07/21/13 12:00pm
07/21/2013 12:00 PM

CLAIRE LEADEN PHOTO | Riverhead Free Library has a self-checkout machine for those wanting to grab a book and go.

 

In recent years, libraries have become much more than just places to borrow books. Patrons have also become accustomed to checking out music and movies and attending classes at their local library.

Still, there are a few things you might not even know your library offers. For example, all Suffolk County libraries accept cards from any library in the county, so feel free to visit the other book lenders if you’re interested. Keep in mind, though, that each library may have its own restrictions about lending items to non-residents.

Here are some unique possibilities available to you at libraries across the North Fork. Some of these features are available in multiple locations, so call ahead to your own local library to see if they offer a similar program or service.

Riverhead Free Library, 727-3228

There is a whole section of the Riverhead library’s website dedicated just to the services it offers. In the library building itself there is a book and magazine magnifier for the sight-impaired, a self-checkout machine for checking materials out quickly, and multiple rooms that can be reserved for no charge by any non-profit organization or group.

Riverhead also offers museum passes at their reference desk and has volunteers that deliver materials to those who need it.

North Shore Public Library, Wading River, 929-4488

North Shore Public Library offers tons of fun for kids — there are Nooks for checkout, iPads for library use and even video games that kids can borrow for PlayStation 3, Wii and Xbox.

For older audiences, the library offers discounted subscriptions to the Metropolitan Opera and New York Philharmonic, with transportation available to and from the library. Museum passes are also available for borrowing.

Floyd Memorial Library, Greenport, 477-0660

If you want to exercise your mind, Floyd Memorial allows patrons to take out jigsaw puzzles. It also has a slide projector for rental and a large graphic novel collection in its book section.

Recently, the library established a digital magazine collection so cardholders can read a variety of magazines for free right on their computers. Also, for Orient residents who don’t want to travel to Greenport to check out books, the reference librarian sets up a “pop up” library at the Orient Country Store twice a month with a selection of books to choose from.

Southold Free Library, 765-2077

Patrons of Southold Free Library can use their library cards to borrow Kindles, iPads and Nooks and enjoy reading in a more modern way. Another option that’s uncommon among libraries is that Southold offers fishing poles to take out.

“It’s an idea I came up with last summer,” library director Caroline MacArthur said. “We live in a summer community so it’s perfect for out here.”

The tablets and fishing poles, however, are available only to Southold library cardholders.

The library’s computers are loaded with the Ancestry Plus program, which allows patrons to look up their family history and trace their genealogy for free.

Patrons can also purchase tickets to the Long Island Aquarium in Riverhead at a discounted $14. And for anyone in Southold or Peconic who is unable to make it to the library in person, there are volunteers who will deliver books to them.

Cutchogue New Suffolk Free Library, 734-6360

The Cutchogue library also has a homebound program, but rather than deliver books in person it does so by mail to anyone who cannot visit the library. Through “live-brary,” the cooperative website of all Suffolk County libraries, Cutchogue also offers the Mango language-learning program. There is a wide variety of choices on the website, but if you’d rather not learn online, Cutchogue also holds an Italian conversation class every Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. during July.

There is also a new service on the library’s website called Indieflix, which allows patrons to stream films from independent festivals. There are also iPads available for use within the library.

Mattituck-Laurel Library, 298-4134

The Mattituck library is a designated Family Place Library, offering many services for both children and adults. When school starts again, children going into preschool and kindergarten can borrow backpacks filled with DVDs, books and other materials to help them prepare for the new school experience. Educational toys are also available for children to check out and there are laptops and iPads that can be used in the library’s children’s room. New parents can pick up an Infant Kit filled with materials and information for parents of newborns.

Adult services include a library card smartphone app, which has the patron’s library barcode on it so there is no need to have a library card anymore. The library also offers free passes to nine different museums, including many in New York City.

Patrons can gain access to the program Freegal, which downloads songs, for no charge, and Zinio, which provides free online subscriptions to magazines.

Patrons at each of these libraries can manage their library account online. After opening an account you can reserve and renew books, pay fines and view the history of books checked out.

