as these times are, however, it is important to recognize and document the historical significance of this period so that future generations may learn from it.

Ways you can participate include collecting relevant items, keeping a journal reflecting on your experiences and sharing photos and/or videos of the way your life or surroundings have changed.

For more information about this project and collecting examples, please visit https://smithlib.org/documenting​. If you are interested in donating materials to this collection or have any questions, please contact the Long Island Room via email at [email protected] Please do not bring any materials to the library at this time or before contacting the Long Island Room. For further information, please call 631-360-2480.

Emma S. Clark Memorial Library

North Shore libraries are shutting their doors temporarily in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The announcement has come after multiple levels of government, including New York State and the White House declared state of emergencies Thursday and Friday, respectively. Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) has called for a shutdown of all public gathering of 500 people or more.

Emma S. Clark Memorial Library

Setauket’s Emma S. Clark Memorial Library announced March 13 that the building will be closed from Saturday, March 14, through at least Sunday, March 22.

The library will be evaluating the coronavirus situation to decide what will happen after March 22.

Patrons won’t accrue a late fee if items are due. The library asked that residents not bring materials to the book drop or leave them outside the building during this time.

Smithtown Library

On March 13, the Smithtown Library also notified patrons on its website and social media that all buildings would be closed until further noticed.

Book drops at all four library buildings will be closed until the library reopens. All fines accrued while its closed will be waived.

Port Jefferson Free Library

The Port Jefferson Free Library has closed its doors effective March 13 until further notice due to coronavirus concerns.

Patrons will not accrue any late fees on checked-out items while the library is closed.

Comsewogue Public Library

The Comsewogue Public Library is closed Sunday, March 15 and Monday, March 16. The library will open at 5:30 p.m. on Sunday for a board of trustees meeting that is open to the public. The discussion topics will be on Covid 19.

North Shore Public Library

The North Shore Public Library will be closed starting March 16 until further notice. The outside book drop is closed, and all patrons will not incur any late fees while the library is shut down.

Other online services are still available.

Photo from Smithtown Library

On Jan. 13 the Passport Acceptance Facility at the Smithtown Library celebrated the execution of its 500th passport application. David Lawreniak of Smithtown was the lucky patron who made this appointment to apply for a new passport. Lawreniak received a travel gift basket as a token of appreciation for utilizing the service. 

The Passport Acceptance Facility opened its doors at the Main Building of the Smithtown Library at 1 North Country Road  in November of 2018. It is open to all patrons, regardless of library district by appointment only. For more information or to make an appointment, please call 631-360-2480, ext. 192 or email [email protected]

Pictured from left, Smithtown Library Assistant Director Patricia Thomson, Smithtown building head and passport acceptance agent Eileen Caulfield, passport acceptance agent William Salas, David Lawreniak, passport acceptance agent Christine Baum, passport acceptance agent Andrew Salomon and Smithtown Library Director Robert Lusak.

Stock photo

The Town of Smithtown School Aged Child Care Program will hold its annual Preschool Fair on Wednesday, Jan. 29 from 10 a.m. to noon in the Community Rooms of the Smithtown Library, located at 1 North Country Road. 

The Preschool Fair will offer parents an opportunity to visit with representatives from multiple nursery schools and preschools in and around the Town of Smithtown. The expo serves as a popular event for parents to source and gather information regarding prospective programs.

The snow date is scheduled for Wednesday, March 25. Advance registration is not required.

 For further information, call School Aged Child Care at 631-360-7517. 

By Heidi Sutton

Christmas came early for many little girls and boys as two members of the Radio City Rockettes, Mindy Moeller (left) and Taylor Shimko, stopped by the Smithtown Library’s Main Branch on Sept. 25 to meet their fans and take part in a kids craft program.

Each child took an instant photo with the Rockettes that was placed in a keepsake snow globe. The globe was then decorated with stickers.

Smithtown Supervisor Ed Wehrheim presented the two dancers with a proclamation thanking them for their time and “the joyful memories made today with the children and families of Smithtown.”

The day was especially meaningful for the supervisor’s 6-year-old granddaughter Danica (in the pink ballet outfit) who loves to watch the Radio City Christmas Spectacular show and aspires to become a Rockette when she grows up.

