October 11, 2013

Pound Ridgers (HEART) their library

Last year, the 60th anniversary of the founding of the Pound Ridge library was marked by special events, lectures, music and more. The “Building Together/Growing Together” community enhancement project focused on community, civility and compassion, according to library director Marilyn Tinter.

Yet it was also a difficult year, as costs continued to rise and it became painfully evident that there were some building issues — issues that were remediated this summer, including cleaning up mold- and asbestos-related hazards. Work on the children’s room is still not complete, but that phase should be finished by late this month or early November, according to Ms. Tinter.

This year, the library and its patrons also came together for a community survey. Respondents said they wanted to make the library into a center where the community could exchange ideas and access art, music, literature and technology. Also high on the list of consideration was the building itself. The library was founded more than 60 years ago, in 1951, by Ruth M. Knight and Mrs. John C. Vander Pyl, according to Jay Harris in her history “God’s Country.”

The Halle estate gave the building that had been the Village School and Red Cross headquarters and a quarter-acre of land to the newly formed Library Association. More than 200 local families contributed money and labor toward installing a well, plumbing and heating and books and bookshelves.

“A dynamic library is more than a book repository, it is a place where one can exercise his own ideas — where he can put those ideas to the test,” said Norman Cousins of the Saturday Review at the dedication of the library on April 23, 1952.

There was a “painting bee” to paint the building exterior, and the initial landscaping was executed by the Pound Ridge Garden Club. The library, dedicated to the inventor, artist and philanthropist Hiram Halle, received its charter from the state in 1955, when it was enlarged, and then enlarged again in 1964.

This library spirit flourishes. One of the surprising outcomes of the survey was how many people said they wanted to consider relocating the library to Scotts Corners.

“This is a question often raised by members of the community, and the board has spent a great deal of time discussing the possibility,” president of the library, trustee David Dow said earlier this year. “Given the costs of maintaining and repairing an older building, it is appropriate to look into the feasibility of starting from scratch and putting up a new library.”

When asbestos and mold were found, the game plan changed. Although the asbestos was not dangerous to the public if left undisturbed, it was clear that remediation measures would need to be undertaken promptly.

After sinking more than $300,000 into cleanup and facing additional capital costs, no one is talking about building a new library in Scotts Corners or anywhere else. The significant cost of the repairs pretty much dictates the future direction of the library, at least from a physical point of view. That may prove just as well, as the library is conveniently located and its architecture and ambiance are undeniably characteristic of the town, which was developed on the principles of the modern school of architecture.

With work just completed, there was doubt whether the budget increases requested by library trustees would pass when they were voted upon late last month. The budget represented a 22.85 percent increase over last year, with a 2014 tax of $308 for the average assessed home, an increase of $57.

Those doubts were erased last month when community members approved the budget. Library trustees were able to convey that cost controls are in place and that they are getting the most bang for their buck. The library ranks 30th out of 38 libraries in Westchester County in terms of its operating budget. At $5 per transaction, the Pound Ridge Library has one of the lowest costs per transaction in the county. Mamaroneck’s cost per transaction is $21 and nearby North Salem’s is $7.87. (Who knew that borrowing a book could be so pricey?)

The Pound Ridge institution is no longer called Hiram Halle Memorial Library but is now known more simply as the Pound Ridge Library. The library has changed over its 60 years, but one thing remains the same. We quote from a brochure printed by library trustees in the 1980s: “What was established as a response to the needs of the people in a small, out-of-the-way town in northern Westchester has grown into an institution that continually reaffirms its commitment to the people of Pound Ridge and environs.”

Read more local coverage of your hometown in this week’s issue of the The Record-Review. Newsstand copies are available at several locations listed above, or subscribe today for convenient home delivery.

HOME     |     SUBSCRIBE     |     ADVERTISE     |     NEWSROOM     |     CONTACT

The official newspaper of the towns of Bedford and Pound Ridge, New York



Pound Ridge/Scotts Corners

  1. Scotts Corner Market – Trinity Corners Shopping Center;  55 Westchester Avenue

  2. Pound Ridge Sunoco — 66 Westchester Avenue    

  3. Sam Parker Country Market — 257 Westchester Avenue    

Bedford Village

  1. Bedford Rexall Pharmacy — Hunting Ridge Mall; 424 Old Post Road  

  2. Village Green Deli — Village Green; Routes 22 and 172    

  3. Bedford Shell — Routes 22 and 172 (at blinking light); 848 So. Bedford Road

  4. Village Service Center —193 Pound Ridge Road (at Long Ridge Road intersection)    

Bedford Hills

  1. Bedford Hills Deli – 7 Babbitt Road    

  2. Bueti’s Deli – 526 Bedford Road (Route 117)


  1. NoKA Joe’s – 25 Katonah Avenue    

  2. Steger’s Paper Mill – 89 Katonah Avenue    

  3. Katonah Pharmacy – Katonah Shopping Center; 294 Katonah Avenue   

  4. Bagel Shoppe – Katonah Shopping Center; 280 Katonah Avenue    

  5. Katonah Sunoco – 105 Bedford Road

Mount Kisco

  1. Teamo/Mt. Kisco News – 239 Main Street    

Cross River

  1. Bagel Boys Café – Cross River Shopping Center; Routes 121 and 35    

  2. Cross River Shell Station – Route 35    

  3. Cameron’s Deli –  890 Route 35    

The Record-Review is available from our office at

264 Adams Street, Bedford Hills, NY

and at these locations:

Single copies $1.00