New chapter at the tiny Baiting Hollow Free Library

07/06/2014 8:00 AM |
Thelma Stanza has been busy alphabetizing the books inside the tiny Baiting Hollow Library. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

Thelma Stanza has been busy alphabetizing the books inside the tiny Baiting Hollow Library. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

The walkway to Baiting Hollow Free Library connects directly with Warner Drive: no parking lot, no parking spots. The 110-year-old library still requires patrons to complete sign-out sheets for books, instead of using its single public-access computer, and opens its doors just two days a week for six hours a day.

And new librarian Thelma Stanza of Calverton plans on keeping that old-time charm. 

“I don’t want to change anything,” she said. “It’s the perfect little North Fork gem. I want to keep the history.”

On a recent morning, as her husband, Ron, listened in, Ms. Stanza sat at the only table in the one-room library and immediately began sharing her excitement about her new position.

She officially became the head — and only — librarian on June 1. She trained for the position with former librarian Charlotte Jacques for a few months before starting the job.

A frequent visitor to Baiting Hollow Free Library over the years, Ms. Stanza chalks up her decision to take the job to timing.
“I’ve wanted to do it and the opportunity arose at the perfect time. I decided to retire from banking right around when Charlotte decided to retire,” Ms. Stanza said. “I’m very, very excited about it. It’s something I knew I would love doing.”

Ms. Stanza, who has spent most of her career in banking, has some past experience as a librarian, although she claims it was “years and years ago.”

Since stepping into the position, her main focus has been reorganizing by moving books so that fiction is in alphabetical order by author’s last name and non-fiction works follow the Dewey Decimal system.

The library’s four walls are lined with shelves filled top to bottom with approximately 6,000 books, including fiction, non-fiction, children/young adult and reference works plus a small audio book section.

After the reorganization is complete, Ms. Stanza has no plans for other improvements.