Around the Island

Richard’s almanac: Love for the Library


As I was driving the other day, my ears perked up when I heard some guy talking about a recent study that showed that teenagers read very little or not at all. They’re too tuned in to all the electronic gadgets.

I find that hard to believe, knowing what I do about my grandchildren’s reading habits and my own kids’ love of the printed word.

So I decided to talk to Shelter Island Library Director Terry Lucas to get her take on kids’ reading habits.

“You’ll always have readers,” Terry said, adding that whether they’re reading hardback or paperback books, audio books or e-books or manga or graphic novels, they’re experiencing literature.

“The ‘Harry Potter’ books brought many kids to reading,” she said, noting that word of mouth was very important in determining what books kids would read.

I remember more than a half century ago when “Catcher in the Rye” was not on any reading list but kids all over just gobbled it up. Holden Caulfield became our hero. The novel eventually made it onto reading lists, but only decades later.

I know that many teachers at my school felt the book was subversive because of Holden’s rebellious nature. Kind of like James Dean in “Rebel Without a Cause.” They also would have hated “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.” At that time they thought kids who got the best of adults should not be popularized.

Terry also told me that teenagers seem to like fantasy -— enjoying tales of another realm.

She also reminded me about the “Battle of the Books” in which the library fields a team to compete against other library teams from Suffolk County. This year the Shelter Island team came in second place.

A recent PEW report shows that use of libraries by millennials is very high, I learned. And I also learned that the library here on the Island is very popular with everyone.

“Children’s Librarian Anthony Zutter encourages kids to develop all their interests,” Terry said, noting that moving the children’s section downstairs was a “wonderful move,” particularly for keeping the upstairs area quiet.

I have noticed that right around when school lets out, many students go to congregate at the Library.

“Now they have their own space,” Terry said, adding that she likes to work closely with the school to keep up our level of excellence.

Terry also said that the library helps senior citizens keep up with technology and not be afraid of computers.

I found out that the library has just finished a strategic plan with a number of goals. When I asked Terry if Sunday hours were on the list, she said that it had been tried but the need did not seem to be there.

“What I’d like to see is the teens divided from the little kids,” she said, adding that there were 12,000 visits to the library in July and close to 17,000 in August. And from June 2017 to June 2018 there were 104,660 visits, I was told.

During the course of our conversation, Terry urged me to pass on to the public that “if there’s anything they’d like to see the library do, just talk to me.”

Meanwhile, I found out that The Senior Center and Rite Aid Pharmacy are providing Immunization Day at the center on Tuesday, September 11, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

A Rite-Aid pharmacist will administer flu and pneumonia vaccines to Island residents. Vaccines will be available for adults of all ages and children.

If you’re interested in obtaining inoculations, call the center at (631) 749-1059.