Memory Lane



Connetquot Public Library: Memories of the Early Years

The history of the Connetquot Public Library is somewhat unique, because most libraries begin with the construction of a building, but the Connetquot Public Library story is one of evolution. You could say that our first library service began with the wheel.

In June 1963, the Suffolk Cooperative Library System received a “New York State Demonstration Bookmobile” to provide service to the 23 Suffolk County communities that had no public libraries. (1) The Connetquot District (Bohemia, Oakdale, and Ronkonkoma) was one of those areas. Every other Tuesday, a bookmobile carrying over 2,000 adult and children books and a librarian would stop at the Plaza Shopping Center on Montauk Highway in Oakdale and also at the Bohemia Post Office which was located then off Smithtown Avenue. (2) Other stops were added later on including one at the Edith Slocum School in Ronkonkoma. Statistics indicate that the service was popular. According to The Suffolk County News in 1964, during the month of July a total of 367 residents of Bohemia and Oakdale borrowed 2,109 volumes. (3)

By the end of the 1960s, the population of the district became greater than what a bookmobile could properly service. Residents were able to join other district libraries, such as Sayville or Patchogue, but they were required to pay a membership fee. Some Connetquot people supported the notion of establishing a library of their own, because they saw it as unfair to pay state taxes to support other district libraries and not have one of their own. However, it was not until 1974, when residents approved the formation of The Connetquot Public Library, that the bookmobile became history. We recently spoke with Ed Taylor, a long-time resident, who told us about his memories of the bookmobile and the years that followed, when the first library "building" was just a trailer. After hearing his stories, you will understand better just how much we have evolved over the years.

  1. "Mobile Library Here on Tuesday.” Suffolk County News, June 11, 1963. Accessed September 5, 2015. NYS Historic Newspapers.
  2. Ibid
  3. “Via the Grapevine.” Suffolk County News, September 10, 1964. Accessed September 8, 2015. NYS Historic Newspapers.

Ed Taylor Interview