Although Carle Place residents have never had a public library to call their own, under an initiative being considered by the local school district, the community may soon be served by a neighboring library.
The Carle Place School District, in response to new state educational mandates aiming to ensure library services for all residents, is exploring contracting services from a neighboring library. To this end, the district is in the midst of talks with the directors of both the Westbury and East Meadow Public Libraries. The library services issue will be discussed during the Carle Place Board of Education meeting scheduled for tonight, Jan. 18, which is open to the public.
"We're meeting with representatives from two different libraries in the area - Westbury Public Library and the East Meadow Public Library," said Michael Mostow, superintendent of Carle Place Schools. He noted that the purpose of the meeting is "to select and enter into a contract with a public library to provide public library services for the residents of the Carle Place Union Free School District."
In the past, residents in districts without a public library had been able to purchase a library card at a library in a neighboring community. However, under new state regulations, this is no longer allowed. Now, in accordance with the New York State Board of Regents Requirements, school districts without a public library must find a way to provide those services for their residents.
As the district is faced with this responsibility, the contracting of library services seems to be more sensible than building a library, Mostow noted, because the district is too small to support such a costly endeavor.
Following a resolution by the board, the district will hold public hearings, and ultimately, a referendum on the matter, according to the superintendent. He added that if the referendum is approved, and the district enters into a contract, a library tax would be levied by the Town of North Hempstead.
"We're going to explore the possibilities. And once the board of education makes a decision as to which way to go, there will be public hearings on it, and then ultimately a vote," said Mostow. "Hopefully before the end of the school year, there will be some definitive movement from the community, the residents of the Carle Place School district, as to what they want to do."
As the process gets under way, some controversy has arisen concerning who is involved the discussions. Thomas Sobczak, an independent advocate for library services in Carle Place who also serves on the district's budget advisory committee, has criticized the district for including only the Carle Place Civic Association in the fact-finding portion of the process. "They're elevating one set of citizens," said Sobczak, adding that he and other residents are eager to be a part of the process.
In response, Mostow has said the board has selected the civic association to take part in discussions because the group has been at the forefront of the issue. He added that all district residents are welcome to attend tonight's meeting, although only those parties chosen by the board may be involved in the board discussion segment. This matter may be addressed further at tonight's meeting.
For further information on tonight's Carle Place Board of Education meeting, one may call the district at 622-6442.