Description of Local History Room Collections, Services, Policies, & History


Local History Books
  • These are organized into two basic collections (items of which are lisred in the Patchogue-Medford Library Catalog):
    •  Long Island Reference Collection            (LI REF)
    •  New York [State] Reference Collection   (NY REF)
  • These collections are supplemented by the Library's Reference, Nonfiction, Oversized, Young Adult/Audiovisual, Children's & Parents' Services, and various collections in storage, including NY REF Storage and LI REF Storage collections.   All are cataloged and listed in the Patchogue-Medford Library Catalog
  • LI REF:  The Long Island Reference Collection contains works on selected aspects of L.I. agricultural, business, economic, educational, environmental, genealogical, industrial, literary, maritime, military, naval, political, religious, scientific, social, technological, and social history; as well as works on various historical periods and personalities. A major section of the collection is organized geographically, (See Improving Access, below.)  Classics, standard works, scholarly findings, and items aimed at a general audience, sometimes sit side by side.  Government publications may include selected provincial or state county, town, city and incorporated village records, cemetery registers, environmental assessments, historic sites reports, planning documents, and more.  
  • NY REF:   The New York Reference Collection contains selected histories, historical documents and studies, on New York State, various regions, counties, cities and communities. There are encyclopedias, dictionaries, historical gazetteers of the state.   Archeology, historical periods, native plant and animal life, cemeteries, industries, Indians, historical travel, maritime, and military records are just some of the themes covered. NY REF includes works on New York City's history, on the History of individual boroughs, and various themes and statictical publications on the history of the city. 

  • Due to the limited space within the Room, half the L.I. REF Collection and three-quarters of the N.Y. REF Collection are held in storage.  But, storage reference items may be examined in the Periodicals Plus Room, a few at at time during Library hours, whether the Local History Room is open or closed. The titles are listed in the Patchogue-Medford Library Catalog. 
  • A Guide to Localizing Dewey For Long Island Use contains the complete organizational arrangement.  It is also listed in our "Librarian's Corner" section, and has been adapted for local use by a gradually growing number of public libraries around Suffolk County. 

    • Improving Access:  Dewey Decimal Classification, used by most public libraries, does refine materials to the county-level, but not below that level.  That quickly becomes a problem, when trying to sort out history more local than the county.  From a practical standpoint, Dewey scrambles material on county-wide and smaller geographic areas within the county, arranging them by author or title (not by locale).  People using the collection often ask for everything we have, e.g, on a particular town, village, or outer island, or by 2 variant definitions of L.I. as a region (4-county and bi-county).  To make this material more readily accessible, an organzational scheme was created and adopted by Patchogue-Medford Library, to clarify and re-organize the four most heavily used sections of Dewey relating to Long Island history, by geographic locale, adding a short mnemonic (sounds-like what it is) abbreviation.  The basic set is:  
      • L.I. Region (R-LI): 
        • R-LI-2 = works on the Nassau-Suffolk bi-county region
        • R-LI-4 = works on the 4-county region, adding the 2 western or New York City Boroughs/Counties of Long Island, Kings & Queens
      • Individual L.I. Counties (CO) [added for visual ease, on spine labels]:
        • CO-SUFF = general or thematic works about Suffolk County, as a whole
        • CO-NASS = general or thematic works about Nassau County, as a whole 
      • L.I.'s Outer Islands (I)
        • For example:  Fire Is.[I-FIRE], Fisher's Is. [I-FISH], Gardiners Is. [I-GRDNR], Plum Is. [I-PLUM], Robins Is. [I-ROBN]
      • L.I. Towns (T)  
        • Babylon [T-BABL], Brookhaven [T-BROO], East Hampton [T-EHAM], Huntington [T-HUNT], Islip [T-ISLP], Riverhead [T-RIVR], Shelter Island [T-SHIS], Smithtown [T-SMTH], Southampton [T-SHTM], & Southold [T-SOHD], in Suffolk County, Hempstead [T-HEMP], North Hempstead [T-NHEM], & Oyster Bay [T-OYBY], in Nassau County.
      • Individual L.I. Villages(V):  Includes both incorporated and unincorporated villages
        • E.g., Amagansett [V-AMAG], Amityville [V-AMITY], Bay Shore [V-BYSHR], Centerport[V-CPORT], Deer Park [V-DEER], East Islip [V-EISLP], East Patchogue [V-EPATCH], East Hampton (village) [V-EHAM], Huntington (village) [V-HUNT], Lindenhurst [V-LNDNH], Mattituck [V-MATT], Medford [V-MEDF], Merrick [V-M-RICK], Montauk [V-MONTK], Muttontown [V-MUTTN], Northaven [V-NHVN], Patchogue [V-PATCH], Port Jefferson [V-PJEFF], Valley Stream [V-VLSTRM], Westhampton [V-WHMTN], Wyandanch [V-WYNDN], Yaphank [V-YPHNK], and many others).  The V- and T- distinguish works on a village from those of a Town, when they happen to share the same name.
      • Customarily-Grouped Villages (VGP)
        • E.g.:  Five Towns [VGP-5TWN], Three Village Area [VGP-3VILL], the Moriches [VGP-MRCH], The Hamptons [VGP-HMTN].  


