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Great Neck Library Bond Issue: Time to Ask Questions

(Editor’s Note: In the coming weeks leading up to the referendum on October 25, we will publish questions and responses regarding the library board’s plans for a renovation and expansion of Main.)

What’s the Future of the Computer and Communication System at the Library?

The “brains” of the Great Neck Library system, its computer and communication system, is based currently at the Main library. As savvy patrons know, when electricity at Main is down, the data base computer system, the check-out system, and the telephone system at the branches go down as well.

Due to the damage incurred by Irene, these functions of the library were not available as Main was without power until the Wednesday after the storm.

The Record  met with library director Jane Marino to ask her whether the plans for a newly renovated building would have a standby generator system. She said that there were no provisions in the plan or bond budget for a generator.

However, Ms. Marino said that currently a staff member is researching the cost of a generator powerful enough to keep the network going during power outages. She added, “I will be pushing for it in the plans.”

Ms. Marino believes that there is enough money in contingency provisions of the proposed bond to allow for the inclusion of a commercial generator. The budget contains a total of $1.4 million for contingencies with a 3 percent escalation clause. (Once the library board set a top money limit and a date for the bond referendum, the amount of the bond cannot be modified.)

Another alternative is to house the equipment for the server and telephone system in a secured off-site location even after a renovation of Main.

If the bond is approved by the public, during construction the functions of the Main library will be moved to another, yet to be determined, site. We asked if in light of the fact that Station, housed in a shopping mall that did not lose power during and after the storm, might be a good alternative for housing the equipment needed for running the computer and telephone system during construction. Ms. Marino said that there is extra space at Station and that it might be a good choice for these functions.