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$16M renovation would expand cramped Lindenhurst library

The proposed new bond would bring the 1969

The proposed new bond would bring the 1969 building into compliance with the Americans With Disabilities Act, add fire sprinklers, exterior lighting and a meeting space for seniors and teenagers. Credit: Johnny Milano

It’s the smallest library serving the largest number of residents in Babylon Town. But a $16 million bond measure could give patrons of the Lindenhurst Memorial Library more space and services.

This week the library, which serves 42,000 residents, will begin a series of meetings to get feedback on plans for a nearly $16 million library renovation that staff hope will bring the building into the 21st century.

The roughly 22,000-square-foot structure was built in 1969 and has had some improvements over the years — a new roof and windows, for instance — but otherwise has remained untouched.

“The library board has done an excellent job in maintaining the current physical structure,” said Lisa Kropp, the library’s assistant director. “But we simply need more square footage in order to serve as many residents who are looking to use the library and its services, and who are asking for additional services.”

Library administrators met last year with a consultant and hired architects H2M of Melville for $35,000. Half of that amount is refundable to the library should a bond resolution to fund the renovations pass. The library board voted last month to move forward with a $15.9 million proposal. Under the proposed plan, the library will gain nearly 10,000 square feet, split between the first floor and basement of the building. The new library would have multiple meeting and study rooms, lounges, a teen area and a café.

To cover the cost, there will be a bond vote. The bond will cost homeowners $3.309 per $100 of assessed valuation. Based on a 15-year bond at a 4 percent interest rate, the average home assessed at $3,000 will pay an additional $99 a year in taxes. A home assessed at $5,000 will pay $165 more per year in taxes.

The current library is bursting at the seams, Kropp said, especially after 3 p.m. when the middle school down the block lets out. The library has two meeting rooms — one that holds 75 people and another for 15 people — and they do not meet the needs of the community, Kropp said, adding that the library turns away 10 to 20 groups a month looking to schedule meetings and events.

“It’s not like years ago when the schools offered their facilities for free,” said library director Peter Ward. “It’s a real sore need in this community.”

Libraries today are becoming more like community centers, Ward said, a place where residents can come for cooking classes and health screenings. There are grandparents taking care of children while the parents work, immigrants who are learning English and special-education students seeking more resources, such as books, games and computers.

“Today’s Lindenhurst has different needs and demands,” Ward said. “We’re trying to meet those needs and demands with a 1969 building, and that’s kind of rough.”

The first meeting on the proposed renovations will be at 7 p.m. Thursday at the library, located at 1 Lee Ave.

Room to grow

Some of the goals for the proposed expansion:

  • Meeting and quiet rooms of various sizes
  • Space to collaborate on projects
  • Comfortable seating in busy and quiet areas
  • Accessible electrical outlets
  • Café
  • Gallery, exhibit and performance spaces
  • Child-friendly computers
  • Dedicated space for family use
  • Family restrooms
  • Dedicated area for children ages newborn to 5 years old

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