Stock photo

Save the date! Suffolk One-Stop Employment Center will present a Job Fair at the Smithtown Library, Main Branch, 1 North Country Road, Smithtown on Friday, Sept. 13 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Representatives from over 25 companies are scheduled to attend including AFLAC, Attentive Care, Certified Laboratories, CIRCOR Aerospace, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratories, Core Business Technology Solutions, Contract Pharmacal Corporation, CulinArt, East/West Industries, Express  Employment Professionals, Family Residences and Essential Enterprises, First in Service Staffing, HEAP, Home Instead Senior Care, Life’s WORC, Lloyd Staffing, Marcum Search, Nature’s Bounty, New Vitality, NY Life Insurance, Office Team, Right At Home, SCO Family of Services, Suffolk County Water Authority, Shoprite, Supreme Screw Products, UCP of Suffolk, Uncle Giuseppe’s Marketplace, US Postal Service and Well Life Network.

All are welcome and no registration is required. Bring copies of your resume and dress to impress! For more information, call 631-360-2480.

Smithtown Library officials renamed the playground at the Kings Park branch after Otis Thornhill, who died in December 2016. Photo by Sara-Megan Walsh

By Sara-Megan Walsh

The work of a former Smithtown Library trustee will forever be remembered by the laughter of children playing.

The Smithtown Library rededicated the playground outside its Kings Park branch Oct. 7 to the late Otis Thornhill. A former library trustee he also served as president of The Friends of the Smithtown
Library for seven years.

“He saw the value of the library and the need for us to continue to improve the buildings; he worked tirelessly toward that end,” Anthony Monteleone, representing The Friends of the Smithtown Library, said. “Otis was a true person of the community. It’s people like him that make Smithtown what it is today.”

Thornhill and his family first moved to Commack in 2001. That same year the library playground was constructed as a joint effort between Kings Park Chamber of Commerce and the Town of Smithtown, according to chamber president Tony Tanzi, in an attempt to draw residents to spend more time in the downtown area and shops.

“Come down here any day in the summer and you’ll see just that,” Tanzi said. “Moms and dads, and their kids, sitting downtown in Kings Park. That’s what it is all about.”

Smithtown Library officials renamed the playground at the Kings Park branch after Otis Thornhill, who died in December 2016. Photo from Facebook

In 2011, Thornhill was encouraged to run for a library trustee seat by Monteleone. He served until his death in December 2016.

“As a library trustee, he offered his support and guidance to make sure the library served the reading and educational needs of this community,” Robert Lusak, library director, said. “If I could say it to him, I would say I sorely, sorely miss the safe advice and guidance he provided to me as the director of The Smithtown Library. I will miss him very much.”

Thornhill and his wife, Elaine, were familiar faces around the community as they often worked together to sell 50/50 raffle tickets to raise funds for The Friends of the Smithtown Library during the summer concerts.

In addition to his service to the library, Smithtown Councilman Ed Wehrheim (R) remembered Thornhill as a member of the Rotary Club of Smithtown Sunrise, which regularly meets at the Millennium Diner in Smithtown. Wehrheim said his fellow Rotarian focused his efforts on his community, improving education and veterans. Thornhill served in the U.S. military reserves.

“I know that Otis is here looking down on us, looking down at his playground and his sign, and seeing those three things — education, veterans representation and a wonderful playground for the community,” Wehrheim said.

Dawn Bent, owner of Signarama in Huntington Station, made a memorial sign declaring the playground as The Otis M. Thornhill Memorial Playground. The sign also bears the names of those individuals and business who gave donations to offset the sign’s cost.

Eric Thornhill, Otis’ son, spoke on behalf of the family who said they were deeply touched by the tribute.

“It was a comfort to [Otis] to have this connection to you as he was progressing through his life,” he said of his father. “It meant everything. It kept him strong to the very end, and that meant everything to him. We are so appreciative that you also thought something of him.”

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Smithtown decked the halls this past Sunday, Dec. 4 as the Smithtown Rotary Club hosted a tree lighting at the Smithtown Library.