Children’s Wing Done By Late Spring?

The East Hampton Library’s expansion is nearing completion
The East Hampton Library’s expansion is nearing completion and is projected to open in late spring or early summer. Morgan McGivern

       The East Hampton Library’s expansion and renovation is “coming down the final lap,” according to its chairman, with an additional 6,800 square feet set to open to the public in late spring or early summer.

       More than $6 million has been raised to finance the expansion, Tom Twomey, the library’s chairman, said last month, with an additional $250,000 needed. In November, the actor Alec Baldwin donated $1 million to the project.

       “We’re proud to say we are coming in under budget,” Mr. Twomey said. He attributed that to “a great team effort” led by Dennis Fabiszak, the library’s director, and Ben Krupinski, the project’s general contractor.

       Mr. Krupinski and other contractors, Mr. Twomey said, have made significant donations in the form of reducing their billing to the library. “He has been working with the library for over 10 years,” Mr. Twomey said of Mr. Krupinski. “He’s been donating much of his services over the years. He has a full-time foreman on the job working with Dennis every day.”

       Mr. Baldwin’s donation, made through the foundation that bears his name, is underwriting completion of the Baldwin Family Lecture Room within the expansion. The room will be used for children’s programs, film screenings, poetry readings, historical lectures, and author and book events. It will also house what Mr. Fabiszak called an ambitious audio-visual system.

       The library, he said, has partnered with the New York Public Library to allow streaming of the latter’s programs into the new room. “We’ll also be able to stream from other institutions around the world,” he said. A 7-by-12-foot screen has been installed, and cameras will be added “so we can record or stream programs that happen here to other institutions, or even to the homes of our residents, so they can view things that are happening here on the Internet.” he said. “It’s really connecting that room with the world, bringing things in and sending things out.”

       The new children’s section, Mr. Fabiszak said, “is really designed as a learning space.” Age groups from birth through eighth grade, he said, will have dedicated areas housing their own collections, computers, and furniture. “We really wanted it so that everybody feels like they have their own place within the library, their own place to call home,” he said.

       Mr. Fabiszak described a mural to be mounted that will teach the alphabet to younger children, and a ceiling painted to depict the sky. “We have 30 custom light fixtures being made that look like big white books, but they’re bent at different angles,” he said. “They’re going to come through the ceiling and it’s going to look like a flock of birds flying through the sky.”

       A computer monitor will teach children about the solar panel array situated on the roof, Mr. Fabiszak said. “We’ve gone out of our way to make this as energy efficient as we can,” he said of the expansion. 

       The project, which included an additional 16 spaces in the parking lot, has also allowed improvements to the existing spaces, Mr. Twomey and Mr. Fabiszak said, including upgrades to the furnaces, new carpeting, and new alarm, air-conditioning, and sprinkler systems. “We’re taking the opportunity, as we move through and see the quality of the individual subcontractors, to have them spruce up the existing building,” Mr. Fabiszak said. “We’re really excited about the way that’s coming out.”

       The expansion will include a dedicated space for the library’s sale of donated books on, an effort that raised $35,000 last year, Mr. Fabiszak said.

       As the project nears completion, Mr. Twomey praised the library’s 22 board members, a group that includes residents of various hamlets as well as second-home owners, for the fund-raising abilities that allowed it to happen. “We have an extraordinarily generous community, and a very hard-working board of managers,” he said.