Library staffers expect the grand piano to arrive later this month.
“We usually have three performances a year,” explained the library’s director, Michael Squillante. “And when we did have performances, we were paying about $1,000 each time for a piano. So I started to think, wouldn’t it be great if we had our own piano? I looked at it as an investment.”
It was soon learned that the money available for a used piano wouldn’t be enough, with the library first shopping for used pianos.
“After doing research, we came to a conclusion that a much safer bet would be to buy new,” Squillante said. “For one, we would get a substantial warranty.”
The staffers appealed to state Senator Phil Boyle (R-Bay Shore) for help.
“We actually approached Senator Boyle and said we’d like to increase the frequency and quality of our cultural programming, and we think if we can purchase a piano for the library it could go a long way toward helping us do that,” Squillante said.
Boyle helped facilitate the successful application of a state grant award for $25,000, which will be combined with the money the library had already set aside for a $50,000 piano.
“Today, libraries have to be more than just reading books,” said Christine Geed, a spokeswoman for Boyle. “Libraries are all having to reinvent themselves and become more of an all-around community service provider for their residents. And many are developing musical programs.
“A piano going to the Bay Shore-Brightwaters Library was the perfect choice.”
Library administrators had long planned to expand upon their Sunday offerings at the library, and the addition of the piano is key for having that happen, Squillante said.
So far, the library’s musical offerings have mostly consisted of classical performances.
“We’ve typically had about three performances a year,” said Squillante. “We’re hoping to triple or even quadruple that. This is really going to stretch the budget available.” And we hope to be able to broaden that into jazz and other kinds of fine arts,” he said.