The Delancey Floyd-Jones Library opened in November 1896, so 2021 is its 125th year of operation. The library has served the Massapequas continuously since its opening and has undergone a significant transformation in response to the overwhelming changes in the area after World War II. Here are some dates and events that provide insight into its history.
1896 – Colonel Delancey Floyd-Jones, a career army officer, talked with Coleman Williams, husband of his cousin Sarah Floyd-Jones, about donating a small parcel of land east of Grace Church so a public library could be built. He paid Williams $60 for the plot and contracted with a carpenter to build a wooden building facing Merrick Road for $530.10. Relatives provided tables, bookshelves, fireplace implements, and $230.90 to purchase books. Most of the original furniture is still in the library.
1907 – Electricity was installed in the building, replacing candles that were used originally. A janitor was employed to maintain the building, which had no water, for $4 per month. A resident could purchase a key for $10 annually that allowed access to the library at any time. The library contains one of the original keys.
1932 – Edward Floyd-Jones left the library $2,500 in his will. The library was a separate corporation and money provided by several other relatives over the years was invested.
1952 – Trustees of the rapidly expanding public school system created a Floyd-Jones Library Committee to investigate how the building could best serve the community. Among the proposals were
Central to these discussions were two important considerations. The first was the legal issue of whether there could be two separate libraries. The New York Secretary of State ruled there could not be, because the state could not pay annual subsidies for two libraries in one school district. The other issue was the library’s endowment. After many meetings and much discussion, the Floyd-Jones Library Trustees decided to keep the library open and retain control of its endowment.
1969 – Students continued to come to the library, as evidenced by a file of cards signed by their parents, pledging to return books that were loaned or face fines. Fewer residents were using the building, however, so a Friends of the Library group was formed, in an attempt to attract more community participation. Members paid one dollar annually and could attend quarterly meetings. The Friends held bake sales, raffles and other fund-raisers. The group lasted about fifteen years, and had as many as 300 members, but petered out by the mid 1980s.
1984 – The Historical Society of the Massapequas was interested in moving an 1870 servants’ cottage, located behind the Bar Harbour Library, close to Old Grace Church. It was vacant and deteriorating rapidly. After several discussions, the Library Trustees agreed to lease a portion of their property north of the building and the Society moved the cottage across Merrick Road in July 1986.
1986 – Mrs. Paul Floyd-Jones Bonner, the last Floyd-Jones family member involved directly with the library, had resigned as Chairperson and a replacement could not be found. Fortunately, Eugene Bryson, a Trustee as well as a Vestryman in Grace Church, agreed to become the Chairperson and set out repurposing the library. He first had the rear storage room demolished and rebuilt to look like the rest of the library. He also applied for historic designation, eventually earning Town of Oyster Bay recognition. He retained the services of a professional librarian, to review the holdings and dispose of any duplicates or books no longer considered useful. Finally, he led the trustees to designate the library as a historic building.
2021 - The Floyd-Jones Library, rendered obsolete by the public library system, remains today as an historic structure. It is staffed by volunteers and is open on Wednesdays and Saturdays from 10 until 1. Please feel free to visit and experience an important part of Massapequa’s history.