In 1997, as Girl Scout Troop #61 was working on the “My Community” badge, one of the scouts, asked her mother, “Why doesn’t our community have a library?” That was the start of what was to become the Gold Coast Public Library District.
The scouts were joined by many of their classmates at Glen Head School, and together they formed the GALS (Get A Library Soon) committee. The youngsters wanted to know how the community felt about establishing a library. They distributed flyers and set out petitions in local stores. They compiled a listing of interested residents. The youngsters met with local officials to learn how a community went about establishing a library. The movement grew with support from students and parents at other North Shore schools.
Fredda Klopfer, then principal of Glen Head School, organized an adult committee composed of the Girl Scout leaders involved in the project, Amy Kempton and Rosemarie Ryba, and two parents who supported the project, Marilyn Genoa and Fran Sciarrino. This committee, later joined by Miles Sibell and Rhonda Veros, became the North Shore Citizens Committee for Library Service, a nonprofit, tax-exempt organization.
The Committee focused on the legal and procedural aspects of establishing a library district. The organization worked diligently for over four years with neighboring libraries, the Nassau Library System and the New York State Department of Library Development.
Further impetus to their work was provided by a change in New York State law when the Board of Regents passed “Regulation 90.3” that prohibited public libraries from selling library cards as of January 1, 2000. Residents could no longer purchase library cards from neighboring libraries. Library services for the community could only be obtained through public funding.
In 2000, State Senator Carl Marcellino and Assemblyman David Sidikman introduced legislation that allowed a referendum in which residents would decide the issue of a tax supported library district. In August 2000, Governor George Pataki signed Bill #S6929A into law, authorizing the referendum. On December 4, 2001, residents overwhelmingly voted to establish the library district, with an $800,000 budget. The Library opened for business on August 1, 2005 at 50 Railroad Avenue in Glen Head, in the remodeled building formerly known as 'Norway Hall.' Genellen McGrath was appointed as the first Library Director on April 5, 2006.
Gold Coast Public Library is a member of the Long Island Library Resources Council.