The first library was organized in 1803 and evidently was
dissolved in 1809. It had 44 subscribers who paid $1.00 for one share
in the company called “The Northfield Library Company”. Ezra
Patterson was the first librarian and treasurer and the books were kept
in his home on Mendon Center Road. (this spot was marked by an historic
marker and the land is now occupied by the Mendon Center Elementary School.
The marker has been removed during construction (2004 & 2005) and
is resting in the Town Garage. It will be re-erected when construction
From 1809 to 1834 there is no record of any library activity. In 1834,
the Monroe County Clerk’s
Office recorded the incorporation of the Pittsford Social Library.
The early records of this association are obscure. The next evidence
of a library is an account book entitled “School
District Number 6 Book” December 1852. Thomas Gillam was the librarian
and accounts show that 120 people borrowed books.
The Pittsford Community Library was formed in 1920. Mrs Joseph Malone
and Miss Una Hutchinson borrowed 50 books from the Library Extension
Division of New York. They were housed in the grocery store of George
Thomas on the southwest corner of Main Street. and Monroe Avenue. So
many people borrowed books that it became necessary to move to rooms
above Mr. Crump’s store –( formerly, the village Pharmacy).
(In the Democrat & Chronicle on May 3, 1922 there is an announcement
of the opening of a library in Pittsford. Although Pittsford had the
first library in the county starting back in the 19th century, this library
had, apparently, lapsed years before, and there had been no such service
in the intervening decades. The library was being sponsored by the Women’s
Auxiliary of the Rayson-Miller Post and the committee was made up of
Mrs. Joseph Malone who was a trained librarian, Miss Una Hutchinson and
Mrs. Cortland Newcomb. They had accepted the offer of the State to receive
125 books, and they planned to augment these with a canvass of the town.
The library was located in the rear of the Thomas Dry Goods store. Library
hours were on Wednesday afternoon, and books would also be given out
on Saturday evenings.)
By 1924 the library had grown so much that it needed to move again to
what is now known as the “Little House” which at that time
was on the south side of Monroe Ave near Town Hall. It remained there
for 14 years. It was in that year that the Pittsford Community Library
became chartered under the Regents of the State of New York, and began
receiving state aid for the purchase of books.
In 1937, Mrs Charles Hastings Wiltsie Field donated the building at
21 North Main Street, as a memorial to her father, Charles, to the Village
of Pittsford for use as the public library where it remained until 1973
when it was again moved to the location at 18 State Street. The former
location was remodeled and turned into the Village Hall where all of
the village municipal documents are kept and village meetings are held.
Under the terms of Mrs Field’s generous donation was that if it
was to no longer be a public building, the ownership would revert to
The room with the fireplace, which is used as the meeting room for Village
meetings, is a recreation of Mr. Charles Wiltsie’s own library
in his lovely home in Rochester. The paneling, the stained glass windows,
and the portrait of Mr. Wiltsie were all part of the renovation and redecoration
of that building in 1937.
Mr. Wiltsie was born in the home at 21 North Main Street in Pittsford
in 1859. He attended the village school in Pittsford until the age of
fourteen, when he prepared for the college at the Brockport State Normal
School. He then attended the University of Rochester and was graduated,
second in his class in 1880. He was a prominent citizen of Rochester,
involved in numerous causes and activities, one of which was the organization
of the Rochester Public Library in 1911. He was largely responsible for
the coalition of the Reynolds Library, The Rundel Memorial Fund and the
Rochester Public Library , which resulted in the new Rochester Central
Library on South Avenue, (recently renovated).
Pittsford may well be very proud of its enterprise of a community library.
In 1803, there were 77 volumes, (many of which were focused on the French
Revolution; 1920, there were 50 volumes; in 1937, 6,500, in 2000 there
are over 100,000. The small Northfield Library Company has come a long,
The Opening of the library had been greeted with such support, that
the Legion Auxiliary was immediately planning a more permanent arrangement.
The canvass of the town for books was about to begin and was headed
up by Miss Una Hutchinson, Mrs. George Thomas, and Mrs. Fred Zornow.
In addition, the American Legion was giving the library the use of their
quarters in the Crump Building where there would be room for the books
and a reading area as well.
(From Democrat &Chronicle account of May 10,