Around the Island

Richard’s Almanac: Opportunities at the library

JO ANN KIRKLAND PHOTO | Columnist Richard Lomuscio
JO ANN KIRKLAND PHOTO | Columnist Richard Lomuscio

We certainly have one great library here on this little Island. The offerings for senior citizens are extensive and varied. I had the opportunity to speak with the new director, Terry Lucas, last Saturday. I was checking out some new fiction when I figured I would try to get the answer to a question.

I’d always been curious about getting books to the house-bound. The library performs that service for seniors and others in need of it. Just call the library at 749-0042 and the book will be delivered.

Terry said that as she gets settled into her new post, she wants all seniors to feel that the library is sensitive to their needs.

As an example, she pointed to after-school time — the time when kids fill the space. It seems that when school is out, many students choose to spend their time hanging out at the library. I think that’s great!

Kids wanting to spend their time after school in the library. The staff is very youth-friendly so old guys like me who go there about 3 p.m. find the decibel level a bit too high.

The director told me she plans to place comfortable furniture in the book sale room on the library’s lower level so other patrons can have a quiet space at that time. I generally try to make my visits in the morning so I can read the newspapers I am not subscribing to anymore.

The library has subscriptions to the New York Times, Newsday, the Wall Street Journal, the Suffolk Times and the Reporter. The library also has subscriptions to 36 periodicals. By taking advantage of the newspapers and magazines at the library, you could save $100 a month.

Not a negligible sum if you are on a fixed income.

Something else I learned is that our library does not employ the Dewey Decimal System. Books are filed by subject indexing. Terry explained that it’s easier to do this in a small library. “A large facility could not do it,” she said.

She added that she is trying to build up the large print collection. “If there’s a title we do not have, we’ll get it in a few days, the same way we do with other titles.”

Kindles are coming too. In the near future, the library will have them circulate like books. These are particularly helpful to seniors because the users are able to enlarge the print to suit their needs.

Among the many opportunities for seniors are mystery and fiction book clubs, backgammon, knitting  and Scrabble clubs, Tuesday night Movies at the Library and Friday Night Dialogues — all free of charge.

I have had a Shelter Island Library card for 43 years and am very grateful for what is provided for young and old alike.