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Yates Community Library History

On November 10, 1948, a group of citizens of the Lyndonville community gathered at the Town Hall for an informational meeting about forming a library association for the purpose of establishing a free public library.  Six more meetings were held, with more and more interested residents attending.

After receiving its provisional charter from New York State, the Yates Community Library opened on July 16, 1949 with approximately 900 donated books from local citizens.  The new
library was open ten hours per week, averaging 160 books circulated each month.  The library was located in a small frame building on Main Street originally used as an office for Dr. David Fraser in the 19th century, and is currently home to Bill’s Sub Shop.

The library soon outgrew the small building and in 1952 moved into two rooms on the second floor of Yates Town Hall.  In June of 1959, with an inventory of nearly 2,600 books, the library moved to larger accommodations in the Weber Building on the left side of the coffee shop, now the hardware section of the Pennysaver Market.

In May 1959, the library board voted to join with other libraries in Orleans County, along with those in Genesee and Niagara counties, to form the Nioga Library System.

In 1969, Mr. William Smith approached the library board with an offer to give land, along with a gift of $30,000 for the construction of a new library, providing the library would raise matching funds.  The library board accepted the offer and the townspeople responded generously to the fund drive.

Within a few short months, $45,000 was pledged for the construction of the Mary M. Smith Memorial Building, named for Mr. Smith’s deceased wife.

Groundbreaking ceremonies were held in the spring of 1970.  The building was completed and
dedicated on May 2, 1971 with Congressman Barber Conable as the featured speaker.  The new
library was a local project; no state or federal funds were used.  Beginning with Mr. Smith’s offer through construction, relocation, and completion, the entire undertaking was accomplished in only two years.

Total circulation in 1998 was in excess of 17,000 and in the past fifteen years the library has
witnessed much growth and activity.  The library has become a fully functional “online” library, with Internet services used by 5,500 persons annually, an electronic card catalog, and inter-library loans with all libraries in the three-county system.  In the 1990s, the purchase of the
MacDonald Hardware Building on the south side of the parking lotenlarged our property.  The
building was razed and a blacktop parking lot was enlarged for library use as well as the use of the community business district.

In 2001 the library hired an architect to advise on the feasibility of enlarging our
building.  After studying the plans and proposals for three years, the board decided on an extensive renovation of the current facility.  In 2008, the Book House was added to the property so that the community has access to purchasing gently used books at minimal expense.  The community garden, giving visual interest to Main Street, was added in 2009 and has been well-received by the community for honoring local residents and enhancing Main Street.

Today, the library’s collection including books, audiobooks, DVDs, and magazines numbers over 17,000 items.  The library is open 41 hours per week to serve its 1,600 patrons.

In the coming years, the library board hopes to continue the mission set before us to strengthen the community through education, cultural entertainment, outreach programs and civic commitment to our community.



Yates Community Library | 15 North Main Street | P.O. Box 485 | Lyndonville, NY 14098 | 585-765-9041
A Member of the Nioga Library System

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