Floyd Memorial brings library to Orient through country store

KATHARINE SCHROEDER PHOTO | Tom Foster of Peconic checks out the books at the Orient Country Store which were provided by Floyd Memorial Library's traveling book program. Library assistant director Poppy Johnson stands by.

In most communities, borrowing a book means a trip to the local library. But Greenport’s Floyd Memorial Library is reversing that process for Orient residents by bringing the library — or at least part of it — to them.

Thanks to a cooperative arrangement between Floyd Memorial and the Orient Country Store, the store will host a mini-library about twice a month. Customers can add a novel or work of non-fiction when picking out a gallon of milk or a roast beef sandwich between 2 and 4 p.m. on alternate Wednesdays.

The program’s Nov. 16 launch was stymied by heavy rains, but the library returned on Nov. 30 and will be back again on Dec. 14, said library director Lisa Richland. With the holidays they’ll skip Dec. 28.

“I have wanted to do this outreach for a long time,” Ms. Richland said. She began the conversation with library board members about a year and a half ago, describing her deputy, Poppy Johnson, as “enormously excited about it.”

The library isn’t just the books and building, Ms. Richland said. It’s the information and “more and more, it’s a community center,” she said.

That’s exactly why store co-owner Miriam Foster liked the idea.

“I was extremely interested,” Ms. Foster said. She and her fiancé, Grayson Murphy, who bought the business from longtime owner Linton Duell last spring, envisioned it continuing to be “a community center.” During Mr. Duell’s time the store was a gathering place for conversation over coffee, breakfast sandwiches or any of the deli items available.

Ms. Foster has been delighting Orient residents with her baked goods for months.

“A book and a cookie — you can’t beat that,” she said of the outreach program. One library patron who had requested items from Floyd Memorial was able to have them delivered to Orient during the first week of what Ms. Richland called an experiment she hopes will continue and expand.

Some Orient residents find it difficult to drive to Greenport, Ms. Richland said. Making books, films, music and other media available in their own hamlet is an effort to better connect with the community, she said.

There are still some outreach program bugs to work out, but Ms. Richland is optimistic that what’s now a trial will eventually become routine.

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