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East Hampton library gives away books

East Hampton Library Director Dennis Fabiszak moves books

East Hampton Library Director Dennis Fabiszak moves books off the shelves from the library's children's wing, in preparation for construction to begin on the children's wing expansion in East Hampton. (June 11, 2012) Credit: Newsday/Gordon M. Grant

In a couple of days, the East Hampton Public Library has been able to get rid of about 1,000 books, just by posting "free books" signs throughout the building.

Library director Dennis Fabiszak expects another 3,000 to be gone by the end of the week.

The books are from the book sale room in the basement under the children's room. They normally sell for $1 each.

"Mostly, they're fiction. It helps they're in order by author," Fabiszak said.

But they're all in the way of progress.

A long-anticipated, $4-million expansion began last week, but the foundation work cannot be completed until a wall in the children's room and the basement underneath comes down. That means all the book-sale books must go.

The regular children's books are being moved to another part of the library, so that the children's space not being demolished can be used as a temporary meeting room. Doing so will allow the library to continue its other programs.

"It's exciting," Fabiszak said. "I can't wait. The whole thing has been nine years. They started digging the foundation last week."

The expansion is being funded by private donations. It took so long to begin because the East Hampton Village zoning board of appeals refused for years to issue two variances needed for the work. That led to a lawsuit by the library. Ultimately State Supreme Court Justice Thomas F. Whelan ruled in 2011 that the village agency had been "irrational, arbitrary and capricious" in its denial.

The library was last expanded in 1997. Officials originally wanted to add 10,000 square feet to the 20,000-square-foot building, but later reduced the project to 6,802 square feet, including a 60-seat lecture hall.

The village argued the new building was too large for the library's 2.26-acre site, and that it would create traffic problems.

Library officials hope the work will be finished by next Memorial Day.

"As soon as the trucks arrived and the dirt started moving around, the excitement level jumped up," Fabiszak said. "It's finally going to happen."

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