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The Plainview-Old Bethpage library is currently planning a building expansion, which consists of two additions. Under the plans, the family center will be expanded and a lecture/program facility will be added to the eastside of the building.

The need for the proposed expansion is similar to the need recently felt in the Plainview-Old Bethpage Schools District. The population in Plainview and Old Bethpage has greatly increased over the last few years and, according to Rhoda Orenstein, director of the Plainview-Old Bethpage Library, this is especially seen in children, which is evidenced by the number of children using the Family Center and the age of children attending programs. Last year, the School District's enrollment exceeded the projections and enrollment is expected to continue to rise.

The proposed expansion will double the size of the existing family center, which will be expanded to 25 feet to the west with a mezzanine. Also, more computers will be available for residents to access databases that are not available from homes and are needed for school assignments. Bookshelves are needed for special collections that are currently stored in the basement and not readily available to the public and, under the proposal, those bookshelves will be added. Additional shelf space is also needed for Family Sharing books on timely topics such as divorce, drugs and death. The new mezzanine will give the library more room for books. Computers will also be added giving the children six computers and another computer room for research.

The new lecture program facility will have 240 permanent seats, a stage, two conference rooms for meetings and a gallery for exhibits. This new addition will allow the library to present more programs for adults and children as requested by the community. The library will be able to save money, according to Orenstein, by eliminating consecutive identical children's performances, which are needed to accommodate the number of children who want to attend. The community also will be able to enjoy film presentations, shows, operas, Broadway shows and concerts in a proper atmosphere. The new expansion provides additional meeting room space for local groups.

Plainview and Old Bethpage residents will have the opportunity to vote on the proposed expansion and bond referendum on Wednesday, December 12 from 9 a.m. - 9 p.m. at the library, which is located at 999 Old Country Road in Plainview.

The bond issue that will be presented to the community is $5,163,317, which is equal to $42 per year for an average house assessed at $7500 for 15 years. Plans are available for viewing in the library and at monthly meetings the next of which is scheduled for Nov. 26 at 7:30 p.m.

Construction is expected to take one year and, if the bond passes, construction will begin in April 2002. "The library will be fully operational while construction is being done," said Orenstein. "The main library will always be open, but the Children's Room may have to close for a few days for the electricians as we want to make sure that it is safe for the children."

The library has held some informational meetings during the past few months to alert residents to the proposed plan and, according to Orenstein, reactions have been very positive. "This is not only for the children. Many seniors want the new facility because the programs that we offer are free and we will now have the room to accommodate them," said Orenstein. "The plans are there for a beautiful facility and the price is right."

Orenstein has been working very hard the last few months along with the library's board of trustees to attend local meetings and answer any questions that local residents may have.

Anyone who votes in the November election is already registered to vote on Dec. 12. Any new resident, or someone needing an absentee ballot, should go to the school district's administration building located at 160 Washington Avenue in Plainview. Also, a registration day has been scheduled at the library for Wednesday Dec. 5 from noon - 9 p.m. Logo
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