The North Babylon Public Library Board of Trustees will ask residents for a one-time appropriation of $1 million to address accessibility issues to comply with the Americans With Disabilities Act. Library director Mark Horowitz gave Newsday a tour of the library on Feb. 27. Credit: Danielle Silverman

Trustees of the North Babylon Public Library will hold a public hearing this month to discuss a proposed $1 million budget increase to bring the building into compliance with the federal Americans with Disabilities Act.

The proposed project would cost $2.2 million and would include adding elevator access to three of the library’s four floors, a ground level auditorium / meeting room and accessible bathrooms. A quiet study area would also be added.

The vote, along with the proposed library budget and trustee election, will be on one ballot on April 7, library officials said. The library board’s annual budget would go from $3.2 million to $4.3 million if voters approve the increase.

If approved, homeowners of a property assessed at $3,500 would have a one-time cost of $107, library officials said.  

“We want everybody to recognize what the plan is,” said library director Marc Horowitz. “This is a big project. If we didn’t ask for the extra $1 million, we would be under the tax cap. But since we’re asking, we’re exceeding the tax cap. My gut feeling is that the community will come out wholly in favor of this, otherwise I wouldn’t put my head in a guillotine.”

The ADA was signed into law in 1990 by then-President George H.W. Bush. Horowitz said the library board wants to be compliant because most events held in the basement have to be moved to accommodate people who can’t go down the stairs.

About $1.5 million in capital reserves could be used toward the project, Horowitz said, adding that there are 16,189 active library card holders. During the 2015-16 fiscal year, attendance was 177,136. In 2018-19, it dropped to 145,877, which Horowitz said was because of patrons accessing library services online instead of going to the building.

The proposed expansion diagram for the North Babylon Public Library....

The proposed expansion diagram for the North Babylon Public Library. An elevator will be added. The work is estimated to take between nine months and a year to complete. Credit: H2M

Library officials paid Melville-based H2M architects + engineers  $148,937 to do the design, he added. 

Horowitz said the budget request is the first time library trustees have sought financial support from taxpayers. In 2016, the public voted to allow trustees to purchase property for extra parking. It was bought with money from the library’s capital reserve. The library is expected to remain open through the construction unless there’s a public safety issue.

Marilyn Tucci the advocacy and outreach coordinator for the Suffolk Independent Living Organization, a Holtsville-based nonprofit that provides services and programs for the disabled, supports better access. 

“A lot of people don’t care if you have a disability issue,” said Tucci, 68, a Shirley resident who is blind and has a guide dog. “Elderly people can’t sometimes walk up steps. If things are ground-level, it makes things a lot easier.”

North Babylon Public Library proposed expansion diagram by Newsday on Scribd

Laura Nye, 59, of North Babylon, said she has been coming to the library since she was a first-grader.

“One day, if I’m in a wheelchair, I would like to be able to get around the library,” she said. “That would be great.”   

The public hearing is scheduled for at 6 p.m. March 17 at the library.

Expansion highlights

  • Construction would take from nine months to a year to complete.
  • Elevator access would be added, as well as a ground floor auditorium / meeting room.
  • Homeowners of properties assessed at $3,500 will have a one-time cost of $107.


Animal cruelty charge … MacArthur Airport dispute … Setting a holiday table  Credit: Newsday

Heavy rain across Long Island ... Stealing $11,000 in cigarettes ... Trump won't testify ... Angel Baby

Animal cruelty charge … MacArthur Airport dispute … Setting a holiday table  Credit: Newsday

Heavy rain across Long Island ... Stealing $11,000 in cigarettes ... Trump won't testify ... Angel Baby

Latest videos

Newsday LogoYour Island. Your Community. Your News.Digital AccessOnly 25¢for 5 months
ACT NOWSALE ENDS SOON | CANCEL ANYTIME