Great Neck Library Board explores options

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It's back to the trustees table in Great Neck, where voters overwhelmingly defeated a $20.8 million bond request to renovate and expand the main branch of the Great Neck Library.

Voting on Monday night was so heavy at times that residents in the northern part of the district had to switch from machines to paper ballots. The measure failed with 2,924 voting against the proposal and 1,286 in favor.

"I hope everybody feels the way I do -- that it's a chance to go forward," said Ralene Adler, a former library trustee who opposed the plan. "It has to be a cooperative effort."

After 20 years of discussion, trustees presented a plan to renovate the 47,000-square-foot library and expand it by 8,645 square feet.

The next scheduled board meeting is Nov. 22, but trustees expect to meet earlier.

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"We really do hope to meet as soon as possible to discuss the ramifications of the election and what voters have told us," library director Jane B. Marino said.

The plans called for expanding the children's collection areas, increasing audiovisual space and creating a computer training room at the library, which was built in 1970.

"We want the building taken care of, but that doesn't mean we need more space or to spend that kind of money," said Adler, who favors renovation but not expansion.

"Perhaps the library did not do as good a job as it could have in making its position clear to the public," library board president Janet Nina Esagoff said in a statement.

She said renovation is essential. "Monies will have to be borrowed, and a future referendum is likely," she said.

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