Local History Periodicals  - a small selection of available items:
    • Long Island Forum, 1938-2004 - available in Celia M. Hastings Local History Room; inquire at Periodicals Plus, during hours when the room is not open
    • Long Island Forum [Cumulative] Index, 1938-2003 - available online, at home, or in the Library
    • Long Island Historical Journal, 1988-2008 - inquire in Celia M. Hastings Local History Room
    • Patchogue[-Medford] High School Record [yearbook], [1925]-2014 - inquire in Periodicals Plus Room; there are some gaps, esp. in early years
    • St. Joseph's College. Patchogue Campus.  Seton Hall High School.  Milestones [yearbook], 1941-1974 - inquire in Periodicals Plus Room  [Note:  St. Joseph's College, Patchogue Campus, now occupies the former site of Seton Hall High School] 
      • Reflections [yearbooks].  
      • Memories [yearbooks]. 
      • Horizons  [yearbooks]. 
      • Achievements [yearbooks]
      • Note:  Many of these yearbooks now appear online, courtesy of St. Joseph's College. Digital yearbooks have also been linked to the Patchogue-Medford Area History web page, about 4/5th's of the way down the page, under -- St. Joseph's College.  Patchogue Campus --- Yearbooks. 
        • The Corrector, 1822-1911 (Sag Harbor, NY)
        • The Long Islander, 1839-1974 (Huntington, NY; courtesy of the Huntington Historical Society)
        • South Side Signal, 1869-1920  (Babylon, NY)
        • Long Island Traveler, 1871-1940  (Cutchogue, 1872; then Southold, NY)
        • Sag Harbor Express, 1885-1898  (Sag Harbor, NY)
        • Suffolk County News, 1888-1972, 1996-2007  (Sayville, NY)
        • Port Jefferson Echo, 1892-1931  (Port Jefferson Station, NY)
        • County Review, 1904-1950  (Riverhead, NY) 
        • Patchogue Advance, 1926-1969  (Patchogue, NY)
        • Watchman, 1930-1939  (Mattituck, NY)
        • Mid-Island Mail, 1935-1941  (Medford Station, NY)
        • Long Island Traveler-Watchman, 1940-1990   (Southold, NY) 
        • East Hampton Star, 1950-1956  (East Hampton, NY)
        • Islip Bulletin, 1962-1975  (Brentwood, NY)
        • Babylon Beacon, 1967-1972  (Babylon, NY)

          These newspapers may be searched simultaneously (all at once), by a selected group of titles, or by individual newspaper, using the advanced search feature.  A pull down menu allows limitation of the search to predefined historic periods, and results may be preselected to appear in ascending (oldest first) or descending (most recent first) order (though this is quirky).  Note processing on the the site is very slow, but efforts are underway to imporve its speed. 

