A renovating project delayed by circumstances related to COVID-19 and building supply shortages has resulted in the temporary relocation of the Mastics-Moriches-Shirley Community Library.
Library and Brookhaven Town officials announced this week that starting June 6, main library services will be shifted to the Mastic Recreation Center at 15 Herkimer St. in Mastic. Construction delays at the library’s new satellite branches in Mastic and Moriches and the need to keep the renovation of the main library in Shirley on-schedule and within budget led to this week’s announcement.
“This move is fiscally responsible and will allow us to keep the main library renovation on-track,” Library Director Kerri Rosalia said, while noting that Brookhaven has agreed to permit the library to operate from the recreation center at no cost,
Construction of the two satellite branches was originally scheduled to be completed by the first quarter of 2022. Based on updated estimates, the Mastic Beach facility will be finished by October and the Moriches branch will be open by December.
Core library services will be moved to the new branches when construction is complete and will continue at those facilities while the main library undergoes a more extensive 18-month long renovation.
“We have been working to expedite this project wherever possible,” said Chris Barletta, operations manager of Sandpebble Builders, Inc., the construction manager for the project. “But COVID-19 delays and international supply chain issues are well outside of our control.”
Barletta said building supply price escalations combined with the contractual rise in construction labor costs means that every additional month that the main library stays open will cost taxpayers at least $50,000.
“We need to make this move now to stay within the allotted budget approved by taxpayers in 2019,” Barletta said.
The main library services offered at the 6,625-square-foot Mastic Recreation Center will include computers, internet access, reference, book and media lending, and a myriad of indoor programs, officials said.
“Community residents have come to expect a wide range of educational and informational services and programs from our library, and we intend on continuing to deliver on that promise,” commented library board president Joseph Maiorana. “In the coming weeks, complete information and program schedules will be mailed to residents as well as posted to our website and Facebook page.”
Rosalia added that a “perfect storm” of extraordinary and unexpected circumstances, combined with a time-consuming and exhaustive search for no-cost, temporary operating space, left little time for the library to communicate its revised plans to the community.
“While this move may cause some temporary disruption and inconvenience, we ask the community to take the long view – with patience and understanding as we build a better library system for the future of all our residents,” she said.
The main library will close June 3 at 6 p.m., and then reopen on Monday, June 6, at the recreation center.
It will be open Monday to Thursday, from 9 a.m.-9 p.m.; Friday from 9 a.m.-6 p.m.; and Saturday from 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Featured photo: (From left) MMS Community Library Trustee Joseph Furnari, MMS Community Library Director Kerri Rosalia, MMS Community Library Vice President Wendy Gross, Pete Costelloe with the Knights of Columbus; Hon. Brookhaven Town Supervisor Ed Romaine, Brookhaven Deputy Town Supervisor Dan Panico, and; Ken Olivo with the Knights of Columbus (Courtesy photo).