Elting Memorial Library
The Elting Memorial Library is the public library that serves the residents of the village and town of New Paltz, New York. It is located at 93 Main Street (also NY 32 and 299) in the village's downtown section. It houses a collection of "house books" that detail the history of local historic structures, and gained notoriety in 2007 for a videotaped ghost visit that became the most popular online video about New Paltz.

History
Originally called the New Paltz Free Library, the library was founded by the New Paltz Study Club in 1909, and outgrew its space on lower Main Street by 1919. Resident Philip Lefevre Elting purchased the "Old Elting Homestead" for library use in 1920 . The old stone house was originally called the Solomon Eltinge House after its original owner and builder, and was part of the expansion of New Paltz from its original settlement on Huguenot Street. One of the earliest buildings on Main Street, it was erected around the same time as the Village of New Paltz was incorporated, and its location made it convenient for it to become a library in 1920. The original building, considered the "final gasp of stone house architecture" in the area , had new wings added on in 1962 and 1978, and was expanded again in 2006 (during which the bulk of the library's collection was relocated to temporary storage facilities). This expansion cost approximately fourteen million dollars, and much of the library's collection and its main circulation desk are housed in this new wing . It has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 2004. It is located within the New Paltz Downtown Historic District.

Services and structure
As of 2008 the library serves some 13,000 area residents, circulating 60,000 items a year . A member of the Mid-Hudson Library System, it also offers a range of programming including speakers, reading nights, free movies, and area employment information. Elting is a free association library, relying on donations instead of tax revenue for its budget, and garners much of its financial support through an annual book fair

Historical collections
The library houses a significant collection of historical materials relevant to the local area. According to the library's own web site, "It is considered to be one of the best local history collections in the Hudson Valley and is home to a wealth of primary, one-of-a-kind, local history documents. Residents, descendants of New Paltz’s founding families, visitors, scholars, and students use the collection’s resources to research area history and trace family and genealogical roots." The collection includes over 10,000 newspapers, photographs, periodicals, and yearbooks that date back as far as 1860.

Governance
The library is governed by a Board of Directors which includes four officers and eight additional members. The board oversees a library director and staff. As of 2008, the President of the Board is Sally Rhoads; the director of the library is John Giralico.

Elting Library Ghost
A week before Halloween in 2007, a possible haunting was discovered. A librarian opening the building in the morning found the door had been left ajar. Review of security tapes revealed a 30-second stretch at approximately 3:30 in the morning of what staffers later described as anomaly moving across the room toward the door, eventually disappearing through the east wall. The library staff inspected the camera but could not find any technical problems that could easily explain the blurry image , which they described in published reports as an anomaly, spider, shadow, or dust mote. As the security tape showed an area within the original Solomon Eltinge House, curious librarians researched its history in the library's Haviland-Heidgerd Historical Collection. Two documented deaths had occurred in the house, in 1899 and 1908 . The ghost video itself was uploaded to YouTube on March 21, 2008, and has garnered more than 300,000 views as of October of that year - approximately fifty times the population of the village in 2000 . The timing of the alleged haunting furthered interest in the incident, although it was not widely known until several months after the door was found ajar. The library had recently erected a Day of the Dead altar in conjunction with a community-wide reading of Bless Me, Ultima as part of the "One Book, One New Paltz" program.

Building Activity

  • Kiril Pavlov
    Kiril Pavlov activity.buildings_person.create
    about 6 years ago via OpenBuildings.com