Library trustees and personnel, elected local officials, PTA heads and other invited guests filled the beautiful, modern Main Branch of the Great Neck Library to celebrate its long-awaited grand reopening on Thursday, Oct. 27, following two years of the building’s closure during renovation.
Boy Scouts Troop 10 led attendees in the Pledge of Allegiance and talented Levels and North High School music students performed, including Zach Lee, who impressed the crowd as he played the flute and then sang an aria.
After remarks from Great Neck Library President Marietta DiCamillo, who was the gala’s emcee; Great Neck Library Executive Director Kathy Giotsas; and Great Neck Historical Society President Alice Kasten, who discussed the history of the library, guests enjoyed hors d’oeuvres and cocktails, and were treated to tours of the renovated space, which is reminiscent of an upscale book café that will happily welcome patrons to 159 Bayview Ave. for years to come.
“The building underwent a top-to-bottom renovation focusing on the replacement of inefficient and outdated infrastructure systems,” said DiCamillo, who thanked the public for its patience while waiting for the doors to reopen. “We also increased areas such as audio/visual, the children’s room, the history room, quiet study areas, public space and community rooms.”
The Great Neck Library has certainly come a long way since 1880 when, as Kasten explained, a group of women raised $30 in a Magic Lantern fundraiser and charged families $10 to become members.
Expansive views of the outdoors can be seen from the new windows. Udalls Mill Pond is now immediately visible from the front entrance, since an unused mezzanine overhang was eliminated. Bayville Landscape Architecture is providing a plan for an outdoor area that is expected to be completed in the spring, which includes the Ann Hyde Memorial Children’s Garden in memory of the patron, who left the library a generous sum following her passing in June 2014.
“A library is more than a building with books, computers and people,” said Giotsas. “It is a place where people can meet friends, make friends, find adventure in the materials they pick up and continue to be lifelong learners.”
Find out the “New Library Hours.”
Read about the library election “Hwee Elected As Library Trustee.”