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Letter: The Great Neck Library

(Editor’s Note: This letter to the Great Neck Library Board of Trustees is being published at the request of the writer.)

The library trustees could satisfy their desire for more space at the Main Library by relocating some library services to the 6,500 square foot proposed second-floor rental above Waldbaum’s in Great Neck Plaza. I suggest that the library lease this new location for the Levels Program and continue to lease the Station Branch. Moving Levels programs will free more space at Main than an expansion would, and do it in a more economical and less disruptive manner. It also will place Levels in a location central to the entire community, so children from both North and South can participate. And, parking for Levels events will be ample.

In the coming years, all institutions will be continuing to feel budgetary woes that affect programming and transportation. The relocation of Levels would be financially savvy, just for starters. Levels relocated to the hub of Great Neck would be salutary in many other ways. It would:

Encourage inter-generational interaction. Many of the community’s senior citizens will benefit because they could walk to attend Levels productions. 

Allow Levels teenagers to do outreach and community service. They could adopt a grandparent at the Atria, for example.

Promote a healthy lifestyle among our Levels participants (whose consumption of junk food is well known). For one thing, Levels could strike a deal with the Health Club downstairs for its participants to join exercise classes at a discount.

Offer Levels cooking classes that foster wellness and combat obesity. After all, Waldbaum’s supermarket (and fresh ingredients) will be just down the stairs.

Facilitate recycling of all those beverage containers currently discarded. In fact, the money recouped from the can/bottle deposits could go to a good cause.

Make it easy for Levels to plan educational trips into our cultural Mecca, Manhattan, with the train station across the street.

A thoughtful and creative reconfiguration of the existing space at Main would dovetail with the proposed additional space above Waldbaum’s.  Redefining the existing spaces at Main will minimize the library’s carbon footprint far more than knocking down the entire structure. There would be less disruption of services, and the community could have its “new” library without a mushrooming tax burden on our already pressed residents.

While I believe both our library and Levels would reap mutual benefit from my suggestion, as trustees you may think another area or department would be better suited to the proposed Plaza second-floor site. Technical services, publicity and programming and the business offices could work effectively by computer from such an off-site location and thereby liberate significant prime real estate in the Main building.  

Ofra S. Panzer