Lynbrook Library could go down in the history books

By Madeline Armstrong

Editor’s note: Armstrong first wrote this piece as part of her internship at Herald Community Newspapers. To read the original, click here.

Village officials and Lynbrook Public Library administrators are seeking historical landmark status for the library.

According to library Director Robyn Gilloon, the application will be made official next spring. Places that receive such a distinction “bring a special historical, cultural or aesthetic value to the city.”

Built in 1929, the library is significant for its architecture, which resembles many of the Carnegie-style libraries built between 1883 and 1929. Mayor Alan Beach said the facility was also founded by a group of women who were active in the suffrage movement in Lynbrook. Additionally, Hugh Tallent, a renowned architect, designed the library. He also designed the Brooklyn Academy of Music, the Aguilar Branch of the New York Public Library and many Broadway theaters that have received historical landmark status.

“The age of the building does not necessarily qualify it as a landmark,” Beach said. “Landmark status must demonstrate various factors, including, for example, social significance, architecture and affiliation with historic events or persons.”

It can be challenging to apply for historical landmark status, the mayor noted. “It is a very technical process requiring extensive research,” Beach said.

According to Gilloon, the process could take about one year. Beach said he is hopeful, though, of the library’s chances of passing, because village historian Art Mattson is involved and was successful in having the Rockville Cemetery and Bristol and Mexico Monument landmarked five years ago. The 18-foot marble obelisk pays homage to the victims of a pair of shipwrecks, which killed 215 mostly Irish immigrants off Long Island in 1836 and 1837.

The library has been a vital community resource for decades and has survived through many obstacles and changes, including those brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. While it was required to close at the start of the pandemic in March 2020, the facility, at 56 Eldert St., has expanded its collection of eBooks, downloadable audio and magazines, while offering many programs, such as crafts and story time.

The library has returned to more normal operations in the last few months, enabling patrons to browse in person and take part in numerous events while also allowing them to explore the library’s offerings virtually.

“Landmark status will bring pride to the community and prestige to the library,” Beach said. “Moreover, it could make the library eligible for historic preservation grants.”

The grants could help keep the library intact, preserving its value and history. Beach urged community members to assist in the historic research to gain historic status for the library.