You packed all the essentials, doubled-checked to make sure everything was there, even asked your partner to triple-check before driving off for a magical weekend by the beach. You don’t even go to your house, but straight to the beach. It’s been a long off-season, after all, and you need some good old-fashioned rest and relaxation. You park, suck in a chest full of salty ocean air and ask your partner to grab the beach chairs while you use the facilities. On your way back to the car, you see the terror on your partner’s face, hear a note of contempt in in the question, “Did you pack the beach chair?” You snap back, “I thought you did.”
Lucky for you, your local library is around the corner with more than just books. Across both Forks, libraries are here to serve every need.
Hampton Library in Bridgehampton will let you check out those beach chairs you left at home—and beach bags. With a valid Suffolk County library card, patrons can check out two beach chairs and one beach bag for up to three days. While the library has gotten rid of its overdue fees on books and DVDs, you will be subject to fines for overdue chairs and bags. While you’re there, you can also check out baking pans for up to one week (there will be a cleaning fee if you return them dirty) and even a sewing machine, in case you eat too many baked goods and need to re-stitch the bathing suit. You might as well grab some beach reads while you’re there. 2478 Montauk Highway, Bridgehampton. 631-537-0015, hamptonlibrary.org
If you’re baking on Shelter Island and find yourself in need of some basics, The Shelter Island Public Library has cookie cutters and baking sheets. That’s not all—the library has everything you need to kick your family-fun weekend up a notch. Yes, you can check out badminton and bocce ball sets. If it gets too hot out this summer but you can’t make it to the beach, look for their sprinklers. Later this summer, the library will also be circulating metal detectors. 37 North Ferry Road, Shelter Island.
After you mow the lawn in Cutchogue, visit the Cutchogue-New Suffolk Free Library, where patrons can check out a number of lawn games, including, but not limited to, croquet, bocce, cornhole (a.k.a. bean bag toss), KanJam and ladder toss. 27550 Main Road, Cutchogue. 631-734-6360, cutchoguelibrary.org
The Westhampton Free Library will let you take your beach experience to another level—and finally start that drum circling you’ve been talking about since college—by allowing patrons with a WHB library card to check out hand drums. For a more stay-at-home kind of weekend activity, check out one of the many puzzles available. If you’re doing some home repairs, the library also has voltage testers available, though if you’re having electrical problems, you should probably just call an electrician…. 7 Library Avenue, Westhampton Beach. 631-288-3335, westhamptonlibrary.net
Complete your spontaneous vacation beach band at Hampton Bays Library, where patrons can check out a ukulele. If you find yourself transfixed by the power of this instrument and want to master it, you could join the Library’s Ukulele Club to learn basic cords and a few songs in a friendly atmosphere. If your sunny beach weekend turns into a wet inside weekend, you’ll find the Library’s Book Club in a Bag quite helpful. Each bag comes with everything you need to throw together an impromptu book club: eight copies of the book, an audio book and a reading guide. Teens will be happy to find that the Library lends video games for a number of consoles. 52 Ponquogue Avenue, Hampton Bays. 631-728-6241, hamptonbayslibrary.org
After a long night of playing music on the beach, you might have lost your keys, or a special ring. Or, if you simply like searching for buried treasure and have a Mattituck-Laurel Library card, you can check out their metal detector, which they keep in the children’s room. The library also circulates board games and puzzles as pre-school and kindergarten backpacks for the little ones passing their last summer before their first year of school. 13900 Main Road, Mattituck. 631-298-4134, mattlibrary.org
Are you binge watching your favorite East End celeb’s Netflix show, but everyone else wants to go to the beach? If you have a valid Rogers Memorial Library card, you can check out a WiFi hotspot to take the internet with you. The handheld device finds the nearest 3G or 4G signal, connects and voila, you’re on the internet wherever you go. It works in the car, too. Rogers Memorial also has Chrome Book computers and e-reader devices available to check out. 91 Coopers Farm Road, Southampton. 631-283-0774, myrml.org
The Southold Free Library can help you explore the seas and the skies this summer. Patrons with a Southold library card can check out fishing poles and tackle boxes for up to one week. The library has a handful of the rods in circulation, including surfcasting rods and smaller rods which can be used by younger fishers. The tackle boxes include hooks, pliers and lures. On July 27, for a combination of reasons, the planet Mars will appear super bright in the night sky—at its biggest and brightest since 2003. Southold Library cardholders can check out the library’s lending telescope, for up to three days, to see this and other astronomical wonders. 53705 Main Road, Southold. 631-765-2077, southoldlibrary.org
Riverhead Free Library will have spin-cast fishing poles available this summer as part of a program in conjunction with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. 330 Court Street, Riverhead. 631727-3228, riverheadlibrary.org
The East End has quite a rich history. Some of the history might be saved on slides—you know, those old things grandma and grandpa used to project on the wall years ago. But what will you ever do with that box of slides you’ve uncovered in the attic? Lucky for patrons of Floyd Memorial Library in Greenport, the library circulates a slide projector. The library also has free passes to Harbes Family Farm in Mattituck. 539 1st Street, Greenport. 631-477-0660, floydmemoriallibrary.org
Perhaps you didn’t find slides, but instead some old VHS tapes. The Montauk Library circulates a kit that coverts those old VHS tapes into digital files on your computer. You’ll need to download software onto the computer, hook up wires, and have a VCR handy. If you’re unwilling or unable to do those things, you can complete the process at the library. 871 Montauk Highway. 631-668-3377, montauklibrary.org
Visit your local library for more summer fun.