The Mastic Beach building that once housed the community's short-lived village government now is the home of the hamlet's first library.
Mastics-Moriches-Shirley Community Library officials on Saturday opened the district's $4.5 million Mastic Beach library annex in the former village hall at 369 Neighborhood Rd. The 7,000-square-foot annex is the first of three new or renovated libraries to open as part of a $22.6 million expansion project.
The Mastic Beach annex includes hundreds of books and videos, community meeting rooms and special sections for children and teenagers.
Library director Kerri Rosalia told Newsday the annex will give Mastic Beach residents their own library after decades of using the district's main library about 2.5 miles away.
"There were always concerns that the main library on William Floyd Parkway in Shirley was difficult to get to," Rosalia said Friday during a tour of the Mastic Beach annex. "This is a real community library where they can get a little bit of everything. Kids can bike or walk to the library."
The annex was one of several projects approved by library district residents in a December 2019 referendum. Other projects include renovation of the 45,000-square-foot Shirley library and construction of a new 7,000-square-foot Moriches annex, which is expected to open in about a month, Rosalia said.
Reopening the Shirley library has been delayed until next year because of structural problems with the existing building and supply-chain issues, library officials have said. The library is temporarily operating at the Mastic Recreation Center.
The Mastic Beach annex, which includes a new front entrance on Neighborhood Road and parking for more than 60 vehicles, will be open the same hours as the Mastic site, Rosalia said.
The Mastic Beach building had served as village hall from the village's incorporation in 2010 until it folded in 2017. Residents had voted in 2016 to disband the village amid political and fiscal acrimony.
Brookhaven Town officials in 2021 named Jericho-based Beechwood Organization as master developer to build townhomes, condominiums, shops and offices on 37 blighted acres in downtown Mastic Beach. The project awaits local approvals.
Beechwood principal Steven Dubb told Newsday the library fits in neatly with the company's plans.
"It will be of great use and achieves the goal of creating a thriving downtown," he said in an email. "In fact, the proposed master development plan incorporates the new library as one of its central community components."
Rosalia said library officials hope the library becomes the centerpiece of a renewed downtown.
"We can't wait to hear the sounds of kids in the library," she said. "I think that's one thing this building has, is it gives people hope that things can be better."