      • Brooklyn Newsstand  (Brooklyn Public Library) -- Primarily the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, 1841-1955. This is a major metropolitan daily, covering most L.I. villages from Brooklyn to Montauk and Orient, and points in between.  This site is also available online, and searchable at home, or in the Library.  Search village names using their pre-1903 names, if known to you (if no luck, try its current name). Brooklyn Public Library is working on a sequel.  Number of pages per issue expanded after 1902, slowing the process of analysis, needed to make articles, illustrations, etc. individually accessible.)   

      • Mid-Island Mail, 1935-1941 (Medford Station, N.Y.) (microfilm version; available for in-Library use; in Periodicals Plus Room; also seachable on Suffolk Historic Newspapers [see above])

      • New York Times, Historical edition, 1851-2006 (available in the Library, via Library subscription; the Library also subscribes to the current edition, also searcable, in the Library)

      • Newsday, Jan. 1979-   (microfilm; available in Library; inquire in Periodicals Plus Room)

      • Rivington's New York Gazetteer, March 18, 1773-Dec 18, 1783  (microfilm, available in Library; inquire in Periodicals Plus Room) -- Leading Tory newspaper of N.Y.C., during the British occupation, during the American Revolution; also available online to subscribers, and may also be searched in Library, via Library subscription) 

      • Rivington's New York Gazette, 1779-1783(microfilm; leading N.Y.C. Tory newspaper, during the American Revolution, containing frequent news of affairs on L.I.; available in Library; inquire in Periodicals Plus Room; also available to subscribers online via, which may also be searched in Library, via Library subscription) 

Local History Audiovisual Materials  
    • Digital PML was launched with 3 initial items, in the 1st week of January 2015
    • L.I. Map & Atlas Collection - may selectively be found in the L.I. REF and NY REF. collections, in and near the map cases, in map tubes, among the archival materials, in the vertical files, electronically, and in occasional exhibits and displays)
    • L.I. Photographic, Post Card, and Period Illustration Collection - may selectively be found in L.I. REF and NY REF. collections, in the archival collections, mounted aerial photographs, in the vertical files, electronically in scrapbooks, and occasionally in exhibits and displays
    • Local Oral Histories Collection - may selectively be found on audiotape, digital audio, or in transcription
    • Scrapbook Collection  - cover a variety of themes, though some are arranged chronologically


Local History Archives

         See also  Digital PML

  • Burr Atlas of New York State
  • Sanborn Atlases of Patchogue (3 vols.)
  • World War I Veteran Surveys
  • Virginia Roe Marshall Scrapbook
  • Hurricane of 1938 Scrapbooks
  • Junior Order United American Mechanics Archive 
  • Patchogue-Medford Library Archives
  • Patchogue-Medford High School Athletics [selected years' newspaper clippings]
  • Photographs & Illustrations of Patchogue
  • LIRR Photos
  • Frank Mooney Aerial Photos of the Patchogue Area (Mounted)
  • Postcard Collection
  • Oral History Collection


Local History File Cabinets  (Long Island & Patchogue Vertical Files)


  • Long Island Vertical Files -- 24 file drawers, arranged by subject, A-Z; heavily subdivided to aid research
  • L.I. -- Patchogue Vertical Files -- 8 file drawers, arranged by subject, A-Z; heavily subdivided to aid research
  • Long Island / L.I-Patchogue Vertical File Subject Headings - online directory; over 1000 subject headings and subheadings, designed for precision, to help speed research and retrieval



