East Rochester Public Library

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  History of the East Rochester

Public Library

As the community of East Rochester started to grow, the Women of the Welfare League began to plan for its first public library. The East Rochester Public Library was started in the 1920's as a reading room for the workers at the Merchants Despatch Corporation. In 1922 it was formally given a professional charter by the state of New York and opened in its new home on the second floor of the Rialto Theatre Building.

Instrumental to its establishment was Mrs. Thomas Brokenshire, who later served as President from 1922 to 1949. Mrs. Laura Whittleton served as the first librarian, at a salary of $110.00 a year. The first library was open 21 hours a week, the busiest time of the week being Saturday night.


In 1952 the Monroe County Library System was formed and East Rochester Public Library was one of the first to join. This allowed our patrons to borrow books from other libraries in the county. Before this time, if a person wished to borrow from the Rochester Public Library they had to pay a monthly fee.

The library relocated several times until 1955 when Mrs. Burton Fryatt donated her home at 901 Main Street to the village to be used as a library. The following year Mrs. Bryon Morgan was hired as the library’s first professional librarian. In 1961 the library was given its Absolute Charter from the State Board of Regents. Until that time, it had been operating under a series of provisional charters. In order to provide much needed space, in February of 1978 the library moved to its current home at 111 West Elm Street.

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