Carnegie Building

March 4, 1908 – 1981 – The Carnegie Library Building (dedicated on the former date), was the first building in which the collection was housed that was architecturally designed to be a library.  It became the 1st home spacious and stable enough to permit library collection and services to properly develop.  The land was donated to the Trustees outright, by Edwin Bailey, Sr., who died two months short of its completion.  His generosity, and Andrew Carnegie’s final yea, permitted the village one of the few such libraries in the Nassau-Suffolk region.   By the 1930’s the library, despite repeated partial renovations, space reconfigurations, and stopgap cost-saving maintenance measures, and continual weeding of the collection to make room for new materials, had run out of space.  It became more even cramped, as measures to either expand or move the library to a larger property or building were rejected.  Heating and lighting systems did not keep pace with the times, but improvements were made.  The post-WWII housing and population boom placed additional public pressure on the library to expand its collection and services preferably at no or little public expense.  When the service area population (and demand for the same materials) was effectively doubled by inclusion of Medford (in 1951), it soon became obvious that either a larger library or a library expansion was needed.  Moving to a new, modern facility was disapproved, and an on-site expansion was eventually approved.  However, it was scaled back to permit public passage, the result being that allowance was made for the existing collection to be housed, with no room for growth.   The Library having expanded inadequately only once, in 1957, soon completely outgrew its confines, as population growth and public demands for variety continued to expand.  In 1963, the Suffolk Cooperative Library System was spun off in its basement.  Having become (along with Huntington Public Library) a state-designated central library, in 1968, and later sole central library for Suffolk County in 1979, received state funds to expand its collections, and provide services to Suffolk County, of which Patchogue-Medford residents were the first and prime recipients.   During its final decades in the Carnegie building, the library saw introduction of the electric typewriter, photocopier, microfilm and microform publications, and the first rumblings of the microcomputer.  It went from a book-based to a multi-media collection.  Children’s and Young Adult Services were introduced, Adult services expanded.  One of the finest reference collections in Suffolk County was built and maintained (as it is today).  Generations of librarians across the county looked to Patchogue(-Medford) as a model and were trained by its staff, and this continues to this day.