Connections: The Library Wins

More than 100 residents rallied at an Oct. 14 meeting at the Presbyterian Church to set things to rights

A Star headline on Oct. 11 warned, “The Tiny Springs Library Is In Peril.” The report said that the library and the Springs Historical Society, which operates it, were in all sorts of trouble, both organizational and financial. Word spread that the books on the second floor — some 6,000 of them — had had to be thrown away, rather than sold as intended. 

That was all the people of Springs needed to hear to be spurred to action: More than 100 residents rallied at an Oct. 14 meeting at the Presbyterian Church to set things to rights. 

Legal issues are being sorted out pro bono by a resident lawyer. It was announced that an electronic database would be established to document new books as well as the art and children’s books that had been saved, and that new board members, officers, and a secretary had been put in place. 

Within a couple of weeks, it was clear that Springs would not lose its library and that, indeed, the library would be joining the 21st century.

Have you ever been inside the Springs Library? It is the plainly handsome, modest shingled house opposite Ashawagh Hall that once belonged to Ambrose Parsons. It was willed to East Hampton Town by Elizabeth Parker Anderson in 1975, and it is on the state and national registers of historic places. 

Pretty much everything I know about the Springs Library comes to me via the newsletters I have received for years about the various doings there, courtesy of Heather Anderson, who gathered and compiled the information. Ms. Anderson has stepped down after 40 years as president and librarian of the society; it is unclear whether its new officers will decide it is worth the effort and expense to keep the newsletter going.        

For me, the newsletter has been of invariable interest and has provided unimpeachable evidence that community, and history-keeping, are alive and well in Springs. My fingers are crossed that the newsletter will have a future.

The library is staffed entirely by volunteers, and East Hampton Town maintains the building, which is said to be compromised structurally and to need serious attention.

The community is very lucky that the library is sustained by a $5,000 annual grant from the Hilaria and Alec Baldwin Foundation. The Baldwins’ grant has allowed the library to keep its library-card fee a nominal $15 — with a $25 fee for library and society membership — as well as to offer families all the other things (CDs and DVDs and puzzles) we have come to expect in libraries these days. While the library’s new supporters and officers seeks further donations, they have already done a great service for Springs in keeping the library open. Join me in saying, “Hooray!” And perhaps a check might not go amiss?