Go down to the new (wowee!) Library


Linda leuzzi

At 11 a.m., when Bayport-Blue Point Library Director Mike Firestone stepped onto the podium in the Raymond Davis Community Hall, there were only standing spaces. People flocked to the two hallways of the outdoor areas and even stood in front of the windows. Over 200 people attended.
The grand opening of the library on Saturday morning was a testament to a community’s love for what has evolved. Once a holy place on Middle Road at Blue Point where the Ursuline Sisters of Tildonk lived and worked, looked after the community, and then theirs in need of medical assistance, it is now a magnificent modern library where residents can browse books, read, make crafts, bring their little ones, and know it’s a safe place for young adults to read, research and work on projects.
Amid the speeches, Firestone said updating the library was the greatest privilege of his professional career, and library board chairman Ron Devine thanked Firestone for his eye on the award at through thick and thin. City Councilor Neil Foley received gratitude for his constant leadership and monitoring, financial backers such as the Knapp-Swezey Foundation, library board members, staff, volunteers, civic groups, friends of the B-BP library, those under construction involved in the beautiful renovations and the necessary installations and especially the Ursuline Sisters of Tildonk were all cited.
There were standing ovations and cheers.
Councilor Neil Foley provided a chronicle of the journey of the new library when Sr. Joanne Callahan, provincial leader of the Ursulines, United States Province, first contacted him regarding the sale of the 8 property. 27 acres. And then when he had to inform her, “We couldn’t change the zoning,” he said. “I must have made the call and thought I would be struck by lightning.” It was not, and in the end the sisters accepted the proposed purchase price.
In December, two years ago, he said, 11,000 people voted and residents voted in favor.
But additional personal stories were interspersed with the gathering.
One of them included Jack Harrison, who led the original wheel cannon used to collect books on the streets of Blue Point, when a community library was just a thought bubble. (The library opened in 1935.) Jack was selected for the Barrel Wheel Honor because he spoke eloquently at a board meeting in support of the new location; the first book given has been selected.
Two city supervisors were in attendance, along with other county and city officials, including Angie Carpenter from Islip Town. Brookhaven supervisor Ed Romaine revealed his family moved to the end of Third Avenue in Bayport in 1946 after his father returned from World War II and his mother married. Romaine also lived on Candee and Maple avenues in Sayville.
“These are all streets that I know,” he said. He also praised the new library. “It’s a great thing for the community and a great use for an architectural gem,” he said. “You can be transported to another world and have a different perspective here. “
Former Assistant Library Director Jocelyn Mcintee traveled all the way from Hillsdale, New York, to the grand opening. “I wouldn’t miss this for the world,” she said.
Bayport Civic Association President Bob Draffin recalled releasing his first book with his mother at the Blue Point Avenue library in 1965, “Curious George”.
He now uses the library primarily as a meeting place. “Tuesday night we’ll have our civic meeting here,” he said, noting that they had just marked their 20th anniversary.
Some Ursuline Sisters participated in it. Like Sister Laurentine Morgan, who entered the novitiate in 1962, and doing reiki services in the little house that was once on the grounds. Her dog, Honey, was a sweet presence who made people feel better.
Sister Mary Lou Tressy said she had visited the site of the new library several times and made a tour.
Even though the grand opening ceremony started at 11 a.m., the parking lot was half full at least half an hour before, with people pouring in. Employee Wendy Bennett said that at 9 a.m., due to the gloomy weather, they decided to hold the celebration indoors.
Programs and discussions were held throughout the day with tours for those interested and residents stepped out to see the nature walk.


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