Sayville Library

88 Greene Avenue
Sayville, NY 11782

Stephanie DiChiara - 631-589-4440 -

Sayville Library


"The Sayville Library was established in 1914 by the Women’s Village Improvement Society and was first housed in the “Brush Block” on Main Street in Sayville in a room provided free of charge by Mrs. Margaret Brush. Merchants provided furnishings, contractors provided free labor and other townspeople gave books, furniture and money. The library opened on October 14, 1914, for 10 hours per week, and at the end of the first eight months, there were 110 paid members of the Library Association, 558 subscribers, 1,933 volumes on the shelves, 13 newspapers and magazines on the tables and 13,508 books had been borrowed.

In 1918, the Library received as a gift the 3,000-volume collection of Dr. George R. Brush, which included various reference, travel and valuable out-of-print volumes. Thereafter, the Organization grew rapidly and lack of space became a problem for both books and subscribers. In January 1918, Ida Gillette gave the Library the deed to a 75’ x 125’ lot on the east side of Gillette Avenue for construction of a new building, which was north of but adjacent to her own residence. However, raising the money to build it proved difficult so on November 1, 1923, the Library Association voted to purchase the Reuben Edwards Homestead on South Main Street for $10,000.

The Library opened in its new home with a tea party on February 1, 1924. It now had 6,573 volumes on its shelves and received 16 newspapers and periodicals. The building was now open three days a week for a total of 16 hours. In September 1931 a trained Librarian, Mrs. Maude Spooner, was hired at $100 a month and Children's Storytelling sessions were inaugurated in February 1932. By January 1937, annual circulation had increased to 25,777 and the Library building was free and clear when Mrs. F. Palmer Haff became the new Librarian.

By 1946, space was again a critical problem. In 1952, the Trustees decided to re-charter their Organization, moving from being an ""association library"" to a ""school district"" library, which insured more State support. After dissolving the Library Association’s affiliation with the Sayville Village Improvement Society and transferring all assets to the School District, an Absolute Charter was granted by the University of the State of New York on September 26, 1952. The Trustees purchased an adjacent 75’ x 110’ lot on Collins Avenue for an expansion and on August 25, 1953 residents voted for a $50,000 bond issue to fund construction of a new wing attached to the rear of the existing Homestead, as well as significant renovation of the building, itself. Construction began on July 7, 1954 and was completed in January of 1955. Over the next three decades, the library underwent a few renovation and expansion projects to accommodate the growing community and its needs. In 1966, the old homestead was demolished and a new main area was built in its place. The new construction featured split-level multi-tier stack areas separated by a central adult reading area at street level, which attached to the existing children's wing. Two small buildings called the Gazebos were also added to the Children’s wing.

In 1983, the Gazebos were demolished and an addition to the building known as the Elinor Haff Wing was built in their place. By 1999, the building was again busting at the seams and plans for a new building were being discussed. In 2001, the Library had developed tentative plans to replace the existing one on the same site. Two months later, the School District offered a possible site on Greene Avenue on the former location of Old '88. However, the voters defeated the proposal in April 2002. A second proposal was defeated again in 2003. Then finally, in November of 2006, a proposal was approved.

On June 28, 2009, the new Sayville Library opened. It has five levels, two below ground and three above. The lowest public level houses two meeting rooms (one with a stage) and an art gallery; the next up, extensive Children's Services with an adjacent outside courtyard area for summertime story hours; then, mid-level, the main entrance, lobby and Circulation Services; above that is ""Teen Central"", designed especially for young adults; lastly, the top level, stretching the full length and width of the building, is devoted to Adult Services with extensive stacks, a quiet reading room, a computer room, private study rooms, and the Long Island Room which is devoted to local history. For improved efficiency, the new building also features solar panels on the roof and a geothermal energy system, both partially funded by State grants. At present (2020), the Sayville Library collection has about 171,000 items, and offers multiple streaming services. It is visited by 13,000 borrowers with Library cards out of 21,800 population served and has about 70 employees.

Sayville Library is a member of the Long Island Library Resources Council.


Sayville Library Historic Images and Notes Collection

A history of Sayville with images, compiled and written by Webb N. Morrison for the Sayville Library.

Sayville Library John A. Conklin Image Collection

Slides and photographs taken by former Sayville resident, John A. Conklin

Sayville Library Long Island Collection

Items from the Local History Collection of the Sayville Library.

Sayville Library Postcard Collection

Postcards of Sayville, NY and Surrounding Areas