Southold residents vote down $6 million library expansion plan

KATHARINE SCHROEDER PHOTOS Southold Library director Caroline MacArthur (left) receives the result from the Southold Library bond vote Saturday.

A plan to bond $6 million to build a 7,800-square-foot addition and renovate the Southold Free Library failed by a vote of 582 to 402 Saturday.
Voters were rushing down the library stairs to cast their ballots in the library’s basement community room up until the minute polls closed at 4 p.m. Final tally results were delayed more than half hour as poll workers tallied 80 absentee ballots.
Library staff knew they were in trouble when machines in the room showed a preliminary tally of 544 to 360 before absentee ballots were counted.
“Back to the drawing board. We couldn’t do any more,” said Library Director Caroline MacArthur as she waited for the absentee ballots to be counted.
Ms. MacArthur described the turnout as “huge” with 904 people, many of whom she said she had never seen in the library before, casting votes.
If approved, the addition would have included a larger community room, more space for teens and staff, and upgrades to the library’s technology in a three-story addition alongside the original library. It also would have included an entrance and courtyard on Main Street, which is currently inaccessible.
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