In the race for the John Jermain library board in Sag Harbor, the three candidates running should cruise to victory on Sept. 28 - there are four open seats to fill.

In a situation that has happened before in the library election, candidates can get on the board by simply writing their name on a ballot, and getting enough friends and neighbors to join their write-in effort.

"In 2007, we had a very similar situation. Three people ran . . . Kate Evarts ran a write-in campaign," said library director Catherine Creedon.

Evarts, an architect who got about 50 write-in votes, served an unexpired one-year term on the board, then stepped down and moved to Seattle.

Until recently, the John Jermain Memorial Library board of trustees was not elected. The library, which opened in 1910, was given to the community as a gift by a wealthy benefactor. Its board of directors simply elected a new member whenever there was a vacancy.

That changed when a library expansion bond was defeated by a wide margin five years ago, and the trustees decided to open up the vote to the public, staggering the vote over several years.

The first board to be made up of members completely voted in by the public took office Jan. 1, 2008.

Any adult who lives in the district and who has a library card can cast a ballot.

The library district covers the same area as the Sag Harbor school district, and includes the village of North Haven and communities outside the village line, including Noyack, Baypoint and the Mount Misery neighborhoods. It runs south to the Long Island Rail Road tracks in Sagaponack and the westernmost part takes in part of Scuttlehole Road.

The three unopposed candidates include two incumbents, Carl Peterson and Carol Williams. The third candidate is Linley Whelan, a real estate broker and member of Save Sag Harbor, a community preservation group.

They will all take office on Jan. 1, and their terms will run to the end of 2013.

If there is a successful write-in vote, that candidate will serve a one-year term, unless he or she gets more votes than one of the other candidates on the ballot.

Library district voters will also be deciding on the library's proposed $1,195,502 operating budget for 2011, which is 9.8 percent higher than the current budget, and which will add about $10 to the tax bill of a typical house worth $750,000.

The budget includes $65,000 for the rental of space at 34 Water St., which will be used as a temporary library location while renovations are being made next year to the historic library.

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