The Port Chester-Rye Brook Public Library serves a population of approximately 37,500 residents in the villages of Port Chester and Rye Brook .Opened in 1876 by New York congressman and Port Chester native Jared V. Peck, the Port Chester Library's first home was the second story of a dry-goods store on North Main Street. In 1926, the library moved to its current location at the intersection of Westchester and Haseco avenues.It has undergone just two major renovations since then. The first was in 1967, when 9,000 square feet of floor space was added. A second major renovation was started in 2011, to double the size of the children's reading area, add a teen area and meeting rooms, and to upgrade accessibility with improvements such as elevators.Although the library has always served both Port Chester and Rye Brook, it was known only as the "Port Chester Public Library" until 2008, when a financial dispute led Rye Brook to demand that its name be added. Both villages contribute to funding the library's $1.4 million operating budget. The argument arose in 2005 when the library's board asked Rye Brook for additional funds for capital improvements. A three-year struggle ensued, culminating in the addition of Rye Brook to the name and an agreement that the renovations started in 2011 would be paid for out of a $3.5 million bequest from the estate of longtime Port Chester residents Douglas and Elise Lefferts.In addition to books and periodicals, the library also offers downloadable e-books that are Kindle-friendly, a book delivery service for homebound patrons, reading groups, children's story time and other services. It also offers programs such as tax assistance, resume writing help and classes for new immigrants."We're here to serve everyone, regardless of age group or ethnic group," said Robin Lettieri, the library's director for the past 30 years.Lettieri oversees a staff of 29 full- and part-time employees, and answers to an 11-member board made up of volunteers from Port Chester and Rye Brook. Join TheDailyPortChester.com on Facebook: Facebook.com/The Daily Port Chester .
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.