The South Huntington Public Library was founded in 1961. Voters approved the new library district in May and by November, the community’s first public library opened in the basement of the Central Elementary School on New York Avenue, which is now the office building behind Staples. Mrs. Avis Duckworth was the first director. A formal opening ceremony for the library was held on March 11, 1962. About 200 people attended the afternoon Open House.
The Friends of the South Huntington Library, a group of volunteers who support library programs and services, was founded in April 1963, and continue to this day.
It didn’t take long for the library to outgrow its space, and ground was broken for the Melville Road building on April 6, 1968, in the site formerly occupied by the Depot Road School. A dedication and open house was held on December 14, 1969 for the new 24,500-square-foot library, which housed 181,000 materials in its collection. According to a December 11, 1969 article in The Long-Islander announcing the opening, a highlight of the day’s events was an exhibit of sculpture by Alfred Van Loen, a professor and well-known artist who lived locally and was the first curator of the library’s art exhibits.
By the late 1990s, the library’s collection and services had grown to the point where a new building was considered. A 49,000-square-foot building was constructed on the site of the former Pidgeon Hill Elementary School, and opened on July 24, 2004.
A unique feature of the new library is an Outdoor Garden, which was funded through a Donor Recognition Campaign conducted by the Friends of the Library. Patrons and supporters purchased bluestone engravings, which were placed on the bluestone walkway encircling the garden. The space is used for outdoor studying and reading and as a venue for outdoor concerts.
The Young Adult Library on the lower level was expanded in 2012 to create areas for teens to gather, socialize and study, and to provide performance space.
In 2017, in the effort to keep pace with changes in the way materials and services are provided, a Technology Center was built in the Library, which is used for technology and library literacy classes. It is also equipped with several 3D printers that are used to create projects submitted by patrons.
Another new feature was established in the spring of 2019: A Learning Garden was planted just off the reading patio behind the library. It is used to teach children about gardening and nature. The harvest is donated to local food pantries. The garden was funded by a generous contribution from the Friends of the Library.
The South Huntington Public Library is a member of the Long Island Library Resources Council.
South Huntington Public Library is a member of the Long Island Library Resources Council.