Our Library story is a true testament of how the care, creativity and culture of a community can come together to achieve something remarkable. Carnegie libraries, as architectural gems and the vanguards of lifelong learning, are significant in both the history and culture of modern America.
Honoring this was paramount in the renovation of the original Patchogue-Medford Library. Painstaking care was taken to restore the building to its original splendor and to resurrect the landmark true to form. The devotion demonstrated and the exquisite attention to detail in the construction are touching examples of what we are all capable of when we work together.
Our partners and neighbors had the vision to see the value in saving the Carnegie Library. The ability to reconstruct such a masterpiece was only achieved because of the deep-rooted collaboration within our community. Commendable coordination from Suffolk County and Legislator Robert Calarco, as well as the Village of Patchogue and Mayor Paul Pontieri, helped give life to a vision that was conceived and nourished from the grassroots group Friends of the Carnegie Library. Through an extraordinarily generous donation from the Knapp-Swezey Foundation, funding from NYS Library Construction Grants, the Friends of the Library and the devoted perseverance of Project Manager Ivan Carrasquillo, the restoration was made possible without any financial cost to the community.
As the only operating Carnegie Library on Long Island, extreme care was put into the renovation in an effort to honor such a distinction. Much of what you see is original—remarkable, considering that the building was moved twice. The oak floors, hidden beneath carpet and tile for decades, are more than 100 years old. The same is true for much of the brick and exterior stone work, and the 10 different designs that make up the century-old wood ceiling cornice. With great attention, these details were hand patched and restored by plaster artisans. The original stairs and handrails were used as a model for the winder staircase and have been repurposed to the side entryway. Now considered ornamental, the narrow steps up to the top level lead to what was once the office of Edith Terry Mills, the librarian at the time. Gazing down, you are looking through the same lattice grill that she used to observe and oversee the great room. Though you may recognize the original pilasters, the twelve interior columns with Scamozzi capitals that were removed on Lake Street have been replicated and put back into place along the perimeter of the main floor.
The Carnegie Library is now used to enhance Library service by providing additional space to host community meetings and programs during the day. After school, the teens in our area utilize it as a place to facilitate learning, growth and inspiration. The lower level has evolved into a beautiful museum for the Greater Patchogue Historical Society. This long-time dream has become a reality through their hard work and perseverance, and for which we are proud to provide a home.
Come see the “Jewel of Patchogue,” The Carnegie Library. Summer hours are 11:30 a.m. – 8:30 p.m., Monday through Friday; and Saturdays 11:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. From September – June, the Carnegie Library is open 2:30 – 8:30 p.m., Monday through Friday; and 11:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. on Saturdays. The Library is open on Sundays, 1 – 5 p.m., from October – May.