Written by Margaret Whitely Friday, 11 November 2011 00:00
On a beautiful Sunday in October, the Shelter Rock Library, located at165 Searingtown Road, Albertson, held a rededication ceremony for its newly renovated library.
Library board president Thomas Jordan gave a little background information on the library itself. Jordan said, “In 1960, a group of residents wanted a neighborhood library they could ‘call their own.’ Therefore, a Friends of the Library was formed and with a great deal of hard work and community spirit, the Shelter Rock Library was born.
“In the beginning it was operated from a small office building next to the Albertson train station and in 1969 the library was moved to its current location.”
Jordan continued, “Over the years, the direction and focus of the library and libraries across the nation, changed to meet the needs and desires of its patrons. In 1994, the library was modestly renovated. But, in recent years the need for greater renovation and restructuring became apparent. We received many requests from residents to bring the library into the 21st century.
“In 2001 we had a library consultant assess our needs and recommend how to fulfill them. The consultant met with various focus groups, comprised of both patrons and staff, to get information and his report was made available for patron review.”
Jordan went on, “With the help of a facilitator from the Nassau Library System, we also began a study of a long range plan for the library. We made a concerted effort to involve residents from areas of the library district. Three meetings were held and library expansion, technology and programming were identified as key issues. The findings were reported and we solicited comments and that plan is available on our website www.nassaulibrary.org/shelter.”
Jordan said, “The library’s board of trustees spent several years studying these findings and working with architects to develop a plan. We had hoped to almost double the size of the library from its present 23, 040 square feet, but after meeting with officials from the Town of North Hempstead, and after a careful study of many options, the board felt the most fiscally responsible and expedient plan at this time was to revise the project to address the most immediate needs of our existing facility.
“In September and November of 2007 additional public meetings were held to discuss and inform residents of the project. Architect Kenneth Vey presented the new plan and much discussion ensued. Then in December of 2007 and January of 2008 public hearings were held to consider and adopt resolutions approving the project, at a total budgeted cost not to exceed $6.6 million and requesting the town to authorize the issuance of bonds.
“The rest is history. We closed our doors and the renovation began and thanks to both the Mineola Library and Temple Tikvah on Hillside Avenue, who graciously loaned us their facilities, we were able to hold many of our events.”
The rest of the program continued with the entrance of the Color Guard, led by Boy Scout Troop No. 200 of East Williston and the Pledge of Allegiance and then the Star Spangled Banner led by Siobhan of Mineola High School.
New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, who was present said, “It is always so wonderful to see a community come together as we see today.”
New York State Senator Jack Martins was also present and said he had many fond memories of coming to the Shelter Rock Library to study.
Legislator Wayne Wink said, “The Shelter Rock Library has always been the focus of the community and I’m looking forward to utilizing it again.”
Town of North Hempstead Receiver of Taxes Charles Berman quoted former New York City Mayor Edward Koch who once said, “Without art and music there is no culture and with no culture there is no civilization.”
On the cover of the program for the re-dedication ceremony was a very apropos quote from Stewart Brand, best known as editor of the Whole Earth Catalog, “A library doesn’t need windows, a library is a window!”
However, in the renovated Shelter Rock Library there are plenty of windows and lots of light streaming into the reading room and there are even children’s window seats, which are very appealing for small children to sit in and read by the daylight.