Visit live-brary.com for access to all the information and services from libraries in Suffolk County, and check out each library’s own website for newsletters featuring the many programs for children, teens and adults that are hosted all summer long.

intern@timesreview.com

06/28/13 4:31pm
06/28/2013 4:31 PM
Segal retirement in Riverhead

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Corky Segal received this purple cowgirl hat as a retirement gift Friday. Here she poses with her husband, Mickey Segal, who has worn his cowboy hat for many years but has never been on a horse in his life. They both turned 85 on Thursday.

Corinne (Corky) Segal has sat at the guest reception desk at Riverhead Free Library for 27 years, serving as a circulation clerk.

Her work that began in the 1980s came to a close Friday. But first, she was recognized at a retirement party in her honor.

She was mostly roasted during the event by circulation director Liz Stokes, who told stories of Ms. Segal’s fast driving, complete with anecdotes of getting out of speeding tickets, in one case by telling a police officer “I changed your diapers.”

After once receiving a ticket, she later told a judge, “Your mother and I were in the delivery room together.”

The ticket was promptly dismissed.

As a gift, Ms. Stokes gave her a poster size speed limit sign that reads: “Speed Limit 35 mph” and then “Except for Segal Family.”

Ms. Segal summed up her many years at the library as so: ”It’s a second family. They are all so wonderful. They are always there for me.”

“Corky taught us to give with your heart,” Ms. Stokes said.

“She is Riverhead Free Library.”

photo@timesreview.com

06/26/13 8:00am
06/26/2013 8:00 AM

Most children count down the days until school gets out for summer, but for those who receive their only meal of the day during school hours, the thought of three months off does not hold the same feeling of excitement.

Over 90,000 children on Long Island receive free or reduced-cost school lunches, but when summer arrives their main source of nourishment is taken away. Luckily, Island Harvest, the biggest hunger relief organization on Long Island, has a summer food service program for children in this exact position. And, for the second year in a row, Riverhead Free Library is a feeding site for local youth in need.

“Island Harvest approached us last year about becoming an open feeding site,” said Laurie Harrison, head of children’s services at the library. “They wanted us to provide, along with the location, an educational and literary aspect, so that’s why I agreed.”

In addition to the food, the library also encourages the children to take part in the summer reading program and collects book donations so children can leave with at least one book each.

“I feel that it’s not just a meal project, because it was very evident last year that this was most of the children and their caretakers’ first time at the library,” acting Library Director Pamm Trojanowski said. “It’s a chance to feed not only the body, but the mind as well.

“When they come they find out that they can get a library card, which opens a whole other world of opportunity for them. It’s just amazing for us on staff to watch.”

Island Harvest chooses communities for the summer food service program by looking at the number of children who qualify for discounted or free school lunches in the area. Just over 50 percent of students in the Riverhead school district qualify. Ms. Harrison also said the Riverhead demographics fit the census requirements to take part of the program.

This summer, the program starts on July 8 and will run for five weeks. Children under the age of 18 can go to the library Mondays through Fridays from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. to enjoy a free, nutritious lunch.

The visitors don’t have to meet any criteria to receive the meal, but children under the age of 10 must be accompanied by an adult. The Riverhead Library is different from most of the other summer feeding sites in Suffolk County because it is an open site, meaning that community members do not need to enroll to receive a meal. Anyone can walk in during the open time slot.

“One thing about being an open site is that we’re never sure who will be coming through the door,” Ms. Harrison said. “We don’t know their age, or how many there will be that day — it’s challenging.”

Typically, children receive a sandwich, milk, fruit cup and an apple. On one special day of the week they are treated to a slice of pizza, milk, juice, fruit cup and a granola bar.

Last year, the library gave out 1,068 meals during the 39 days of the program, and that was with very little publicity.

“I think we barely scratched the iceberg,” she said of the numbers. “It’s such a big community and the library is difficult to get to and across town from a lot of people. We’re just doing the little bit that we can to help.”

Though being a feeding site is a lot of work for the library, Ms. Harrison said that being involved is very rewarding for all of the employees.

“It’s definitely hectic having to count the food when it comes in, making sure everything is fresh … it’s time consuming,” she said. “But it really is so satisfying to see the children being able to eat and relax and read for a little while.

