Congratulations, Montauk Library!

Exterior view of Montauk Library

Montauk Library, located in Montauk, New York has completed the work needed to become our latest Certified Sustainable Library. Their recently completed renovation had sustainability in mind from the very beginning. Community input from surveys, interviews, and focus groups identified the need for more space and for better energy efficiency. A detailed sustainability plan was created to guide the design of the expanded space. They achieved many of the stated goals including solar panels, a low-nitrogen septic system, LED lighting, a green roof, and multi-use outdoor spaces. The library is surrounded by protected wetlands, nature preserves, and hiking trails. They reconfigured three flat roof areas to create outdoor programming spaces and a deck with ocean views. These spaces have tables and chairs set up to allow their community to use the space to access the outdoors and linger with a book, enjoying the views. 

Montauk Library rooftop desk

Water quality is an important concern for Montauk Library and the surrounding community. Surrounded by water on three sides and ecologically sensitive wetlands, Montauk are leading their community in adopting nitrogen reduction strategies to reduce the impact on the local watershed. Due to their commitment and collaboration with the Town of East Hampton in their water quality improvement plans, they were awarded a $126,000 grant from the Community Preservation Fund to upgrade their septic system. 

Chaulk board promoting Montauk's seed library

A dedication to sustainable decision-making extends beyond the library building and is embedded in many library practices. Summer reading program incentives and prizes have been presented in pails and shovels, giving their community a reminder and encouragement to utilize the area’s natural resources. Including gift cards to local businesses as prizes, gives exposure to small businesses, benefitting the library users and their local economy. Attention is paid to choosing items that are not gender-specific, are age inclusive, and incorporate diverse cultures and multiple languages. These measures create a welcoming and inclusive message that all are welcome to participate in the summer reading program and in all of their library’s activities and programs. To promote staff wellness, Montauk Library have a long-standing policy to allow staff members to participate in free library wellness and fitness classes during regularly scheduled work hours. The benefits of this are not just promoting staff health and fitness, but also promoting a sense of community and an endorsement for the value of the programming.

Montauk Library wellness flyer

Montauk Library have also found an innovative way to promote community resilience. They have dedicated space in their renovated building for local history displays and have digitized their archives and oral histories. This expanded access to local history connects residents to their past and to each other in a more profound way. Accounts such as those included in their digital oral history present a narrative of community cohesion and connect listeners to examples of overcoming challenges in the past. Engaging their community with the past creates an understanding of the ways that climate change has already affected their community and builds awareness of the capacity that their community has to face our current challenges together.

Montauk Local History

Learn more about the work Montauk Library have done to achieve their SLI Certification from the Certification Presentation and press release.