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Merrick Library History 2

Page history last edited by Bill Keogan 3 years, 11 months ago
Click here for Part 1 of the history of Merrick Library.
In 2000 Merrick Library Director Michael Hodgson retired, and Sonya Minkoff became acting director.
In September 2001 Newsday reported "A very familiar face at the Merrick Library, Florence Astarita, had been a library employee for 60 years."
The Reading Groups Book: 2002-2003 Edition noted that "Pamela Lieber has been
running a book discussion group at the Merrick Library on Long Island for 
fourteen years: — The group has grown in number so we have two sittings 
for the same monthly selection."


By the year 2000, it had become apparent that the building that had opened in 1962 could not longer meet the needs of the new century.  In April 2002 the community pass a bond for the construction of a new building


to be built on the site the library currently occupied (2279 Merrick Avenue). 


Ellen Firer became the Merrick Library Director in February 2003.   The following year she was named Merrick Professional of the Year by the Merrick Chamber of Commerce.



Merrick Library Director Ellen Firer


During construction of the new building, the library planned to operate in two sites--the original building (called the Merrick Library Wing) at 2369 Merrick Avenue and a small satellite office at the Merrick LIRR train station, called the Merrick Library Express.  Unfortunately, in August 2004 there was a fire at the Wing, and the Merrick Library Express became the center of operations during the remaining construction time.  After the fire in the Wing, Merrick Library hired the company H2M to handle renovations that were completed in 2008.  


The current Merrick Library building opened in the fall of 2005.  On December 6 of that year Newsday reported "After three years of working to expand and improve its offerings, the Merrick Library has opened its new building. The library, which was established in 1891, grew too cramped for its previous facility, and in 2002 voters approved a $10 million referendum to make improvements.  The new library, which opened Friday, has an expanded children's

area  with a programming room, a larger multipurpose room for community groups and cultural programming, a teen room with computers, wireless hot spots and a new self-service checkout."


The construction of a new building fit into a pattern of library development in the county.  In October 2006 Newsday reported that "Of the 55 public libraries in Nassau County, 18 have undergone extensive renovations since 2000."   In its new building Merrick Library offered new services such as WiFi and an increased number of public computers.  It also greatly expanded the space available for programs ranging from musical performances to almost daily yoga classes.  Exhibits of the works of local artists regularly grace the walls of the library's two multi-purpose rooms.  


Merrick Library's children's room


Most of the library's second floor floor is taken up by an impressive children's room, one of whose major attractions is a large fish tank. The spaciousness of this room has allowed the creation of the unique "Corner of 5th and 6th" as an area for fifth and sixth graders.  The second floor also includes quiet study rooms, and with a young adult area serving Merrick's teen population.


Corner of 5th and 6th



In 2010, at their annual luncheon the Tobacco Action Coalition of Long Island recognized Merrick Library for its tobacco-free grounds policy, which forbids smoking on library property, including the Astarita Garden.  That same year the Merrick Herald had an item noting that Merrick Library had been officially named a "Family Place Library, part of  the nationally recognized Family Place Network, serving as a center for early childhood information, parent education, emergent literacy and family support." 



Maureen Garvey


In September 2010, Maureen Garvey-- a long-time member of the Merrick Library staff, most recently serving as assistant director-- became director at the Bellmore Memorial Library.




The Dictionary of American History says "In the opening years of the twenty-first century, one aspect of the public library that is assuming more importance is its role as a place where members of a community can come together."  Merrick Library exemplifies this idea by being the site of numerous meetings, serving as a local polling place for elections, hosting AARP income tax preparation help sessions for seniors, and regularly scheduling blood drives. 



Merrick Library's Reference Desk


Over the last two decades, the library has added steadily to its online resources.  Library patrons have access to an array of databases--both in the library and at home.



Front entrance of Merrick Library


These days, Merick Library serves a population of some 18,500 residents.  The collection includes almost 74,000 volumes.  The library has an annual circulation of 232,186.  More than 300,000 people walk through Merrick Library's doors in a year.  The library publishes a newsletter called Access listing its numerous activities. 



Keeping up with technology, in 2010 Merrick Library began to tweet on Twitter and started a Readers' Advisory blog. Of course, it also has a general Facebook page and one for its Young Adult services, not to mention a presence on Flikr.  The library provides online access to an array e-books and and audio books through the Nassau Digital Doorway.  The library also encourages reading by gathering multiple copies of books for a number of book clubs in the community.  Merrick Library took a further step in this direction by instituting a Book Club in a Bag program, in which patrons can check out 10 copies of selected novels that come packaged with materials to promote discussion.  The library sponsors summer reading programs for children, teens, and adults.


In recent developments, Merrick Library became the first library in Nassau County to implement RFID including two self checkout machines. 


Among its other services the library offers its patrons free passes to a number of museums in the New York area. 


During the national economic downturn at this time, the library provided information and services for those who were looking for work or planning to change careers. Numerous people used the library's public computers to learn new technological skills and to create and send out resumes to prospective employers.



Miriam Wanderman 


In 2011, the Merrick Chamber of Commerce named longtime library board member Miriam (MeMe) Wanderman Merrick Woman of the Year.


In autumn 2012, Hurricane Sandy ravaged Merrick and the surrounding communities.  In the aftermath of the storm Merrick Library acted as a warming center and community hub,  welcoming an overflow of people, who came to get information about disaster relief, use computer facilities, charge cell phones, study and escape the cold temperatures.  During this crisis, the library opened two additional days it had originally been scheduled to be closed to serve the needs of the community.



3D Printer.


In February 2013, Merrick Library set up the Walter Mintz Digital Media Center, which was designed as a makerspace, a DIY place where creators can gather to design, invent, learn and collaborate.  The center has three 3D printers and four Mac computers, and a digital scanner.



Merrick Library started the 2020s with a new director Dan Chuzmir,


Merrick Director Dan Chuzmir




Merrick Library has an active Friends group.



The Library's Logo



Merrick Library, located at 2279 S.Merrick Avenue in Merrick, NY,  is a member of the Nassau Library Systen and Long Island Library Resources Council.  



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