Room Collections, Services, Policies, And History


  1. Local History Books
  2. Local History Periodicals
  3. Local History Audiovisual Materials
  4. Local History Archives
  5. Local History File Cabinets (Long Island and Patchogue)
  6. Local History Website (Electronic Resources)
  7. Local History Exhibits and Displays
  8. Local History Publications
  9. Local History Room Policies and Photocopier
  10. A Brief History of the Local History Room

1. Local History BOOKS

  • These are organized into two basic collections (and holdings are listed in the Patchogue-Medford Library Catalog):
  • a.  NY REF:   New York [State] Reference Collection  contains selected histories, historical documents and studies on New York State, various regions, counties, cities and communities.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.   Archaeology, historical periods, colonial and state governors, colleges and universities, native plant and animal life, cemeteries, industries, Indians, historical travel, maritime, selected civil and military records are just some of the themes covered. NY REF includes works on New York City's history, on the history of its individual boroughs (New York [Manhattan], Kings [Brooklyn], Queens, Staten Island, and Bronx) and various themes and statistical publications on the history of  NYC. 
  • b.  LI REF:  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 or incorporated village records, cemetery registers, environmental assessments, historic sites reports, planning documents, and more.  
  • c.  These 2 collections are supplemented by the Library's Adult Collections (NY Ref Storage, LI REF Storage,  Reference, Non-Fiction, Oversize), Young Adult and New Adult/Audiovisual Collections, and Children's Services Collections. All are cataloged and listed in the Patchogue-Medford Library Catalog.
  • d.  Due to limited space within the Room, half the L.I. REF Collection and three-quarters of the N.Y. REF Collection are held in storage.  Items in storage may be requested in the Local History Room or at the Adult Reference Desk, a few at at time, during Library hours.  A photo ID or your Library card will be required. Works in storage are also listed in the Patchogue-Medford Library Catalog. 
  • e.  A Guide to Localizing Dewey for Long Island Use explains the organizational arrangement of a large section of material in the LI REF Collection.  It can be found in the "Librarian's Corner" section of the Local History website, and has been adapted for local use by a number of public libraries around Long Island. 
    • IMPROVING ACCESS:  Dewey Decimal Classification, used by most public libraries, does refine materials to but not below the county-level, and it does not distinguish between works that choose to define Long Island as a 2-county vs. a 4-county region.  Result:  works on the region share the same number, and works on counties, towns, villages, clustered groups of villages, and outer islands are scrambled by author or title (rather than by locale).  People using the collection often ask for everything we have on a particular town, village, or outer island, or by the 2 variant definitions of L.I.  To make this material more readily accessible, an organizational scheme was created and adopted by Patchogue-Medford Library, to clarify and re-organize four of the most heavily used Dewey area 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 all 4 Counties of L.I., adding in the 2 western New York City boroughs/counties of L.I., Kings & Queens
      • Individual Counties  (CO) [added for visual ease, on spine labels]:
        • CO-NASS = general or thematic works about Nassau County, as a whole 
        • CO-SUFF = general or thematic works about Suffolk County, as a whole
      • L.I. Towns  (T)  [in NYS, large administrative areas of counties, containing many villages]
        • 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.
      • Customarily Grouped Villages  (VGP)
        • E.g.:  Five Towns [VGP-5TWN], Three Village Area [VGP-3VILL], Moriches [VGP-MRCH], Hamptons [VGP-HMTN].
      • Individual L.I. Villages  (V):  Includes both incorporated and unincorporated villages (and Nassau's 2 cities
        • Note:  V- and T- distinguish works about a village from those of a Town, when they share the same name, as many do.  E.g.:  V-RIVR (Riverhead village) vs. T-RIVR (The Town of Riverhead) 
        • 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], North Patchogue [V-NPTCH]Patchogue [V-PATCH], Port Jefferson [V-PJEFF], Valley Stream [V-VLSTRM], Westhampton [V-WHMTN], Wyandanch [V-WYNDN], Yaphank [V-YPHNK], and many others).  
      • L.I.'s Outer Islands  (I)
        • E.g.:  Fire Is. [I-FIRE], Fisher's Island [I-FISH], Gardiners Is. [I-GRDNR], Plum Is. [I-PLUM], Robins Is. [I-ROBN]