“You just don’t realize how many hungry people there are until you literally see them sitting there waiting for a little something to eat that day.”

intern@timesreview.com

04/21/13 6:00pm
04/21/2013 6:00 PM
PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | (L-R) Melanie Leathers and her sister Vanessa Wigington moments after the charter school lottery ended.

PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | Melanie Leathers (left) and her sister Vanessa Wigington moments after the charter school lottery ended.

Vanessa Wigington leaned forward in her chair as the man at the front of the room continued to pull slips of paper from the bowl in front of him. There were just twelve charter school kindergarten spaces available now. Her 4-year-old son James would have to get in. He had to.

“Number 36,” the man said, “James -”

Ms. Wigington’s eyes widened.

“-Marlules,” he finished.

She sank back into her chair. The wrong James. Not her son, who suffers from hearing loss and could benefit from the charter school’s smaller class sizes.

Ms. Wigington turned to her sister in the chair next to her and mouthed, “I’m going to throw up.”

The Riverhead Charter School held a lottery at the Riverhead Free Library Wednesday evening to fill open positions in the school’s kindergarten, grade 1, 2, and 6 programs.

Charter school executive director Raymond Ankrum said the lottery was the first of its kind at the school, which saw more applications before the deadline this year than ever before.

Normally, the school will put students on a waiting list if they apply after the April 1 deadline, but this year the school received more applicants before the deadline than they had spots to fill, he said.

“For us to have that many applicants, it’s pretty good,” Mr. Ankrum said.

Students who had siblings in the school or were from Riverhead were given preference, then out of town students were called. The dozen or so students who didn’t get in will be placed on a waiting list based on the date of their application, school officials said.

Some parents smiled as their child’s name was called, others whispered a quiet “yes” in celebration. Some high-fived their kids fidgeting in the chairs next to them.

The basement meeting room where the lottery was held was mostly empty; parents who did not attend the lottery will be notified if the child made it into the school or not.

Steve and Shirley Burgess of Middle Island were at the lottery with their three grandchildren, whom they care for. The oldest, 6-year-old Vitali, was placed on a waiting list for first grade, while his younger sister, Amya, was accepted into the kindergarten program.

Ms. Burgess said the family isn’t happy with the quality of Vitali’s education, and were hopeful he would get into the charter school off the wait list.

“That’s all we can ask for right now,” she said.

About 6:45 p.m., the man pulling the names from the bowl, auditor Elliatt Di Lieto, made the announcement for the kindergarten applicants.

“There’s three more seats left,” he said.

In her seat, Ms. Wigington was perfectly still. Her sister, Melanie Leathers, held her hands over her mouth. Another name called, not her son. Two spots left, and three student’s names left in the bowl. The last student called wouldn’t get in and would have to be placed on the waiting list.

Mr. Dilieto pulled a yellow slip from the bowl and read the name.

“Number 46,” he said. “James Wigington.”

Ms. Wigington threw her hands into the air, her face frozen in shock, and her sister clapped and started laughing. The two hugged, and Ms. Wigington sighed. After the lottery, she couldn’t stop smiling.

“I was freaking out,” she said. “I was just nervous it wasn’t going [to happen]. I was thinking of how much I would have to pay for a private school.”

James is now a student at Cleary School for the Deaf in Nesconset. He’ll join his cousin, Ms. Leathers’ daughter, at the Charter School this year. Because he’s enrolled, his 2-year-old sister will get preference when it’s her turn to join the school two years from now.

“Just complete relief and excitement,” Ms. Wigington said. “I’m very excited.”

psquire@timesreview.com

04/02/13 7:50pm
04/02/2013 7:50 PM
NEWS-REVIEW FILE PHOTO | The Riverhead Free Library's budget vote is TK.

FILE PHOTO | Riverhead Free Library’s budget passed Tuesday night.

Voters approved proposed budgets from the Riverhead Free Library, Baiting Hollow Free Library and North Shore Public Library on Tuesday.

Riverhead Free Library officials announced shortly after 8:20 p.m. that its budget passed by a 202 to 55 vote. The Baiting Hollow Free Library’s budget also passed by a 180 to 76 vote, officials said.

About an hour later, North Shore Public Library officials announced its budget passed by a 200 to 24 vote.

Prior coverage:

Voters  in the area’s three public library systems head to the polls today, Tuesday, to vote on operating budgets for the 2013-14 fiscal year.

