Great Neck Library board appoints head of book committee

Janelle Clausen
Great Neck Library's Main Library on Bayview Avenue. (Photo by Janelle Clausen)
Great Neck Library's Main Library on Bayview Avenue. (Photo by Janelle Clausen)

The Great Neck Library Board of Trustees appointed Rebecca Rosenblatt Gilliar as the chair of a book acquisition committee on Monday night, a major step in creating a group that hopes to help “rebuild” the library collection.

Gilliar, a civic activist and library advocate, had worked with the Great Neck Park District to save about 18,000 books in 2016 following the two-year renovation of the Main Library. This resulted in a large book give-away.

But 208,000 books were discarded from 2014 to 2016, Gilliar has said, and she has pushed for the formation of a committee since then.

“I just want to thank Rebecca [Gilliar] for her work so far in helping the library come to understand what was lost when a lot of books were discarded and [the library] held back a number of books,” Great Neck Library Board President Rebecca Miller said. “This ad hoc committee is another step in the process of rebuilding that legacy collection.”

Asked about if the board had an exact number for how many books were discarded, Miller said it did not.

The committee, formally called the Ad Hoc Book Suggestion Committee, will play an advisory role in building up the Great Neck Library’s book collection.

“The Book Acquisition Committee will help give our Great Neck Library’s collection greater depth and lasting importance, replacing millions of dollars worth of books mistakenly discarded,” Gilliar said on Tuesday. “This will be gratifying work.”

Asked about the composition of the committee, Gilliar said it will be a “confederation of residents who share a goal” and that the number of residents “will be self-determining.”

“Ideally some committee members will have expertise in a certain area of knowledge and some will be generally devoted to books,” Gilliar said. “Together, we will decide how to gather our recommendations, how to act as emissaries to other libraries, how to help re-build the library’s core collection.”

In unrelated business, trustees entered into an agreement with BDS Architects for architectural services related to the renovation of the Parkville branch library at a cost not to exceed $20,000.

In other business, trustees voted to issue a request for proposals for a search firm associated with the search for a new library director. Denise Corcoran had worked for the library for just over a year before her departure in March for undisclosed reasons.

“I just want to clarify that this is an RFP for a director search firm. This is not a decision to hire a director search firm,” Miller said. “This is part of an information gathering [process] for the director search committee.”

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