Great Neck Library to grant RFP bids for Station construction on March 8

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Great Neck Library to grant RFP bids for Station construction on March 8
The Great Neck Library will hold a special meeting on March 8 related to bids for the upcoming Station branch construction. (Photo by Janelle Clausen)

The Great Neck Library Board of Trustees will hold a special meeting on March 8 to award a request for proposals to contractors for renovations at the Station Branch. 

Interim Director George Trepp said during Tuesday night’s Board of Trustees meeting, conducted online, that the library is still going through all of the reference checks for the bidders, and financial analysis still needs to be conducted. He said he believes everything should be taken care of before the proposed March 8 meeting to grant a request for proposal to commence with the changes, with an estimated cost of $640,000.

Trustee Barry Smith said the lingering effects from the coronavirus pandemic and the recent accumulation of snow has caused slight delays in the timeline for working on the branch renovation projects.

Renovations of the 6,500-square-foot branch will focus on maximizing the amount of open space for patrons along with preserving the much-needed “quiet places” and providing communal collaboration spaces, according to a report in November by MDA Design Group.

Also featured in the November presentation were a doubling of the amount of seating in the children’s section and enhanced access to more “high end” technology, including every seat being accessible to Wi-Fi.

The board also approved sending a letter to Gov. Andrew Cuomo pleading that he give library workers the same accessibility to the coronavirus vaccine as taxi drivers and restaurant workers.

“During this pandemic, our dedicated librarians and staff members have been providing essential services to our community, ranging from offering virtual programming to our residents to making PPEs for our local hospitals,” the letter states. “To ensure the safety of our library staff, our board has made the difficult decision to only open our library for curbside pickup, despite the pressing demand from our community to fully open our library to offer in-person classes, browsing, and many more.”

Trustee Mimi Hu said she reached out to local officials, but was told that Cuomo seemed to have all of the power in deciding who is eligible to receive the vaccines. The state’s library association also sent a letter to Cuomo in mid-January, advocating for the thousands of employees throughout New York to be vaccinated.

“These staff have amended their operations and expanded the services in their communities during the pandemic to ensure patrons have the resources they need,” the letter said.

The issue of public comments was also brought up when former Great Neck Library President Marietta DiCamillo was attempting to speak during the reading of various policies. Hu told DiCamillo that her interrupting current President Weihua Yan was a form of “micro-aggression” and asked Yan to call the meeting to order.

DiCamillo said the comment Hu made was “obscene” and asked for an apology.

“[The board] has allowed some members of the public to speak, but denied my opportunity to speak,” she said.

Yan stressed the importance of common courtesy between members of the board and the public during meetings.

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