On Saturday, November 25, 1916, the New York Telephone Company moved into new quarters: a square, brick building on the corners of Main and Prospect Streets, the current location of the Huntington Public Library. The Ketewomoke Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution and the Huntington Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution asked the Company to consider either a Colonial or Georgian design for the exterior of the new building. This suggestion was well received and explains why our building is designed the way it is today. The Hartough-Aitkin house, which had occupied this site since 1840, was moved further south and turned to face Prospect Street so that the Telephone Company could have a new building that was devoted exclusively for providing telephone service. In the early days of telephone use, subscribers were able to simply lift the telephone receiver from the hook to connect to an operator! No need to dial ten digits like today. Located on the second floor, currently where our Law collection is shelved, the Telephone Company employed fifteen operators who served a territory from Cold Spring Harbor to Wading River.
During this time, the Huntington Public Library was housed in the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Building which was completed in 1892 to commemorate our Civil War soldiers. The New York Telephone Company spent nearly forty years on Main Street. Having outgrown the space at the Soldiers and Sailors Building, in 1958, the Library moved to its current location.
Facing Main Street, the floor plan of the original building included what is now the Adult Services Department, the public computer area and travel books. On the second level, the Local History Room, Administrative Offices, and a portion of Youth & Parent Services were part of the original footprint. The two large French doors facing Main Street was the original entrance. The building was expanded in 1966 to accommodate the growth of library services and includes the current entrance, the Periodical Room, Customer Services on the first floor, and part of Youth & Parent Services on the second floor. Commemorating our past, the marble sculpture in our lobby was donated to us by Julia DeForest in 1897, when we were still located at the Soldiers and Sailors Building.
One hundred years after the construction of the original building and fifty years after the expansion, the library is yet again investing in the future and looking for ways to accommodate the ever-changing face of library services to our community
With the 100th anniversary of our Main Street building, we are again looking to improve upon the structure to provide even better service to our patrons. Before we tackle any reorganization of floor plans, we need to address the lighting and HVAC features of the building. We are working with our architects and engineers to address these concerns. In addition to all that goes on inside our buildings, you may also have seen us out in the community as we visited schools for their Back-to-School nights, participated in Huntington Awareness Day and joined our neighboring libraries at the Fall Festival in Heckscher Park.
We are very excited to be re-joining the Partnership of Automated Libraries in Suffolk (PALS) consortium in mid-November to make your library experience easier and more convenient! We appreciate your patience during this transition. If you have questions or concerns about the library, please feel free to contact me at any time: (631) 427-5165, x 206 or by email at . I wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving and a Happy Holiday Season!
– Joanne Adam, Library Director