Founded in 1897, the East Hampton Free Library was granted a charter by New York State and opened in one room of Clinton Hall on Main Street. It was financially supported by individual gifts and a small revenue from non-resident fees. It was staffed by volunteers and managed by a Board of Managers comprised of twelve women.
The Library moved to its present location at the corner of Main Street and Buell Lane in 1912, on land donated by Mary Lorenzo Woodhouse. The architect Aymar Embury designed the building, which was also donated by the Woodhouses. The Library was designed in a neo-Elizabethan style
since many residents of that time wanted East Hampton architecture to conform to that of a pre-seventeenth century Kentish village, similar in looks to the one the original settlers had left behind.
In 1997, the Library's Centennial Year, an expansion and renovation designed by the noted architect Robert A.M. Stern was completed. Mr. Stern's plan not only restored the architectural integrity of the original design but also houses an extraordinary modern library and research facility. Computer-equipped study carrels, CD-ROM's, on-line catalogs, instant Internet access with email facilities are available. The new addition named in honor of John M. Olin, a long-time summer resident, doubled the size of the Library.
East Hampton Library is a member of the Long Island Library Resources Council.