Throwback Thursday – Oh Happy Day!

Suzanne Gosman, Karen Rade, and Irene D’Agostino at the dedication of the new Montauk Library in 1992 | Montauk Library Collection

These dedicated supporters – and there were many more – looked pretty darn happy when the ribbon was snipped for the new Montauk Library on May 3, 1992. Anyone who missed that event, even those who had the pleasure 30 years ago, will have another chance this Sunday, May 22, to celebrate the newly renovated and expanded Montauk Library.

The dedication of the first Montauk Library in 1980.


The dedication of the first Montauk Library in 1980.

There’s a more-than-40-year history to the library, which was at first housed in a cottage next to the Montauk Community Church. When a new and much larger library was built across the street, its three levels were finished as funds would allow, with a bond paying for the main level and a grant for an elevator that went “nowhere” until the upper and then the lower level could be completed. The Friends of the Montauk Library, a building and fundraising committee, and other members of the community raised money with a torrent of events including book fairs, clambakes, horse shows, luncheons, dinner and jazz evenings, and readings by local playwrights like Edward Albee, Lanford Wilson, Joe Pintauro, and Marsha Norman.

The dedication of the new library in 1992.

Joan Lycke, the library board president, pointed out that this week’s celebration should be all about the  building’s new incarnation “and the fact that it was really done by the people of Montauk with their vote to make it happen.”

In 2019 Montauk voters approved a $7.5 million expansion plan to update and upgrade the library. The children’s space was greatly expanded and improved, and a local history center, a teen room, an ocean view deck and a green roof patio were added along with a sound studio, enhanced archival space, and a public meeting room. After closing for renovations for almost two years, the building had a “soft” reopening on February 18. So far, visitors’ reviews have been stellar.

Now comes the official ribbon-cutting, which will start at noon on Sunday with a welcome greeting by representatives of the Montaukett Indian Nation and a performance by Montaukett Women Circle Dancers. Other highlights will be Montauk student Faith Mullaly singing the National Anthem, an invocation by Reverend Bill Hoffman, speeches by local dignitaries, and a word from Stephanie Krusa, founding president of the Friends of the Montauk Library. Denise DiPaolo, the library director, will be the moderator.

Afterward, Susan Schrott will unveil “The Seven Sisters,” a playful and uplifting piece of textile art commemorating both the reopening of the library and the legacy of Frederick Law Olmsted, who designed the landscape for the Montauk Association houses. Children can have their photos taken with picture book characters in the new family room, new exhibits and slide shows will be on display in the local history center, and Jack Perna will introduce Montauk student documentaries by Daisy Pitches and Audrey Smith in the Suzanne Koch Gosman room in the library’s lower level.

“It was lovely … we were beside ourselves,” Joan Lycke said of the ribbon-cutting 30 years ago. Please join us in celebrating another milestone – not only for the Montauk Library, but for Montauk community as a whole.

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