  Local History Website (Electronic Resources) 
  • Local History Web Pages - These continue to grow in number and in range of themes.  Mostly, a series of geographically-arranged links proceeding from larger to smaller areas, as you move down the column, followed by other thematic web pages & reference works.  There is also a handy, recommended overview of these pages in the..
  • User's Guide to PML's Local History Web Pages PML & SCLS online local history reference works
    • Local History - is the basic orientation web page that leads to all the others, and provides an overview of the Celia M. Hastings Local History Room:  its mission, hours, resources, services, history, policies, and more. Don't miss the 10 handy links on the basic page that provide (1) further description of the room and collections, (2) a self-guided tour of the Room (illustrated), (3) information on the room's namesake, (4) the User's Guide to web pages (mentioned above), (5) currently featured local history web pages, (6) currently featured local history displays & picture window exhibits, (7) a partial profile of users of local history, (8) A Guide to Localizing Dewey for L.I. Use (mentioned above), (9) A few ramblings on some of the quirks of local history, (10) Local History Contacts, and (11) book an appointment with a librarian. 
    • Other web pages (in the left-hand column) include:
    • New York State History - in general, then classifed by subject, is followed by thematic web subpages on NYS counties, cities, governors, and NYC & its Borough histories
    • Long Island History - in general, then classified by subject, is followed by thematic web subpages on LI counties, then Suffolk County, towns (of Nassau & Suffolk), then Brookhaven Town, villages (of Nassau and Suffolk)
    • Patchogue-Medford Area History - in general, then classified by subject, followed by East Patchogue, Medford, and North Patchogue pages, followed by...
    • Patchogue Village History - in general, then classified by subject, with thematic subpages on Patchogue biography, historical periods, business & industrial, educational, literary, and maritime history
    • Patchogue-Medford Library History - in general, then classified chronologically
    • Long Island Forum [Cumulative] Index, 1938-2003 - searchable at home or in the library
    • Historic L.I. Newspapers - (as discussed above) + additional links & information
    • Long Island & L.I.-Patchogue Vertical File Subject Headings - subjects, A-Z, often heavily sub-divided for greater precision in helping researchers
    • Researching Your House - in general, PML resources, and Suffolk County-specific additional and outside resources; online version of our popular brochure
    • Historical Celebrations and Commemorations - e.g., general celebrations, and L.I. or locally-interpreted aspects, often with online links: e.g., on Civil War 150th Anniversary (2011-2015), Black History Month (February), Women's History Month (March), Suffolk Traction Company Centennial, 1911-19/2011-19, and more (rewards exploration)
    • Librarians' Corner - under revision     
  • Offline local electronic resources
  • Local history digital images
  • Commemorative PowerPoint presentations
  • Access to selected L.I. historic newspaper web pages
  • Access to selected local history web pages of Suffolk County's public libraries
  • Patchogue-Medford Area Historic Images ( 




Local History Room Exhibits and Displays


  • These are usually related to commemorations, or highlight a theme in local history, often accompanied by displays in the Celia M. Hastings Local History Room windows, related web pages, display boards and handouts




Local History Room Publications


  • The nature of local history publications has changed over time, from printed bookmarks presenting briefly hours, resources and services, to the more recent trend of a mix of print and increasingly electronic resources, available free online, some for the first time to reseachers and to the interested general public.  There are also display boards, highlighting aspects of PML publications.  The present website is now the primary resource for local history publication.



