It's Germane

The John Jermain Library's Weblog

83% Vote Yes for Library Renovation and Expansion

5 Comments

All we can say is WOW and THANK YOU SAG HARBOR! We are thrilled by the community’s overwhelmingly positive (642-137) response to the renovation and expansion plan.

If we were surprised by the numbers (and some of us were), we shouldn’t have been. After all, this is a plan developed jointly with the Sag Harbor community. Consistently, you have been there  for the library over the last several years, attending meetings, calling with your suggestions and ideas, asking thoughtful questions, and expressing your support for the library. We believe this is your plan as much as it is ours. Your fingerprints are all over it, and we hope they will continue to be as we continue to refine and improve the plan through the rest of the desgin process.

As happy as we are with the result of the referendum, yesterday was a very special day here for another reason. Everyone who worked at the library throughout the day was deeply moved not only by the number of people who turned out to vote, but also by their spirit. What a great community Sag Harbor is, and how happy we are to be a part of it. So many of you came to vote, and then stopped to chat with staff members, and other friends from the community who were here as well. The neighborly atmosphere was infectious, cheering us throughout the day.  Gradually, too, we were instilled  with a sense that on one level the outcome of the vote didn’t matter at all, because the mission of the library — to serve our community — was being validated over and over throughout the  day, as many who came to vote, also stayed to take out books, DVDs and more. Not a few people also used the opportunity to sign up for or renew library cards. It was quite a day.

Well, we’re celebrating today, but much hard work remains. In the months ahead, we’ll be applying ourselves to the task of making sure the “new” John Jermain Memorial Library continues to provide the best possible service to our community. As always, your input and participation in the process is not only happily accepted, but also actively encouraged.

Author: John Jermain Memorial Library

The John Jermain Memorial Library is the public library in Sag Harbor, NY. Founded in 1910, the library building and initial collection was a gift from Margaret Olivia Slocum Sage to the people of Sag Harbor. From June 2011 to July 2013 the library will be located at 34 W. Water St., in Sag Harbor, while our historic building is renovated and expanded.

5 thoughts on “83% Vote Yes for Library Renovation and Expansion

  1. It is hard to tell exactly from the rendering but the new addition seems stark and modern. I guess there are many examples around the country of older style structures that have modern style additions but this would be the first in the middle of the residential part of Sag Harbor’s historic district. I would prefer a design that blended in with the existing building and the surrounding neighborhood better – that was rounded, not squared off and that continued or suggested the brick and stone look of the existing columns and facade.

  2. Dear Mr. McGuire,
    Thank you for your comment and for your interest in the future of the library. I hope you will continue to share your ideas on the project, which will be discussed at Village meetings this fall during the permitting process.
    Part of the reason the new addition looks “different” is because the Secretary of the Interior’s Guidelines for the Rehabilitation of Historic Buildings state that “if, after a thorough evaluation of interior solutions, an exterior addition is still judged to be the only viable alterative, it should be designed and constructed to be clearly differentiated from the historic building.” Earlier this year we had the expansion plans reviewed by the State Office of Parks, Restoration and Historic Preservation to make sure the design met their standards and received a “No Adverse Impact” ruling from them.
    If you have time, please stop by my office and I can show you the detailed plans, or call me at 631.725.0049 x23. Again, thank you.
    Catherine Creedon, Director

    • I wonder if “clearly designated from the historic building” means that it should be the opposite of the original structure and and share no common characteristics ? Or rather, does it mean simply that the new structure should not be a fake copy of the original ? Obviously, I think the latter. The new structure could be trimmed in brick and stone to suggest the historic building and not have a flat roof. It could have larger windows and other features that would be both beneficial to the library experience and also differentiate it from the original, but not clearly place it in an entirely different architectural style, and introduce a completely new element to the historic district.
      There are historic buildings all over Sag Harbor that have had recent additions, (Some are within sight of the library !), but none of them are starkly modern.
      Thanks for the opportunity to comment and I won’t say more until this comes before the public.

  3. Hello folks, I would also like to make a remark about the current design for the addition to our library. While I understand that there are many guidelines which require us to design the space in a certain way, I feel we should consider more carefully where the addition sits on the property. I feel the new addition would look less conspicuous and would be more neighborhood friendly if it were not built to extend to the south so much, ie. if the entire proposed structure could be shifted towards Union St. This would be kinder to the library’s neighbor whose existing exposure to afternoon sun will be extinguished with the current plan. I don’t think it would lessen the library’s access to afternoon light much. From what I can tell from the plans available for viewing, this shift appears possible and in the best intrerests of all.

  4. Dear Deidre,
    Thank you so much for your comments, and for your ongoing engagement with the plans of the library. We anticipate making our submissions to the various Village boards in the upcoming weeks, and I hope that you, other readers of this blog, and the community at large take advantage of that public opportunity to discuss the library project.

    It’s difficult to fully respond to your concerns in this forum, but I will try to do so—and please feel free to come to my office if you wish to discuss it further. The board and I have been conscious of the possible impact of the building expansion on the neighborhood. We had the architects scale back the south wing during the pre-referendum design process, pulling that area back significantly from the initial designs.

    We also asked that the architects create computer-generated shadow models to get a sense of how the building would affect the light on neighboring properties, in fact, the building does not cast shadows on our Jefferson Street neighbors because of its orientation—I have the models if you’d like to stop by and study them.

    The scale of the new addition has been designed to match the scale of the surrounding neighbors, rather than the scale of the existing library, so that looking up both Union and Jefferson from Main Street the addition “reads” as a residence—again, I have the drawings available for any one in the community to review.

    We did explore using more of the area to the North on our lot, but there were problems with setbacks, and utility placements (the locations of which are determined by code) that made that area of the property more difficult to develop. Our lot is five-sided, with three front yards—beautiful, elegant, and a bit challenging. I am very excited about the proposed plans, and the potential they offer for the community, and hope you can stop by to see them in detail.

    Best,
    Catherine Creedon, Director

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