2. Local History PERIODICALS  - a selection of available items:

  • Long Island Forum, 1938-2004, containing articles and reviews aimed at a general reading audience, is available in the Celia M. Hastings Local History Room; and in storage, via the Adult Reference Desk
  • Long Island Forum [Cumulative] Index, 1938-2003 is available online (at home, or in the Library).
  • Long Island Historical Journal, Digitized Edition, 1988-2008  (Stony Brook University.  History Department) 
  • Long Island History Journal, 2009-    (Stony Brook University.  History Department)
  • Patchogue[-Medford] High SchoolRecord [yearbook] -- while there are a few  gaps, esp. in early years, these are available in the Local History Room
  • Seton Hall High School.  Milestones [yearbook], 1941-1974 - Note:  Seton Hall began in 1937, as Patchogue Catholic High School.  But it wasn't until 1941 that its first yearbook was published, the year that school name changed to Seton Hall.  Yearbooks are in storage.    
  • St. Joseph's University (formerly St. Joseph's College), Patchogue Campus, now occupies the former site of Seton Hall High School.]  Its yearbooks include:
    • Reflections [yearbooks].  
    • Memories [yearbooks]. 
    • Horizons  [yearbooks]. 
    • Achievements [yearbooks]
    • Note:  Many of these yearbooks now appear online, courtesy of St. Joseph's University.  Digital yearbooks have been linked to the Patchogue - Educational History web page, about 4/5th's of the way down the page, under -- St. Joseph's University.  Patchogue Campus --- Yearbooks. 
  • Historic Long Island Newspapers web page links to:
    • New York State Historic Newspapers:  Suffolk County, NY - selected runs of Suffolk County, NY, historic weekly newspapers, searchable online, either at home or in the  Library.  These include: The Corrector, 1822-1911 (Sag Harbor, NY)
      • Rivington's New York Gazetteer, March 18, 1773-Dec 18, 1783  (microfilm, available in Library) -- 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 the Library, via Library subscription
      • Newsday, July 17, 1944-  (microfilm, available in Library; the Library also offers Newsday Historical 1940-1992 and Newsday 1985+, available in the Library and at home, via Library subscription, and subscribes to the current edition, also searchable, in the Library)
      • New York Times, Historical edition, 1851-2017 and New York Times, 1980+ (available in the Library and at home, via Library subscription; the Library also has microfilm spanning certain years, and also subscribes to the current edition, also searchable, in the Library)
      • Mid-Island Mail, 1935-1941 (Medford Station, N.Y.) (microfilm, available in Library; also searchable on New York State Historic Newspapers [see above])
      •  Brooklyn Daily Eagle, 1841-1963 (via the Brooklyn NewsstandBrooklyn Public Library) -- 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).  Number of pages per issue expanded after 1902, slowing the process of analysis, needed to make articles, illustrations, etc. individually accessible.
      • Links to Newspapers of other New York State Counties on L.I. (and on Manhattan):
      • 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. 
      • Bayport-Blue Point Gazzette, 2006-Present (Bayport, NY)
      • The Beacon, 1972-Present  (Babylon, NY)
      • Babylon Beacon, 1966-1972  (Babylon, NY)
      • Islip Bulletin, 1962-Present  (Brentwood, NY)
      • Mid-Island Mail, 1935-1941  (Medford Station, NY)
      • The Watchman, 1937-1940  (Mattituck, NY)
      • Watchman of the Sunrise Trail, 1927-1937  (Mattituck, NY)
      • County Review, 1903-1950  (Riverhead, NY) 
      • Patchogue Advance, 1885-1961  (Patchogue, NY)
        • Long Island Advance, 1961-Present  (Patchogue, NY)
      • Northport Journal, 1885-Present  (Northport, NY)
      • Port Jefferson Echo, 1892-1931  (Port Jefferson, NY)
        • Port Jefferson Times-Echo, 1931-1935  (Port Jefferson, NY)
      • Suffolk County News, 1888-Present  (Sayville, NY)
      • East Hampton Star, 1885-Present  (East Hampton, NY)
      • Sag Harbor Express, 1885-1898  (Sag Harbor, NY)
      • Sayville Weekly News, 1885-1888  (Sayville, NY)
      • Long Island Traveler, 1871-1940  (Cutchogue, 1872; then Southold, NY)
        • Long Island Traveler-Watchman, 1940-1990   (Southold, NY) 
        • Long Island Traveler, Mattituck Watchman, 1940-1975  (Southold, NY)
      • South Side Signal, 1869-1920  (Babylon, NY)
      • The Long Islander, 1839-Present (Huntington, NY; courtesy of the Huntington Historical Society)
      • Sag Harbor Express, 1859-1921  (Sag Harbor, NY)
      • Sag Harbor Express and the News and the Corrector, 1921-1947  (Sag Harbor, NY)
      • Sag Harbor Express, 1947-Present (Sag Harbor, NY)


