Mobile service outlet to bring information on 2020 census to Shelter Island

Former Shelter Island Library children’s librarian Anthony Zutter will be pulling up at the library in Suffolk Cooperative Library System’s new mobile service outlet, AKA the SLED (Suffolk Libraries Empowering Discovery) on Friday, Jan. 17. The bus boasts state-of-the-art technology and a wide variety of fun things to explore. Mr. Zutter will be sharing information about the 2020 census from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. followed by fun activities for children.

Mr. Zutter made the move to work off-Island as SLED Coordinator on Nov. 1, 2019, after serving as children’s librarian for nearly three years. 

“I did not want to miss the third annual Halloween Spooky Walk,” he said.

When the SLED visits SIL it will be a 2020 census information station. “We are excited about being the first library to get an official visit from the bus,” said SIL Director Terry Lucas. “The bus visits will initially focus on census education and assistance. It’s important everyone is counted and I hope this visit will bring a lot of attention to the census.”

According to Mr. Zutter, the 2020 census is important because it’s the first time it’ll all be online. “The census is a decennial event, which means it is every 10 years,” he explained. “The first USA census was in 1790 and has continued since. It is critical everyone is counted because the population numbers and statistics that are used from the census decide highly important state and federal decisions in regard to funding and representation.” 

Every year billions of dollars of federal funding are based on census data including schools, fire departments, hospitals and roads.

“Terry and I felt that promoting the 2020 census was an important event to discuss with Shelter Island residents,” he said. 

Although the SLED may bring to mind bookmobiles, which Mr. Zutter said were common in Suffolk in the ‘70s, it’s “more of a Technology Bus.” The SLED is outfitted with the latest technology in a customizable design that can mold to any library’s outreach event or activity. It’s another innovative service that Suffolk libraries can utilize for their respective communities.

The SLED offers many features, including secure wireless access; eight Microsoft Surface Pro tablets; a print station; a Sierra circulation desk with a receipt printer and scanner; a green screen; photo printer; pop-up library e-books; and two awnings to utilize outdoor space. 

All of Suffolk County’s 62 libraries, including SIL, are linked together by sharing resources, ideas and innovating services. It’s the web that connects the libraries that essentially offers Mr. Zutter a life on the road. “Instead of working at one library, I now am in the unique position of serving all Suffolk County libraries in SCLS,” he said.  

While the SLED “lives” at SCLS’s home base in Bellport, Mr. Zutter and his SLED will soon “always be on the go, traversing all the libraries of Suffolk County.”

Although Mr. Zutter is excited for his future on the road with the SLED, leaving SIL wasn’t easy. “I miss the warmth of community that Shelter Island Library exuded for not just myself, but for everyone who visited,” he said. “Everyone who works there and anyone who ever visited always felt like family.”

To book the SLED for a library visit with a customized program, contact Mr. Zutter at [email protected].