The Riverhead Free Library is proposing a $3.8 million preliminary spending plan, which officials say carries a roughly 4.7 percent increase to the tax levy due to rising employee benefit costs coupled with a loss in revenue.

Library director Lisa Jacobs said the proposed hike to the tax levy —  the total amount of taxes collected in the entire district — pierces the state’s mandated 2 percent cap since the library doesn’t qualify for any exemptions to the tax levy cap, such as certain employee benefits and capital improvements.

Although school districts require 60 percent voter approval in order to pierce the tax cap, Ms. Jacobs said a library’s Board of Trustees only needs to approve the plan by a “50 percent plus one” vote and win a simple majority from the public vote.

“We came in under the cap last year by using some fund balance,” she said. “Unfortunately, it’s very difficult to [come under the cap again] without cutting services this year.”

Ms. Jacobs said anticipated increases in the New York State Retirement System and a loss in revenue from “contract” users makes up the majority of the tax hike.

Residents of the East Quogue, Eastport-South Manor, Remsenburg-Speonk and East Moriches school districts make-up Riverhead Free Library’s contract users. Ms. Jacobs said many of them have decided to go with other libraries that have recently been renovated on the South Fork instead.

“If they work in Riverhead, then they’ll usually sign-up here,” she said. “But, typically, they’ll go with other libraries that have newer buildings.”

Ms. Jacobs said next year’s spending plan contains the final debt service payment of the bonds issued in 1998 for the library’s expansion. She described Riverhead Free Library’s spending as “conservative” while continuing to offer new services, such as its E-book program. Materials are downloaded to electronic devices and are loaned through a digital license that only lasts a certain time, she said.

“I certainly hope our community recognizes the services we offer and the tremendous value they get,” Ms. Jacobs said.

The tax levy increase correlates to about $7 per year increase for the average Riverhead taxpayer based on current assessments and equalization rates, she said.

Because the library’s district covers three towns — Riverhead, Southampton and Brookhaven — tax rates for each town will not be known until later in the year.

The Riverhead Free Library vote runs from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the library on 330 Court Street.

Any registered voter in the Riverhead School District can vote in both the Riverhead library vote and the Baiting Hollow Free Library vote, which takes place at the same time and place and is on the same ballot as the Riverhead vote. In the case of both libraries, today’s vote is technically a vote on whether the Riverhead Central School District should contract for library services at the above mentioned budget amounts.

The Baiting Hollow Free Library preliminary spending plan is $11,800, up $100 from the previous year’s budget. The Baiting Hollow Free Library budget has traditionally increased by $100 each year.

North Shore Public Library officials in Shoreham are asking voters to approve a $3.68 million spending plan carrying a 1.9 percent increase to the tax levy.

The library director there, Laura Hawrey, said by prioritizing projects and applying reserves such as fund balance, the budget fit under the state mandated 2 percent cap. The tax levy — the amount of cash the library collects from taxpayers — is expected to increase to $3.46 million.

“We spent a lot of time going over the budget and we’re very proud we’ve had minimal spending increases,” she said.

Ms. Hawrey said the tax hike is the result of the library increasing programs, online resources and its E-books service. The changes are needed in order to meet the demands of residents, she said.

During the 2011-12 fiscal year, the library raised the tax levy for the first time in four years. If approved, Ms. Hawrey said the proposed budget will cost approximately $7 per year more than last year for the average household.

Registered voters in the Shoreham-Wading River and Rocky Point school districts can vote in the North Shore Public Library budget vote from 9:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.

The library is located at 250 Route 25A in Shoreham.

TIMES/REVIEW FILE PHOTO | North Shore Public Library's budget vote is Tuesday.

FILE PHOTO | North Shore Public Library’s budget passed Tuesday night.

08/18/12 2:30pm
08/18/2012 2:30 PM

KATHARINE SCHROEDER PHOTO | Hannah Keiffert and James Yaiullo perform “Knights of Cydonia”

Management Productions, a group of friends with a passion for theater, held their third annual “Evening of Stuff” variety show at the Riverhead Library Friday night, entertaining a full house with music and sketches. The free performance also featured dance and comedy.

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KATHARINE SCHROEDER PHOTOS