Get to know SBU Libraries’ new head librarian of our Southampton branch, Chris Kretz.

We recently had the opportunity to have a chat with Chris Kretz, the newly appointed head of SBU Libraries’ Southampton Library. We pick his brain a little about his time spent in Germany, his knowledge of local Long Island History, of pod-casting, and for some advice he has for our patrons. Here is what he had to say:


You lived in Germany for a year. Which is your favorite German sausage (wurst)?

I’m a traditionalist so I’ll stick with the Bratwurst but you can’t go wrong with the Weiss – or Bock- or Curry- variety. Here’s a tip: the best Wurst are to be had down by the train station.

Is there any advice you’d give to students looking to spend time abroad?

It’s truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity so if you can make it work, go for it. Learning to navigate a foreign landscape, meeting people and situations you’d never encounter at home… all of it pays dividends you won’t even realize until later.


Chris in our Southampton Library

Chris in our Southampton Library


You are a local history enthusiast. Tell us, which famous Long Islander would you rather spend a day with: Teddy Roosevelt, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis or Walt Whitman?


I find the more I learn about Teddy Roosevelt, the more I like him. He had an uncle Robert who is an unsung hero of Long Island. Robert Roosevelt was, in no particular order: an author, an early conservationist, an avid fisherman, a Democratic Congressman from New York, a friend of Oscar Wilde and quite possibly the first compiler of the Br’er Rabbit stories. He was the black sheep of the Oyster Bay Roosevelt clan, choosing to live on the South Shore in Sayville. He also had a fondness for animals, keeping a menagerie that included a pet monkey. Maybe the three of us could meet up and go sailing on the Great South Bay or tramping through some woods. Teddy was always up for exploring.


As a podcaster, you’ve interviewed local historians and other people. Could you share a couple of your favorite sit-downs with us?


I’m always amazed and appreciative when people tell me their stories. I interviewed a group over dinner in the Sayville Yacht Club as they related memories of the Hurricane of 1938 and they remembered it as if it were yesterday. Another time I was interviewing a faculty member and he shared a harrowing story of his father being shot down and surviving a prisoner-of-war camp during WWII. Twice, interestingly enough, I’ve been told off-the-record tales involving the Cuban government. So you never know where the interview will take you. You just have to be ready to go along for the ride.

The Seawolves in the SBU Southampton Library study hard and often. Any studying advice you’d care to offer our patrons?


Time management was always my Achilles’ Heel as a student so I’d emphasize planning ahead and breaking down assignments into manageable chunks. From what I’ve seen, our Southampton patrons are highly motivated and know how to get things done. I’d tell them the Library is here to help them succeed.


More about Chris:
Chris is a graduate of the CUNY Queens College library program and spent thirteen years as the digital resources librarian at Dowling College. He is on the board of the Long Island Library Resources Council and active in many area historical societies. When he’s not researching the latest in library technology, he’s busy pod-casting as the co-host of the Long Island History Project which he produces with the Long Island Radio and Television Historical Society (

Chris is excited about being here at Stony Brook Southampton and with the rest of the staff is dedicated to helping students succeed and making the library a vital part of the campus. Next time you’re in the library, stop by the main desk and say hello. He’d love to hear your thoughts on the library.

[Editor’s note: Having been reminded of how much he enjoyed German food, Chris visited a popular German restaurant in Patchogue soon after this interview.]

Posted in Southampton