History of the Rensselaerville Library
The Town of Rensselaerville Library is the heart of our community. This unique resource serves as a focal point of contact in this rural area, providing intellectual and social enhancements that enrich the quality of life for children and adults alike. Besides providing traditional library services, the Library is often the catalyst of other activities, workshops, lectures and fundraisers that keep alive the spirit of volunteerism and total community involvement.
Dating from 1798, this was one of the first libraries in Albany County. It contained about 200 books, which were kept in different parts of Town, wherever space could be found. There were 186 patrons, now there are almost 2,000. The Library was discontinued briefly in 1832 and the present library was organized in 1896 as a reading room in the row house where it is today, the former boot shop of William Felter. Francis Conkling Huyck Sr. purchased and renovated the building in 1906, adding the distinctive Tudor facade which was designed by the Felter’s son-in-law, Jacob Becker.
In 1921, the Library was chartered as an association library by the State of New York Department of Education and charged to serve the entire Town and its hamlets. It meets current New York State library standards and is a member of the Upper Hudson Library System. Today, the Library’s collection numbers more than 27,000 items, including fiction and non-fiction books, reference materials, a vertical file, periodicals, videos, audio books on tape, music CDs, CD ROMs, Internet access, and access to millions more items through a computer-based interlibrary loan network, and access to several web-based database reference and periodical systems.
In 1996, the Library more than doubled its space by acquiring the adjacent property from the estate of Vivian Anderson Borthwick, who, at the age of 15 while still a high school student, was the youngest public librarian in New York State history. Her salary in 1929 was $10 a month! The annexed area, named the Ann Ballinger Annex, provides room for the growing media and youth collections, computers and a multi-purpose Community Room.
Our Helpful Staff:
Director and Librarian: Kimberly Graff
Library Assistant: Katie Caprio
Library Page: Zoe Hutchins and Madeline Ouellette
Student Volunteer: Stephen Lewis