Patchogue-Medford Library History in Brief

Patchogue-Medford Library originated with the founding of Patchogue Library Association in June 1883, with Patchogue Library opening its doors in a shoe store, August of that year.  The Library moved about the village, to and from various rented rooms, until 1900, when it was taken over (by permission of its Board) by the Patchogue Sorosis (the new local chapter of a national  organization, that creatively promoted women's suffrage).  Sorosis revived and ran it as a demonstration public library, until at a school district board meeting (in August 1900), a public vote was passed to fund it as a public library, and elected a new 5-member Board.  Patchogue Library received a New York State charter in December 1900, negotiated for a Carnegie Library, 1903-08, dedicated in March 1908.  The Library extended its services to Medford residents in 1950, then changed its name to Patchogue-Medford Library in 1973 (by charter amendment, after the school district changed its name).  The library moved to its present building in January 1981, while the Carnegie building housed part of Briarcliffe College, until the College moved to it's present location (on the site of a former lace mill complex).   The abandoned building was awarded to the Patchogue-Medford Library, and was moved slowly and carefully to its present West Main Street location in 2012, and will eventually house the Young Adult Department of Patchogue-Medford Library. 


America's All-Star Libraries (American Library Association.  Library

         Journal) -- includes Patchogue-Medford Library

  • Lyons, Ray & Keith Curry Lance.  "LJ Index 2013:  All the Stars, State-by-State."  (Library Journal, November 1, 2013  Class of 2013) -- Patchogue-Medford Library shines again for its communities, Long Island, and New York State, as one of Amerca's Top Libraries -- click on the New York State on the map, scroll down to the NYS listings
  • Sorrentino, Michael.  "Pat-Med Library Receives American Star" (Patchogue Patch, November 12, 2013)
  • Lyons, Ray & Keith Curry Lance.  "LJ Index, 2012:  2012 Stars, State by State" (Managing Libraries.  LJ Index of Public Library Service.  Class of 2012) Library Journal, November 8, 2012 -- Patchogue-Medford Library is again listed among America's, New York State's, and Long Island's Top Libraries -- click on the map of NYS, or scroll down to the NYS listings
  • Lyons, Ray & Keith Curry Lance.  "All the Stars, State by State" (Managing Libraries.  LJ Index of Public Library Service.  Class of 2011Library Journal, November 1, 2011 -- click on the map of New York State, or scroll down to the NYS entries 


          See also   PML's  Patchogue-Medford Area History web page

                             PML Centennial publications, throught this web page

--  Historic Images - General

  • Library History [set of historic and commemorative PML images]  (Patchogue-Medford Area Historic Images @ Flickr.com; prepared by Patchogue-Medford Library.  Celia M. Hastings Local History Room)

--  Historic Images - Buildings [That Housed the Library], 1883-Present

  • John Roe Smith Block (to right of Central Hotel) -- Housed the association library, 1883-84, 1884/85-1890/91, the demonstration public library, 1899-1900, and state-chartered public library 1900-1902 -- located on the south side of W. Main Street.  Note also:  the Patchogue and Suffolk County Bank, formerly the Patchogue Bank (of Edward S. Peck, which failed in 1884; seriously complicating library business that year), just to the right of the Library  
  • [George M.] Ackerly Block -- Housed the library association library 1891-96, and public library, 1902-08 -- located on [S.] Ocean Avenue, Patchogue 
  • The New Lyceum -- Housed the library association library, at street level, on the left side, 1896-1899 -- Located on Lake Street, Patchogue, where the Lake Apartments are today.   (Note also:  The Old Lyceum, which started as a roller skating rink, was located on [South] Ocean Avenue.)
  • Closeup of Room that Held the Library, in the New Lyceum, 1896-99
  • The Carnegie Library - Housed Patchogue Library, and after the 1973 formal name change, Patchogue-Medford Library, 1908-1981
    • Note:  This was the first building in Patchogue to be completely dedicated to a public library.  It took some stiff negotiations to get it, launched separately by both Patchogue village and the Library board, which also took some diplomatic sorting.  Located at 10 Lake Street, on land donated in 1904 by Edwin Bailey, Sr., it housed the Library that took the first active role in coalescing the Suffolk County, N.Y. library community in the 1920's and 1930's, into a Suffolk County Library Association (1939-Present), coordinated the first County-wide Library [Union] Catalog (1942).  Suffolk Cooperative Library System (1961), commenced operations in its basement, before moving to 15 Main St. (a former Nabisco factory), then to its present Bellport location; whose first Director, Walter Curley, in 1963, created the impetus for the countywide Public Library Director's Association (1968-Present).  Patchogue Library's became the NYS-designated Co-Central Library for the County, then sole Central Library (1978).   The building is one of 3 or 4 Carnegie Libraries to ever have been built in Nassau and Suffolk Counties, N.Y.  (i.e., Long Island, proper).   Its future, despite its historic significance, and as a rare local landmark is currently in doubt. 
  • Patchogue-Medford Library, 1981-Present, located at 54-60 East Main St., Patchogue. - This library has seen waves of electonic revolution, expansion and variations of services and resources, the library centennial, renovation and modernization of the facilities, and efforts to build and knit together a community when it reached a crisis point, winning national recognition in 2011 and 2012.

PML Historical Overviews 

Patchogue Library Association - History, 1883-1900

--  Historic Images  (PML Digital Photo Archive)

  • John Joseph Craven's Home - Where the organizational meeting of the Patchogue Library Association met, and elected officers, on June 12, 1883
  • John Joseph Craven [as he appeared in 1863], first President of the Patchogue Library Association
  • George D. Gerard, first vice-president of Patchogue Library Association
  • Floyd A. Overton - first acting librarian for the Patchogue Library Association (1883) - later CEO of Patchogue & Suffolk County Bank
  • Jesse C. Mills, who helped move the library into the New Lyceum, of which he was one of the chief sponsors; and later made the formal proposal that Sorosis take over the Library collection, for 1 year, and try to make it public 

Patchogue Library - History, 1900-1914


        See also  General section (above)

--  Historic Images of the Carnegie Library  (PML Digital Photo Archive)

Patchogue / Patchogue-Medford Library - History, 1914-Present


      Notes:  Patchogue Library extended its services, by contract, to Medford residents in 1950; and in 1973, following the school district's lead, changed its name to the The Patchogue-Medford Library, by state charter amendment.  

      Medford briefly had a public library, on the initiative of the local Boy and Girl Scouts, that seems to have dashed on the rocks of the Great Depression.

--  Historic Images of the Carnegie Library  (PML Digital Photo Archive)  

-- Recent History -- 2010

-- Recent history -- 2011