Manhasset Public Library plans renovation

Manhasset Public Library Director Maggie Gough, pictured at a June 2019 meeting, is being defended by employees after accusations that she made comments perceived as racist at a violin recital held at the library. (Photo by Teri West)

A single day at Manhasset Library often includes five different community events among an array of organization meetings and people independently studying.

To accommodate a growing population of patrons who visit the library as a destination rather than a pit stop on an errand run, the library board is planning an up to $1 million interior renovation that would double seating and increase workspace.

Early design plans include glass-enclosed study rooms, a new teen study area and a closed librarian office to allow for contained conversations on the typically quiet second floor of the building completed in 2005.

The renovation is projected to start in January and last two years, said library Director Maggie Gough. The library hopes to remain open during the entirety of the work, and there would be no building or parking lot expansions.

“What we’re really trying to do is build on what we already have,” Gough said. “We have this fabulous building, we have a community that is totally engaged in their library and really likes what we’re doing in it, and I’m just trying to help address additional issues and concerns that they have.”

The Manhasset Public Library counted 170,923 unique visits to its four-floor building last year.

It’s often hard to find a seat during peak hours, said library board President Charles Jettmar.

The redesign would accommodate the increasing number of patrons who use the library as a study or meeting space.

It would also update the library to reflect emerging safety concerns. While the library will keep some nooks and crannies, spaces many patrons relish, some shelves would be lowered to make it easier for librarians to monitor the room, Gough said.

Some books would no longer be on shelves, and increased circulation would require fewer books to be stocked in the library at once, she said. Circulation has been steadily increasing, and an increase of 7 percent during a six-month period means that less shelf space is needed, she added.

“We lend whatever we can lend so we can keep buying more without having to warehouse things on the shelves,” Gough said.

In April 2018, the library hired Elisabeth Martin of MDA designgroup as the project architect. Martin has worked with other Long Island libraries, Gough said.

The library currently has a preliminary design and hopes to complete bidding by the end of the year.

The vision for the lower level includes a workspace for adults that would replace a staff area and new seating in the foyer. The first floor would have a renovated circulation and lobby area, lowered shelves, increased seating of varied types and new carpeting.

The second floor would have a new, round reference desk and new history center office. An area that is currently staff offices would become an open study area.

A new librarian office would be glass enclosed as would new study rooms. The floor currently has seating for 90 people, which would increase to about 149 people.

The third floor vision currently includes doubling teen seating and creating a teen study zone for collaborative work.

“We’re really trying to provide the best possible space and the best possible services within that space,” Gough said.


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