History of the West Nyack Free Library

Initially, the property where the West Nyack Free Library is now located was obtained by School District No. Seven of the Town of Clarkstown on November 20, 1886, through a warrantee deed from Abram A. Demarest and his wife Ann S. Demarest for the sum of seven hundred dollars. In 1889, a two-room frame structure was constructed on the site of the property of the present West Nyack Free Library for the purpose of educating the local school-age children. The small frame structure was later enlarged when, in 1922, the brick building was constructed. In 1959, the small frame structural component of the local school was condemned and razed. Judge William E. Vines and a group of civic-minded West Nyack residents successfully petitioned the Clarkstown Central School District for permission to use the remaining brick structure as a public library. The old school bell, rescued by Judge Vines during demolition of the wooden schoolhouse, is now a treasured historical exhibit in the West Nyack Free Library. The school bell was returned to the Library by the Clarkstown Central School District in 1995, after the renovation and expansion of 1994. In 1960, the West Nyack Free Library was established and chartered as a free association library and has been utilized as such for the taxpayers of the Clarkstown Central School District ever since. The then-elected Library Trustees and other volunteers stripped the building of desks, blackboards and other equipment. They built bookcases, paneled walls, and scraped and refinished floors. Good second-hand office equipment, furniture, and steel shelving were donated by the corporate employers of local citizens. With the contributions of local electrical and plumbing union members and their suppliers, the Library was completed. Over the years the Library has grown from a collection of 6,600 volumes to over 50,000, including books, videos, records, compact discs, books on tape, periodicals, etc. Since its inception the circulation has risen from 9,600 a year to over 95,000, attesting to the growing community and to the efforts of the Library to fulfill its needs. In 1989, a proposition was put forth to all Clarkstown Central School District taxpayers whereby they had the opportunity to purchase from the Clarkstown Central School District, in a revenue neutral manner, the building and the property of the West Nyack Free Library. On December 13, 1989, the Clarkstown Central School District taxpayers overwhelmingly voted in the affirmative to purchase their own library. November 1, 1990 was a momentous day for the patrons, staff, Director and Trustees of the West Nyack Free Library. Accompanied by Attorney James K. Riley and June Paul Schreiber, Director of the West Nyack Free Library, Diane Hoeneveld, President of the Board of Trustees, signed a contract with the Clarkstown Central School District to acquire the building and its property. 3 The West Nyack Free Library building and the property now belong to its patrons, the taxpaying residents of the Clarkstown Central School District. With the building and its property belonging to the Clarkstown community, the Board of Trustees began the process of planning an enlargement of the facilities, so that the spiraling needs of the community could be effectively met. The planning process included increased space for children’s services, meeting areas, computerized public access catalogs, expansion of media services, and, of course, additional volumes. In 1991 a computerized circulation system was introduced. An expansion and renovation of the upper level was completed in 1994. A rededication ceremony, presided over by Lorette M. Adams, President of the Board of Trustees, was held on October 2, 1994. On October 1, 1995 the old school bell was obtained from the school district and now hangs in the Library hall. Most recently the Board of Trustees focused its attention on the renovation of the lower level of the Library. Many treasures were unearthed including a beautifully restored desk from the original schoolhouse.