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Briarcliff Daily Voice serves Briarcliff, NY

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Briarcliff Almanac: Briarcliff Public Library

With sloped gray roofs and red criss-cross trimming, the Briarcliff Manor Public Library looks different from other libraries because it is housed in a former railroad station.

The building at One Library Road was originally built to be a station house in 1909 by Walter Law, the founder of Briarcliff village. Its interior was plush, decorated with oriental rugs and flowers on wooden tables.

The station house was used in the early 1900s as a stopping place along a 53-mile long railroad track from Putnam County to New York City. The track originally carried iron ore freight from the Mahopac and Tilly Foster mines. In the 1890s, the mines caved in, and the track was then used mainly for passengers.

With the proliferation of cars, passenger use dropped, and the station building was converted into the Briarcliff Manor Public Library in 1958. Prior to that, the public library had been housed in Briarcliff High School, and then in the village recreation building.

The 1958 Library Board raised $14,000 from village residents and spent $12,500 to purchase the station house, $2,000 to rebuild its interior, $1,000 to paint and clean outside timbers and stucco and $3,500 to convert the baggage room into a meeting room.

In more recent years more interior and exterior renovations were completed along with a new building addition to make room for a children's room. Trains ceased to run by the library in 1970.

Today the library offers much more than books. For adults, popular programs include book clubs, knitting groups and Technology Tuesdays where one-on-one help on computers is offered..

Book clubs and learn-to-knit groups are also offered for children, along with craft time for 7-10 year olds, story time for babies and children, and Reading with Rosie, a program where first through fifth graders read aloud to a trained therapy dog.

Tumblebooks computer programs read picture books out loud in English, Spanish and French.

For teens, the library offers an online job finder guide, a website where teens review books, and websites that help with homework and science fair ideas.

The Briarcliff Manor library is open 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. on Mondays, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesdays, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Wednesdays, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursdays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Fridays and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays. It is closed on Sundays.

The library is adjacent to Law Memorial Park which has a public pool, tennis courts, children's playground and pavilion with concession stand.

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