Nadine Crowe, Margaret Crowe and Virginia Hosier appreciated the Scarlet Pimpernel and the Scarlet Letter.
They knew about Sherlock Holmes’ famous “Study in Scarlet” and were familiar with Will Scarlet of Sherwood Forest.
The women wanted to share adventures in reading with friends and neighbors in Quaker Street. They belonged to the 21-woman team of volunteers that maintained the Quaker Street Public Library during the 1940s.
Business was booming in 1948. “About 1,500 books covering a wide range of subjects and reader interest are now available for circulation,” reported Mary Tessier of the Schenectady Gazette, “and more than 700 additional volumes are being stored until some badly needed shelving can be obtained.”
The library had opened in 1942, a project developed by the then-new Quaker Street Cooperative Club. By the mid-1940s, letters and words had moved into a greenhouse. Another move followed shortly after, into a large house on what was once called Gallupville Road. It is now known as Quaker Way.
“The club and other residents of the hamlet spent much time and money refurbishing the building,” wrote Blanche Larson, who researched the library for the Duanesburg Historical Society’s 2009 book “Remembering the Town of Duanesburg, Volume 1.”
In the Quaker Street library, adults and children had their own sections. People could shop for fiction, biographies and true crime on Wednesday nights and Friday afternoons.
“The women take turns at the circulation desk during library hours and put in a total of about 10 hours a week to clean the building, sort books and prepare them for circulation,” Tessier wrote.
Most books had been donated. Some Quaker Street residents provided funds for new books. Other volumes were temporary loans from New York state.
The Quaker Street women — the names Foust, Gallup, Neville, Farquhar, Bullock, Male, Lyons and Jones were among those on the library roster — kept their library open. “Expenses include electricity, heat, supplies and payments on the mortgage,” Tessier wrote. “The committee is looking forward to the day when new siding can be put on the outside and the building can be painted.”
Changes came. Blanche Larson wrote that in 1950, the Quaker Street Cooperative Club negotiated with Schenectady County to become the first station of the Schenectady County Library system. The county leased the building and paid for heat, utilities and the salary for a library clerk.
The old library remained open into the early 1980s. The current Quaker Street branch, at the corner of Bull Street and Route 7, opened on Nov. 11, 1984.
The old library, now a remodeled home, is still standing.
Categories: Life and Arts