500 Hempstead Ave.
West Hempstead, New York 11552 Phone: 516-481-6591
Contact Person: Jean King
The West Hempstead Public Library and the West Hempstead Historical and Preservation Society work together to bring the areas history to the public.
The West Hempstead Public Library was founded in 1956 by a group of public-spirited citizens. Its first location was in a small storefront on Hempstead Avenue, near Poplar Street. A provisional Charter was approved on Sept. 30, 1960 and the official Charter was granted on June 23, 1967. The library serves the West Hempstead Union Free School District.
Since then the library has been located in several locations. In the 1960s, the library moved to what is now the Mutual Engraving Building on Hempstead Avenue. In 1982, the library was relocated to the first floor of the Chestnut Street School. On October 21, 2007, a new library building opened to the public at its current location, 500 Hempstead Avenue. The library has a small collection of historical library photos and a collection of West High School yearbooks spanning from 1954-2010.
The West Hempstead Historical and Preservation Society was founded in 1983 as a West Hempstead Community Non Profit. Its mission is to collect and to preserve historical materials relevant to our community and to use them to educate the public about its rich history. Presently, there are 20 members and over 700 Facebook followers.
The Society possesses over 200 original photos dating from 1900 to the present. Copies of photos from various sources total in the thousands. Artifacts from different time periods (books, typewriters, phones, washboards, toys, tools, etc.) and memorabilia specific to West Hempstead history (old programs, diplomas, report cards, tickets, bank account records, bills, ration tickets, newspapers and the like) number in the hundreds.
The monthly Society meetings are held at the West Hempstead Public Library. The library is also home to a permanent display of 40 archived photos in the Board room and a display on the main floor which changes topic quarterly.
A showcase is located at the West Hempstead Post Office is used to display artifacts and changes theme on a monthly schedule. In addition, the Society has recently completed a collection of over 100 framed Past and Present Photos.