Peekskill Herald

Peekskill Herald

Peekskill Herald

Field Library director takes job in Mt. Kisco, interim hired

Ed Falcone, who began director career in Peekskill, returns for transition 
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Outgoing Library Director Jennifer Brown at the revamped children’s circulation desk. New flooring, paint, and wiring are among her accomplishments.  (Photo by Regina Clarkin) 

In her nearly eight years as director of The Field Library, Jennifer Brown is most proud of the physical upgrades she made to the 46-year-old building at 4 Nelson Ave. Brown, who announced her resignation to the Library Board of Trustees and staff on February 28, is headed to the village of Mt. Kisco’s library where she begins her tenure as director on March 25.  

“Jennifer Brown did a lot of good things during her nearly eight years,” said Alan Most, president of the Library’s Board of Trustees. The facility improvements included all new wiring in the building, upgrading the internet infrastructure, new flooring in the children’s library along with new furniture, and a reconfiguration of the space to allow for study areas. Brown said that 90 percent of the costs were funded through grants. She added the money from a grant given by NYS Assembly Speaker Carl Hestie in August hasn’t arrived yet, but when it does, there will be new flooring in the adult library. The price tag for the improvements is between $200,000 and $250,000, said Brown, noting that when new flooring is installed there is a cost to move all the shelving and books. 

Ed Falcone, who was director of the Field Library from 1985 to 1992, is the new Interim Director with a six-month renewable contract, said Most. Most credited the guidance of the Westchester Library System with helping the Board of Trustees find an interim director so quickly. Falcone attended a staff meeting on March 13 and will begin next Monday, March 18, overlapping with Brown for one week. 

“He comes with a lot of experience and is comfortable with the idea of walking into a position where there is a transition,” said Most. 

Ed Falcone began his library director career in Peekskill in 1985.

“I started my career as a public library director at the Field Library in 1985 and I was there until 1992. From there, I worked as a director at Ossining and finally at Yonkers. I retired in 2020, but within only a few months I was recruited to be an interim director at the Mamaroneck Library. I found that work to be both interesting and enjoyable, and it led to further positions at the Nyack and the West Nyack libraries. Peekskill is special to me because it was where I started, and I have such fond memories of the library and the community. Losing a director can be a challenging time for library trustees, and I will do my best to maintain the library’s great programs and services, and to ensure a smooth transition to a new director,” said Falcone. 

The Field Library is a 501c3 nonprofit entity or Association Library and the director reports to a Board of Trustees. Brown said she was proud of signing a 20-year-lease with the City of Peekskill this week that guarantees the library a long-term home which will allow it to apply for construction grants to create an American with Disabilities Act (ADA) bathroom for the children’s library. Before the new 20-year-lease, the Library was on a year-to-year agreement with the city, which provides the space rent free. 

 

Brown said she learned of the opening in Mt. Kisco, where the library is a department of the village government, in January. A director there retired and a new director was selected but left after six months. Although Brown’s last day is March 22, she plans to attend the Friends of the Field Library event where the Chester A. Smith Award is given to Chuck Newman on April 18. 

Brown in the Children’s Room reading area.. The artwork on the walls was created by young patrons. (Photo by Regina Clarkin)

The Library Board hopes the event will yield $15,000 to support staff “wish list” projects, especially those related to children’s programming. 

An example of such a project is Kitchen A La Carte, is a mobile kitchen that will allow the library to offer cooking programming to children. The kitchen plugs into a regular electrical outlet, has a stove top, oven, sink, and holds three gallons of water. It comes with pots and pans and measuring tools to teach children. 

“Every time we’ve had a program that has anything to do with food, our program has been full,” said Brown. “After school, children don’t have a lot of places to go. This will pair with the city’s goals for a community kitchen and feeds into the idea of training children and teenagers in culinary arts,” said Brown. 

A young patron enjoying the activity station in the children’s newly renovated children’s room. (Photo by Regina Clarkin)

 

The Library plans to offer additional programming in one of the new spaces leased in the basement of the building. If the money can be raised, the mobile kitchen would be operating in one of the new spaces the Library has leased in the basement of the building. Brown negotiated with the city for the space that was no longer being leased by BOCES and moved offices for adult and children’s services administrative staff while creating rooms for STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) programming. 

Eloise Govedare, left, with her son Theo Taborda-Govedare, nearly 2 years old, and Caitlin Jones with son Lochlan Alliston, 18 months, say they come to the library at least three times a week. “We love the programming,” said Jones, who lives in Putnam Valley. Govedare, of Peekskill,  said she doesn’t drive yet, and likes that the library is within walking distance of her house. (Photo by Regina Clarkin)

 

Falcone is ready to go full “STEAM” ahead. As director of the Yonkers Public Library, he spearheaded the installation of a Maker Lab, a “do-it-yourself space for creating, inventing, and learning”. The lab also runs many STEAM workshops, arts & crafts, and food programs. As the Library enters a new era, Falcone is poised to support the Board in achieving its strategic goals and the selection of a new director, all while supporting the community. 

 

About the Contributor
Regina Clarkin, Editor and Publisher
When the Peekskill Herald weekly newspaper ceased publishing in August 2000 it was the first time in the history of the city that there wasn’t a local newspaper.  The award-winning weekly was often referred to as the ‘glue’ of the community. Founded on January 9, 1986 by Regina Clarkin, Kathy Daley and Rich Zahradnik with a $7,000 credit card line, the paper filled the void created when the daily Evening Star was sold to Gannett and moved out of town. Founding publisher Regina Clarkin continued to live in the Peekskill Cortlandt area and turned her attention to other life endeavors.  Through the ensuing 19 years, Clarkin was frequently stopped in town and asked when she would start up the Herald again. In January 2019, Clarkin decided it was less labor intensive to deliver a weekly blog than a print newspaper so she began posting one story a week about life in Peekskill. After a successful crowd funding campaign in 2020, the Herald was incorporated as a non-profit corporation in July of 2021. Peekskill Herald is a digital relative of the former print edition, featuring many of the favorite aspects of the beloved Peekskill Herald such as old pictures, personality profiles and well written stories about newsworthy events. Regina Clarkin is the editor and publisher of the site. Photo by Joe Squillante