The Wyandanch Public Library may operate out of a trailer...

The Wyandanch Public Library may operate out of a trailer to offer some services to the public. Credit: Newsday / John Paraskevas

The Wyandanch Public Library, which is the only public library on Long Island that has remained closed since the COVID-19 shutdown, is considering setting up a mobile library.

The library board unveiled the idea at an Oct. 26 board meeting. Board vice president Nancy Holliday said the library had received a quote of $468 per month for a 10-foot by 50-foot office trailer. With a required three-month contract and additional charges, the bill would be roughly $4,000, she said.

"We’re trying to explore every possibility that we can to make sure we have services for the community," Holliday said. The Wyandanch library serves more than 11,000 people.

Library director Shadd Jamison said he was still doing research on what the mobile library might entail but some possible services could be scanning, faxing and copying or they could "make it a mini express library."

Holliday also announced that they had received an estimate on repairs to their HVAC system and "it’s going to cost $700,000" for "extensive work that has to be done." The library board has stated that the reason they have not resumed any in-person or curbside services at the library since March is because of poor ventilation. The library’s HVAC system problems predate COVID-19, library officials said.

In a copy of the Sept. 30 estimate obtained by Newsday, Savin Engineers of Hauppauge gave a possible cost of more than $670,000 for electrical and HVAC repairs. Holliday said the money can’t be taken out of the library’s general fund.

"Either we have to have a bond through the school district, and they’re in a deficit, or get grants from our local officials," Holliday said.

State officials said they would explore funding but that it could take a year or longer, and some expenses, such as the more than $184,000 in estimated labor costs, are unlikely to qualify. Officials also said they have been largely left in the dark as to the library’s issues with reopening and want more information.

"For the library to come out of left field and say ‘hey quick give us this money, we haven’t been open for half the year because of a problem we never told you anything about, just give us the money,’ we’re not doing that," said state Sen. John Brooks (D-Seaford). "We’ll help but we first have to understand what’s going on."

Libraries also can seek funding through annual state library construction grants. This past year, 42 Long Island libraries received more than $4.3 million in grants. At least six of those projects included work on HVAC systems.

For the next cycle of funding, 13 Suffolk libraries have applied for nearly $850,000 in grants. The deadline was in September and Wyandanch did not apply, said Kevin Verbesey, director for the Suffolk Cooperative Library System. In the past 10 years, Wyandanch has only applied once, in 2014, receiving $15,000 for work on a mezzanine project, he said.

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