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New children’s library renovated in Port Washington

The Jackie and Hal Spielman Children's Library inside

The Jackie and Hal Spielman Children's Library inside Port Washington Public Library. Credit: Ian J. Stark

The Jackie and Hal Spielman Children’s Library recently opened at the Port Washington Public Library.

Twenty years had passed since the Port Washington Public Library had renovated its Children’s Library. “You should have seen it; it was cramped and you couldn’t even walk in when story time was taking place,” noted Lisa J Davidoff, director of development for the Port Washington Library Foundation, “and now, with all the work done, it’s ready and really something.”

It has been named for author and community leader Hal Spielman and his late wife, Jackie. Spielman, a Sands Point resident, not only worked with the Port Washington Library Foundation to help raise more than $1.5 million toward the construction. He also personally donated $300,000.

All the financial backing was gained through either fundraising, grants or funds already set aside in project reserves, so that “none of this came from taxes or raising taxes,” says Davidoff.

She gives credit to library staffers who “gave up a bathroom and part of their staff lounge,” so the new space could have a restroom and added room now dedicated to multimedia use (DVDs, games, books on CDs). Other new features include a toddlers section, a tweens section and a dedicated story circle zone with a large monitor.

“There’s also a reading nook that gives families a bit of privacy so parents can read to their kids, and possibly give moms a spot for nursing if they need,” Davidoff says during a tour of the new library, which also has a computer space with four Macs and a PC. A separated STEM (Science, Tech, Engineering, Math) workspace is also part of the updated layout, available for educational purposes.

The books and all library content are placed at a height within the grasp of young people, as is an interactive screen across from the librarian’s desk that (as of this writing) features a flood of marble-like avatars that can be manipulated by hand.

The library is located at 1 Library Dr. The phone number is 516-883-4400.

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