Library annex a go for Medford
After Senate passage, bill moves to the Assembly, where it should be approved by the end of session
The New York State Senate approved legislation that would allow the Patchogue-Medford Library to open a branch in Medford. The annex will be located at the Medford Athletic Complex on Horseblock Road, which is currently town parkland that has been cleared for the building.
“When you enter a library, you open your mind to endless opportunities through resources free of charge, including books, internet access and educational and professional training programs,” said Sen. Monica Martinez, who took over the bill when she joined the Senate in January. “The residents of Medford deserve equitable access to these resources, and for that reason I was proud to champion this bill.”
The bill has stalled in the Legislature for a couple of years, but some movement was finally seen this session. It allows the Town of Brookhaven to lease the parkland to the library for up to 30 years. A covenant in the bill states that the town must provide an equal value of parkland or capital improvements to existing parkland as a trade-off. Supervisor Ed Romaine said one of the first things he reached out to Martinez for was the library bill and was glad to see it finally pass.
“It’s a great day for the library,” he said.
The bill is now headed to the state Assembly Ways and Means committee, which determines any financial impact to the state, according to Assemb. Joe DeStefano, who sponsors the assembly bill. He expects it to be in the committee shortly and will work to move it as quickly as possible to the floor for a vote, since there is no fiscal impact on the state.
DeStefano said this has been a decades-long fight to establish this branch, and the reality is very close. He remembers growing up in Medford and how the plan was first launched, saying that it is something the community has always wanted. Heidi Nathan, a Medford resident, is also looking forward to this project. Her four young kids are beginning to, or already, love reading, and she has to pack them all up and drive to Main Street in Patchogue just to access library services. And Nathan’s mother, Joan Nathan, remembers looking for library services in 1986 when she moved to Medford, attending meetings beginning in 1987 to advocate for a Medford annex.
“The Patchogue-Medford Library director Danielle Paisley and staff offer wonderful opportunities to all residents of the Patchogue-Medford area,” Joan Nathan said. “We look forward to increasing access and adding new programs with the newly planned annex.”
Paisley said the new space could be finished within two years. It will be a 5,000-square-foot building, about twice the size of the Carnegie Library in Patchogue, which houses the Patchogue-Medford Library teen center. The Medford Hamlet Foundation has donated over $1 million to the construction. The annex will have large community rooms and access to special programs for kids.
“The Medford community is now one step closer to enhanced library services right in their neighborhood,” Paisley said. “This means increased access to materials, information, career resources, ESL classes, homework help and lots more.”
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