Hendrick Hudson Free Library: A History
1931-1936: A Library’s Beginning
The Hendrick Hudson Free Library was founded by a small group of women from the College Hill section of Montrose in 1931. In 1932, the library opened and operated out of a house on the corner of Kings Ferry Road and Albany Post Road (current home of the Cortlandt Community Volunteer Ambulance Corps). The library was originally chartered to serve the Montrose Water District as Montrose was not yet an official hamlet.
1937-1965: Learning to Operate
In 1937, the Association was formed and five trustees were elected. The library was issued a provisional charter by the Board of Regents of the State Education Department, Division of Library Development in 1938 and was established to serve the residents of Central District No. 3. After meeting all the state requirements as a Free Association Library in 1949, the Absolute Charter was issued.
The library operates independently of any municipal government and is instead governed by trustees who reside within the service area and are active library card holders. The trustees operate under established by-laws; their responsibilities are few in number but broad in scope and include: development of a mission statement and all other library and public policies; select, hire and regularly evaluate a qualified library director; maintain a facility that meets the community needs; and exercise fiduciary responsibility for the use of public and private funds.
1966-1997: Finding the Right Home
The library stayed in its original location from 1932 until 1937 when it moved across the street to the “center of town” where it occupied a one-room storefront with its own lavatory. This was called home until 1966 when the library relocated to Albany Post Road in the Kavana Building. Eleven years later in 1977 a move was once again needed, this time just a hop, skip and jump away to what was the former home of the Montrose Fire Department. This space was renovated to include an upstairs area for programming.
This home was a perfect fit until 1995 when the forward-thinking board of trustees realized they would again outgrow the space and purchased the property where the current library is located. In July of 1997, the move was made to its current home at 185 Kings Ferry Road.
1998-2020: Growing Pains
After living in its new home for five years, it was determined by the library board that the children’s room needed a small addition and that the unfinished upstairs space should become a larger community room (named the Constance Dyckman Community Room in 2006); this work was completed in 2002.
In 2011, it was the teens who received a dedicated space in the lower level of the library and, in 2013, the second floor space was redesigned to provide additional study rooms, office space and a patron lounge with vending.
2017 brought with it big changes, with the opening of the 1200 sq. foot addition to the children’s library (2018 named the Leonora Roth Children’s Library), the installation of 289 solar panels, and the dedication of the Debra Appel Chomiw Rain Garden. Two of the three original public restrooms were completely refurbished in 2020 with generous support of a grant made possible by Assemblywoman Sandy Galef.
Hendrick Hudson Free Library Sustainability Awards
The library has received numerous awards from local, county, state and library associations for their leadership in promoting sustainability in all areas of their operations (financial, social and environmental):
2015 first library in Westchester to obtain Green Certification from the Green Business Partnership;
2016 awarded the Joseph Shubert Library Excellence Award for being a leader in sustainability efforts in NYS libraries;
2018 New York Library Association – Completion of the Sustainable Library Certification Program;
2016 & 2018 — Westchester County ECO Awards
Awarded for being the first library in Westchester to be certified as a Green Business and establishing itself as a leader in promoting sustainability