Patchogue-Medford library officials and Brookhaven Town are developing plans for an auxiliary library in a Medford park to supplement the existing facility in downtown Patchogue.
The new library, which is probably several years from being constructed, would provide a book repository, meeting rooms and other services to Medford residents. Those residents currently drive 20 to 30 minutes to get to the library on Main Street in Patchogue.
Town officials have agreed to donate a one-acre section of the 23-acre Medford Athletic Complex for construction of the library.
"Some folks in Medford feel they are not getting their utilization with the library down on Main Street,” Town Councilman Neil Foley, who represents Medford and Patchogue on the town board, said in an interview. “It’ll be a little more convenient for the people up there.”
Library director Danielle Paisley said the new facility would be approximately 5,000 square feet and cost about $2.5 million. The library's architects have not drawn up plans or set a specific cost estimate, she said.
“It could be a year or two before we see anything really happen,” Paisley said.
The library would be funded through a combination of sources. Paisley said $1.3 million to $1.5 million would come from the town's Caithness fund, utilizing fees paid by the operators of the Caithness power plant in Yaphank to support community projects.
Additional funds are expected to come from fundraising, a small mortgage and the library's capital budget, Paisley said. The plan would not come up for a public vote because library officials do not plan to sell bonds that would affect tax rates, she said.
The current library last month had 28,431 visitors and circulated 80,337 items, including books, periodicals and digital material, Paisley said.
The Medford library would have children's and teens' sections, meeting rooms for community groups, and space for career counseling and English-as-a-second-language classes, Paisley said. Part of the library's current collections in Patchogue may be moved to the Medford facility, she said.
“We’d like to have a small collection of each of our departments that people can browse,” she said. “We’d love to collaborate with the Town of Brookhaven and other organizations to develop an outdoor area for children, and in an area like Medford, we could do that.”
The town board on April 11 voted 7-0 to ask the state legislature to approve using part of the park for the library. Under state law, Albany must agree to release, or "alienate," public park land for non-park purposes.
State Sen. Monica Martinez (D-Brentwood) said she and Assemb. Joseph DeStefano (R-Medford) hope to pass legislation releasing the park land by the time the legislature takes its summer recess June 19. “I am very hopeful that it will pass this year,” Martinez said Wednesday. “It’s something that the Medford community has wanted for a long time.”