A Brief History of the Larchmont Public Library

The Village of Larchmont can trace its history back to 1614 when the land was settled by the Dutch.  By 1720, most all the land in the area had been purchased from the Siwanoy Indians by either the Dutch or the British. The area that would become Larchmont grew steadily over the years and by the late 19th century the area was known as a summer playground for New York’s elite. These summer residents chose to incorporate as a municipality in 1891. In 1922, Edward F. Albee, (grandfather of playwright Edward Albee, known for the play “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf”), a prominent resident, theater owner and producer, donated the land for the development of the Albee Court Apartments, the Larchmont National Bank and the Larchmont Public Library. That same year, St. Clair Bayfield, a notable Shakespearean actor and the manager of the famous New York socialite and singer, Florence Foster Jenkins, staged “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” as a benefit for the new library. The public also raised funds for the library. The Larchmont Public Library, which had received its charter earlier in the year, opened its doors to the public for the first time on November 29, 1926.

Since opening the doors nearly ninety years ago, the Larchmont Public Library has grown and expanded a number of times. Most significant were the expansion completed in January, 1995, which joined the children’s library to the main library and made the library handicapped accessible, and the creation of the Burchell Children’s room in 2010, which included renovations in other parts of the library as well. The Larchmont Public Library continues to grow and expand as it meets the needs of the community. The Library, which serves the Village of Larchmont in addition to the area that is Unincorporated Mamaroneck, is one of the 38 public libraries in Westchester County that make up the Westchester Library System. The library offers an ever-expanding array of programs for adults, teens and children and is on the forefront of the digital age offering growing collections of eBooks, audiobooks and other digital materials to its patrons for use on virtually every type of digital device available. The Larchmont Public Library’s history is ongoing and the library is now working toward the start of its second century of community service.