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An Overview of the Renovation

As winter turns to spring, our attention is focused on our upcoming renovation project. Plans to restore the architectural splendor of our historic library building, while providing modern amenities, are nearly completed. We are very excited about this project and feel that this renovation will enhance your library experience. We are hosting 3 open houses where we will be presenting our renovation project in detail.

  • Saturday April 1st at 10am at Southold Free Library

  • Wednesday April 19 at 6:30PM at Southold Free Library

  • Wednesday May 3rd at 7pm at Southold High School.

Shortly, 3-D renderings of the community room and the children’s library will be on display. Please take the opportunity to stop by and see our vision for the future of your library. Finally, we would like to ask for your support, by requesting that on May 16th you vote YES for the Southold Library budget.

Source: Vincent Benic Architect

A little history of our library: Southold Library was first incorporated in 1797, and operated in several locations before finding a permanent home in 1928 in our current brick building, built in 1891, which formerly housed the Southold Savings Bank. The building was last renovated with an addition in 1991 – 26 years ago.

The library proposed a significant expansion in 2010. We requested $6.7 million dollars in a bond vote that was turned down by the community. After considerable deliberation, the Trustees decided to embark on a historic renovation of the existing footprint, with no additions to the building. The budget for the planned renovation is $1.7 million dollars.

Our renovation will restore the architectural splendor of the historic building while modernizing its function for our community for decades to come. With this renovation, we anticipate no further interior changes will be needed for the next 25 years.

We have nearly $1M already dedicated to the renovation through generous community donations and fiscal prudency. We’ll also be pursuing grants through multiple sources. A $750,000 construction loan, to be repaid over 5 years, will allow the renovation to proceed this year.

Our library’s tax levy is the lowest among North Fork libraries, all of which have undergone recent renovations. We currently operate our library with 62% of the budget of our neighboring libraries.

Just some detail on the upcoming renovation: The adult area will be relocated to what is now the children’s room. Here you will find a welcoming adult reading room, reference collection, computers, study tables, coffee, and more. 

The local history collection will be moved to the area we now use as the circulation desk and back office area. The dividing wall will be removed and the whole area opened up for easier and more open access of the entire collection.

The children’s room will also be on the main floor and moved directly north to what is now the computer, Best Sellers, and CD music collection area. We invite you to come to the Library now to see a beautiful rendering of this area, as it will be.

The Teen area will be moved upstairs directly above the children’s area, where we currently have magazines, the Keurig coffee, and reference books. This new location will give the teens their own more spacious room.

Staff will be spread throughout the building, having desks in all these areas. This improves both service and security. The entire building will be comfortable and accommodating for patrons of all ages.

Check Out the Renovation Highlights

Vote Yes for the Proposed Library Operating Budget


Income 2016-17

Income 2017-18

PILOT Payment



School District



NYS Ed Dept.



Fines and Fees



Other (contributions, etc.)



Fund Balance



Total Income




Expenses 2016-17

Expenses 2017-18




Library Materials



Building Maintenance









Total Expenses



Read the Renovation FAQs

Why is the library being renovated?

The Southold Library’s last renovation was undertaken in the late 80’s and completed in 1990, over 25 years ago. Today’s library users and functions are vastly different than they were when that project was planned and implemented.

Our goal is to restore the architectural splendor of the building while modernizing its function for current users to enjoy, thereby offering a complete modern library experience.

What changes are being planned?

The renovated library will be more open, brighter, with improved telecommunications and flow of services. Some highlights of enhancements include:

  • The historic, original building will be restored, and Adult Services and Local History will be relocated to this section of the library which was built in the 1890’s.
  • The circulation desk will be relocated and redesigned to better serve our patrons.
  • The area for teens will be relocated to the second floor and enlarged.
  • The Community Room will be entirely renovated for better acoustics, aesthetics, and an overall enhanced experience at the many programs offered.
  • A larger study room will be built.
  • The 2nd floor local history room will become a meeting room for library staff and the public

Are there pictures of these plans?

Yes, they are shown in the section above.

Presentations will be held on April 1st at 10am and April 19th at 6:30pm at Southold Free Library, as well as on May 3rd at 7pm at Southold High School (budget hearing).

Will the library be expanded?

No, the building footprint will remain the same.

Will the library close during the renovation?

Essential services will be moved during the renovation to Feather Hill. Most library services will be offered during this time. Neighboring libraries will graciously offer library service as well.

What is the cost?

The total cost of the project is $1.75 million.

How will the project be funded?

During a fundraising campaign undertaken in 2009-2010, $1million has been carefully invested and will be spent on this project.

The community is being asked to fund the remaining $750,000 through a five-year loan.