Director’s Imagination Changes Library’s Image

When Dennis Fabiszak joined the East Hampton Library as director in 2006, many thought of a library as just a quiet place with a lot of books to enjoy. But Fabiszak was determined to change that image, with his imagination and the support of the library’s Board of Managers.

The year 2006 was not only Fabiszak’s first as director, but also the year that the late Tom Twomey, likely the library’s most passionate advocate and fundraiser, became chairman of the board. Years later, in commemoration of Twomey’s passionate support and his untimely passing in 2014, Fabiszak was instrumental in the creation of the Tom Twomey Series of free lectures by local, national, and international notables.

Howard Schultz, chairman emeritus and Founder of Starbucks, is next in the series on August 17 at 6 PM. When Schultz visits the library, he will certainly be pleased to try one of Fabiszak’s most recent innovations, the new Starbucks “Serenade Single-Cup Brewer” that welcomes visitors at the front desk, and lets them be their own barista. A freshly brewed cup costs only $1 with your own cup, or $2 with a disposable, environmentally sensitive cup. Schultz’s lecture is anticipated to attract the largest audience ever (over 300), so it will be held for the first time in the Children’s Room larger space.

One of Fabiszak’s dreams for the library came true in 2014, with the grand opening of the Arthur and Janet C. Ross Children’s Addition, which serves children from birth through eighth grade. Fabiszak personally supervised the entire project, from the digging of the foundation, the moving of the massive tree that would be too close to the finished addition, to the grand opening celebration on June 21, 2014. Two rooms have since been dedicated downstairs. Thanks to the generosity of the Baldwin Family, the addition now houses the Baldwin Family Lecture Room and the Teda and George Balasses Young Adult Room, used exclusively by high school students and young adults.

The year 2004 was the first of the library’s most important annual fundraising event, Authors Night, which gathers together about 100 famous authors under one tent (arranged alphabetically, not by fame and popularity), allowing attendees to rub elbows with the names on the book jackets, and to purchase personally signed copies. After each Authors Night, attendees are invited to purchase tickets to 25 private dinners with select authors, held at private homes by local illustrious library supporters.

Working with Library President Sheila Rogers, Fabiszak has helped Authors Night grow tremendously in status, and the event now features best-selling titles and a list of controversial writers, which this year includes the event’s honorary chairman Alec Baldwin and his wife, Hilaria, Robert A. Caro, Lee Child, A.J. Finn, Emily Jane Fox, A.M. Homes, Michael Isikoff, David Itzkoff, Ndaba Mandela, Malcolm Nance, Geraldo Rivera, Nathan Turner, Dr. Ruth Westheimer, and Chris Whipple.

This year, the event has outgrown its former library and Maidstone Lane locations, and will be held on August 11 at the huge “555” field on Montauk Highway in Amagansett, between 5 and 7:30 PM. The Independent’s Bridget LeRoy will offer a live broadcast of the event on WPPB 88.3 FM, the local NPR station.

The library offers a broad array of weekly family-oriented events, and children under the age of five do not need a library card to borrow books and other items. At age 14, parents can choose to have their child’s card upgraded to an adult card.

Also, if you want to check traffic in East Hampton Village before heading out, a Traffic Cam view from the library’s location at the intersection of Main Street and Route 114 is now available on the library’s website.

Keep an eye on for future events.

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