In the last years of the nineteenth century when Southampton was still a
small rural village, one woman of vision foresaw the needs of the future.
Harriet Jones Rogers, a life-long resident of Southampton, knew that this little village would grow and that the community would need a good library to foster its growth. She left money in her will to create a library - one which has well served generations for a century.
Using her bequest supplemented by other civic minded residents such as Samuel Parrish, a group of community leaders planned a beautiful and distinguished facility at the corner of Job's Lane and Main Street. The Library was dedicated in September 1895 and opened to the public in March 1896.
Today, a century later, the Library still occupies the same charming building, one which has become a much beloved landmark. However, over the years, the population it serves has increased significantly and the resources I makes available to the community have grown far beyond its founders' wildest imagination, thus placing an enormous burden on our facilities and staff.
Today the Library serves a community of 12,000 a population which increases greatly in the spring, summer and fall seasons. Despite rising demands, higher costs and a severe shortage of space, the dedicated members of the Library staff, together with the Trustees, volunteers and Friends of the Library, provide comprehensive, cutting-edge services to the community.
The Library collection includes more than 60,000 adult and 14,000 juvenile books, over 200 current newspapers and periodicals, talking books, large-print books, compact discs, audiocassettes, maps and video cassettes. It also serves as a repository for an important collection of local history books, maps memorabilia and whaling logs. Circulating over 184,000 items per year, the Library is the second largest on the east end of Long Island.
The Rogers Memorial Library has been a leader on Long Island in introducing the latest in technological advances. This has provided an integrated library computer system for circulating and locating materials. The LANTASTIC local area network links together the personal computers in the library allowing access to a variety of Compact Disc databases by staff and patrons.
As a member of the Suffolk Cooperative Library System, we are able to make available to our community the resources of the 53 other libraries in Suffolk County. If a Library patron requests a title that is not available here in Southampton, it may be readily obtained through the Inter-Library Loan System - a service that is greatly enhanced by the computer technology that links this system.
Through advanced technology and the explosion of information and educational materials, the community of Southampton has access to virtually unlimited library resources - a phenomenon which Harriet Rogers could not have imagined - but one which she made possible because she cared about the future.
As we pass our Centennial Year, the staff and Trustees of the Rogers Memorial Library, working together with many volunteers throughout the community, are making plans for a new library building to meet the needs of the next century. The limitations of space in our charming historic building can no longer provide for the professional excellence our community deserves and needs. Looking to the future, we hope to provide for the generations to come as well as Harriet Rogers and her contemporaries did for the generations of the past century.