Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Anniversary of the Hewlett-Woodmere Public Library

On January 28, 1973, the Library celebrated its 25th anniversary with a gala Silver Anniversary celebration.

According to F.B. Schwartzberg in South Shore Record (2/8/1973),

"In 1947, the country was trying to forget World War II. In the Five towns, a committee of the Woodmere-Hewlett Exchange Club, chaired by Dr. Joseph Rudnick, set out to build a library as a permanent, vital memorial to the war dead. A board, headed by Charles A. Hewlett, was formed. Edythe Brenner was vice president; the other trustees were William S. Pettit, Dr. Rudnick and Albert B. Schultz. They began to search for a director. Mrs. Brenner via the library system in Albany, wrote to a young librarian named Elizabeth Thomson in Cleveland."

Mrs. Thomson became the Library's first Director and remained until her retirement in 1973.

For the anniversary celebration, the lobby was transformed into a replica of the Library's original location, an 18' X 18' room in a clapboard house.

Retrospective exhibits were presented by artists and collectors whose exhibits enhanced the early library and celebratory programs were part of the events. Sallee Hewlett Kahler loaned her doll collection to the Library for the event, while Rev. Leon V. Kofod reassembled his collection of shoes from around the world!

The afternoon programs in the old Meeting Room featured a slide and tape presentation "To See Ourselves: a retrospective look at the Library" and "A Sentimental Journey", a musical revue of highlights of the Library's history, performed by Hewlett High School students under the direction of Lee Jeske. It featured lyrics by Mrs. Thomson set to original music by Rose Lazarus.

According to the South Shore Record article of January 18, 1973, contests included a "Photo Guessing Contest" identifying people and places in the displays and Puzzle Contests for all age levels. In addition, prizes were given to anyone who could document that they were born on January 28, 1948 as well as to the first 500 borrowers who were still library patrons.
At formal ceremonies in the afternoon, dignitaries assembled with local residents to commemorate the past and celebrate the future of the Hewlett-Woodmere Public Library, which became and has continued to be such an important part of the community.

1973 Library Board & VIPs
Standing (L to R): Stuart Prall (President of the Friends of the Library), Trustees: Alvin Boretz, Fred Bruell & Laurence Rosenthal, Paul Kantrowitz (Treasurer), Peter Kolbrenner (Trustee); Seated: Dr. Michael Santapolo (Superintendent of Schools for Hewlett-Woodmere), Edythe Brenner (Past President and member of the original Library Board), Helen Walling (Library Board President), Elizabeth Thomson (Director).

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