In 1899, the Dobbs Ferry Free Library and Reading Room was organized under the " Women's Christian. Temperance Union." The small collection of books gathered by the ladies was placed in the front parlor of a home on lower Main Street. Mrs. Pearse, the wife of the owner, acted as librarian. Situated in what was then the very center of town, she kept the library open every day, and allowed books to circulate for two weeks.
In 1909 the library was granted an Association Charter by the State Board of Regents, as the Dobbs Ferry Free Library. It moved into the ground floor of 153 Main Street, which also housed the William McKinley Free Kindergarten on the top floor. Miss Louise Miller, the kindergarten teacher and her assistant ran the library during the afternoon and evening. Col. Franklin Q. Brown, Library board President and benefactor for many years, and his wife Ida Eldridge Brown gave the library use of the building, at 153 Main Street, rent-free.
After Mrs. Brown's death in 1951, Col.Brown donated the building, in her memory, to the Village; at which time it was remodeled. A Children's Room was established on the second floor. It was not until 1957 that the Dobbs Ferry Free Library was re-chartered and became the Dobbs Ferry Public Library. The growing library collection soon outgrew its space.
In the late 1960's plans were made to build a new library on the original site. A referendum on the new library was defeated in 1971. To make better use of the existing space, a major renovation took place in 1973. However, the existing building was still too small for the village's 10,000 residents and was not handicapped accessible. After many years of searching for a new site, approval was given by the Village Board of Trustees for construction, on a municipal parking lot, on lower Main Street, close to the library's original home. Groundbreaking for the new library building, designed by Peter Gisolfi Associates, was held on May 6,2001.
The new building, with its distinctive Clock Tower, is more than twice the size of the old library. It has a separate Children's Room; an Adult Reading Room (named after Doris Volland, a former resident, who bequeathed her two million dollar estate to the library); a large Meeting Room/Art Gallery; Conference Room and a terrace (with Hudson River views). The building is also ADA compliant. The new library was dedicated on January 12, 2003.
Centennial Slideshow- Click the image below for the next slide:
Dobbs Ferry Public Library Mission Statement
The mission of the Dobbs Ferry Public Library is to provide a community-centered environment where lifelong habits of learning, self-improvement and self-expression are encouraged and where patrons can meet their educational, informational and recreational needs.
The Library responds to the needs of users by providing clean and inviting buildings, well-organized and up-to-date collections, friendly professional service and well-trained staff.