Yonkers public library

The Yonkers Public Library in Yonkers, New York, consists of three branch libraries.

The main branch is the 'Yonkers Riverfront Library' which overlooks the Hudson River and New Jersey Palisades. Yonkers Riverfront Library is located in one of the former Otis Elevator buildings and it is across the street from the Yonkers Metro-North train station.

The library also consists of the Grinton I. Will branch, which holds the main telephone console and carries the largest volume of patrons on a daily basis, and the Crestwood branch. All three libraries offer a variety of services, including computer and internet access, movie, audio book and CD check-outs, as well as traditional book loans. The library offers free computer classes, from beginner to advanced, and is a source of free public programming all year round, including concerts and movies, classes, homework help, research help and informational workshops.

The Yonkers Public Library is a founding member and the largest member of the Westchester Library System (WLS), a consortium of 38 libraries serving the residents of Westchester County. The Yonkers Public Library operates with a budget of $8 million, 105 staff members, and a collection of nearly 700,000 books and other materials. The current Director of the library is Stephen E. Force and the President of the seven-member Board of Trustees is Dr. William E. Sheerin.


The Yonkers Public Library was chartered by the State of New York on February 9, 1893.

Having been formed in 1883 by the consolidation of five public school libraries, the Library called various sites home between the years 1883 and 1904.

Yonkers Mayor Leslie Sutherland, joined by writer John Kendrick Bangs and educator Charles E. Gorton, formed a committee in 1900 to request funds from Andrew Carnegie for the construction of a permanent library building.

Carnegie responded in March 1901, with a donation of $50,000, asking only that the City of Yonkers provide a suitable site for the library building and that it agree to expend $5,000 annually on the building's maintenance. Several sites for the new library were proposed by members of the Yonkers Board of Aldermen, including the site in the southwest corner of Washington Park that was eventually selected. Designed by local architects Edwin A. Quick and H. Lansing Quick, and constructed by the local firm of Lynch and Larkin, Mr. Carnegie's library building opened to the public on the corner of South Broadway and Nepperhan Terrace on July 9, 1904.

With the opening, in the 1920s, of two branch libraries -- one in the Armour Villa Park neighborhood and the other in the Crestwood neighborhood -- the Carnegie library became the main branch of the Yonkers Public Library. Bookmobile service to outlying areas of Yonkers began in 1930. (The Yonkers Public Library Bookmobile is currently out of service.)

On November 11, 1962, the Sprain Brook branch of the Library opened on Central Park Avenue in east Yonkers. In honor of the Library's longtime director, the Sprain Brook branch was renamed the Grinton I. Will branch in 1973.

At one point the Yonkers Public Library operated four branch libraries. Though Armour Villa Park closed (as superfluous) at about the same time that the Sprain Brook/Grinton I. Will branch opened, the Crestwood branch has always continued to operate. And Sprain Brook and Crestwood were joined for a time by branch libraries in Coyne Park and in the Hudson River Museum (both now closed).

The Carnegie library building served the Yonkers public for almost 80 years. Doomed by the decision to expand Nepperhan Avenue into an arterial, the building was closed and eventually demolished in May 1982, to the dismay of many. (Beautiful photos of the old Carnegie Library are available for viewing through the Library of Congress, from the American Memory Project. See: [1] [2])

Having been evicted from its old home, the main branch of the Library took up quarters in the former Genung's Department Store at 7 Main Street in Getty Square. Opening there in May 1981, the main branch remained there for over 20 years. Its current home, since September 2002, is 1 Larkin Center. Now encompassing four floors, the spacious Riverfront Library shares the former, and thoroughly retooled, Otis Elevator Works building with the headquarters of the Yonkers Board of Education.


External links

  • [1] Library website

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