  • Digital PML
  • 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 digital audio or in transcription
  • Scrapbook Collection  - cover a variety of themes, though some are arranged chronologically

4.  Local History ARCHIVES
              See also  Digital PML

  • Burr Atlas of New York State
  • Sanborn Atlases of Patchogue (3 vols.) + Online Sanborn Atlases of New York State
  • Mounted Photos and Map
  • Items in Map Cases and Map Tubes
  • Frank Mooney Aerial Photos of the Patchogue Area (Mounted)
  • World War I Veterans' Survey + Online Database Version
  • Virginia Roe Marshall Scrapbook
  • Chronological Scrapbooks
  • Hurricane of 1938 Scrapbooks
  • Junior Order United American Mechanics Archives  
  • Patchogue-Medford Library Archives
  • Patchogue-Medford High School Athletics [selected years' newspaper clippings]
  • Photographs, Slides, Postcards & Other Illustrations of Patchogue
  • Mounted LIRR Photos
  • Oral History Collection
  • Miscellaneous Realia (e.g., Former Card Catalog, Victory Cup (yacht race), Oyster tin, bottle, bricks from former Patchogue-Plymouth Lace Mill)
  • Charters of the Local DAR and CAR Chapters, on loan
  • Reproduction of the charter of the Local SAR Chapter
  • Various Manuscript Items
  • Selected materials in the Vertical Files
  • Electronic archival materials

5.  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

6.  Local History WEBSITE (Electronic Resources) 

  • Local History Website:  Summary Sheet - Outlines and briefly lists or explains the contents of each of the website's 6 main areas (accessed through a series of pull-down menus).
  • Other Electronic Resources:
    • Offline local electronic resources
    • Local history digital images  (Digital PML and offline 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

7.  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

8.  Local History Room PUBLICATIONS

  • The nature of local history publications has changed over time, from printed bookmarks briefly presenting 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 researchers 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.

9.  Local History Room POLICIES and 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 inter-library loan from that library.
  • Room tours may be arranged either informally (if it is not busy, or in use by researchers), or by prior arrangement There is also a self-guided tour of the room.  Specialized tours are best if made by prior arrangement. 
  • For further information, inquiries, or constructive suggestions, contact us.

10.  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 library student intern), may yield up clues.  
  • The nucleus of the collection began with the library's several origins, in 1883 (as a private library association), 1900 (state charter as a public library), 1908 (Carnegie Library), represented by a few surviving books, maps, atlases, photos, and two very early published library catalogs, 1981 (when the Library moved to the former W.T. Grant building), and 2017 (when the Carnegie Library was rededicated).
  • 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.
  • In 1973, with the name change from Patchogue to Patchogue-Medford Library, the officially scope of local collection was expanded to include Medford.
  • The 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 small for the collection and too close to the boiler, below it, the risk was that materials would become too brittle to handle.  The collection was shifted next door to its larger, present location, though the room was still too small to house the entire collection. 
  • 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, eclectic collection of materials and that outgrew the space in 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.
  • When compact shelving was built, in 1988, reserve storage collections were created. 
  • Heroic forays were made in the 1980'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 using 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 bringing together material (for the first time) on the L.I. region (in 2-county and 4 county studies), individual counties, individual L.I. towns, villages, customary village groupings, and L.I.'s outer islands, and arranging each set together, alphabetically, significantly speeding research; (d) creation and/or publication, revision, and expansion, of a variety of print and electronic resources, displays exhibits, publications, and free handouts (both online and offline):  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, local aspects of the Civil War Sesquicentennial, various History Months, the Centennial of Women's Suffrage in NYS in 2017); 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 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, many new webpages have been added, others broken down into thematic subpages to permit expansion of both the parent pages and their sub-theme pages.  The same period 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.
  • A new version, released in early 2018, features easier access using pull-down menus.