A Brief History of the Local History Room


  • While the precise origin of the local history room is elusive, further research (perhaps by a promising librarian intern), may yield up clues.  
  • The nucleus of the collection began with the library's several origins, in 1883 (as a library association), 1900 (state charter as a public library), and 1908 (Carnegie Library), represented by a few surviving books, maps, atlases, photos, and two very early published library catalogs.
  • In the early 1920's, Patchogue Library had what it then called a small museum collection, basically mounted butterflies, that have long since either been reclaimed by nature, their owner, or disintegrated.
  • Sometime between the 1920's-1950's, local history materials were gradually clustered. 
  • By the late 1950's, the collection came to be housed, for lack of space, in a small, cramped, dark, unventilated basement room of the Carnegie Library, conditions ideal for growing mold.
  • By the late 1960's, the room became overstuffed by the growing accumulation and a precarious assortment of related and unrelated material.   Librarians retrieving materials were required to wear hard hats, to retrieve material for use, and the public was not allowed to venture there, as it was unsafe, given the many potential risks, structural as well as environmental.
  • The more modern room was created after the Library moved into the W.T. Grant Building, in 1981.  The local history collection was initially housed in what is today the Quiet Study Room. As it was found to be too directly over the boiler, the collection was shifted next door to its larger, present location, though the room was too small to house the entire collection. When compact shelving was built, ca 1988, reserve storage collections were created. 
  • 1984-86 saw the Library venture into local oral history, in a series of audiotaped interviews, conducted by Sally Garrett and Constance Borntraeger.  They continued to accumulate a well-selected, ecclectic collection of materials and the collection soon outgrew the room.  That trend has continued, to the present, so that half the Long Island Reference Collection and 3/4ths of the New York Reference Collection is held in storage, though accessible, and the vertical file cabinets were bursting with material under broad, often nonstandard subject headings.  Maps and atlases were accumulating, as were archives on a variety of topics.
  • Heroic forays were made in the 1908's and 1990's to create, automate, and improve access to the Long Island Forum Index and L.I. Genealogical Index, a commitment of over a decade (initially on mid-1970's Cindex software).
  • Since 1997, active reorganization and reinterpretation of the collection has taken many forms:  (a) Carrie Locke's subdivision & standardization of the Long Island / L.I.-Patchogue Vertical File Subject Headings Index and placing it on the web; (b) Gary Lutz's redesign and launching of a successful, multiply searchable Long Island Forum [Cumulative] Index, 1938-2003; (c) reorganization of a critical portion of the L.I. Reference Collection, geographically that brought together material, for the first time, material on individual L.I. towns, villages, outer customarily grouped villages, and outer islands, and arranged them alphabetically, significantly speeding research; (d) creation and/or publication, revision, and expansion, of a variety of print and electronic (both online and offline) resources:  to improve access to collections, interpret the collections and archives, highlight and illustrate local aspects of national commemorations, observe and celebrate local commemorations (e.g., Patchogue-Medford Library's Centennial, and Brookhaven Town's 350th Anniversary, Historic Suffolk archival displays, general and local aspects of the Civil War Sesquicentennial), generate displays, exhibits, and public handouts; make material generally available online to the public, sometimes for the first time anywhere, and to increase PML's value as a local history resource for the Patchogue-Medford area community, for expatriates now living elsewhere who have maintained interest in the history of the area, for Suffolk County residents, Long Islanders, and many others, who have expressed their interest nationally and sometimes even internationally.   
  • Between 2009-2010 our Local History web pages were redone, and many new pages & links to full-text primary material were added, allowing more rapid access to classic histories, documents collections, and a number of local genealogies recently introduced to the web. 
  • 2011-Present, new webpages were added, others broken down into thematic subpages to permit expansion of both the parent pages and their subtheme pages.
  • 2011-Present has seen an increase in the number of digitized versions of selected books and pamphlets from our holdings added to the web, as well as development of new local history reference works.  More is contemplated or already in the works.
  • In late 2014, a revised local history website was released, and we are presently working out its kinks, checking its links, and expanding its content.



Local History Room Policies, & Photocopier


  • All materials in the Celia M. Hastings Local History Room must be used in the Room, and must remain in the room. 
  • These materials and related materials in storage do not circulate.
  • Long Island Reference Storage & New York Reference Storage items do not circulate.
  • Photocopies may be made in the Local History Room @ 10 cents a page. 
  • Note:  Sometimes there are also circulating copies of works, on the shelves, elsewhere in the library (e.g., Non-Fiction and Q collections, or in other storage areas), or in other libraries, that may be borrowed. 
  • Check the Library's Catalog for circulating copies.  If none are listed, There may also be another library that will lend the title.  Check the County Catalog.  If so, it may be requested on interlibrary loan from that library.
  • Room tours may be arranged either informally, during the Room's posted hours (if it is not busy, or in use by researchers), or by prior arrangement.  There is also a self-guided tour of the room on our Local History web page.  Specialized tours are best if made by prior arrangement. 
  • For further information, inquiries, or constructive suggestions, contact:  Mark Rothenberg, (631) 286-1600, ext. 240 or