About the Library

Our Mission

To help community members of all ages improve their quality of life by providing access to materials and services that meet their personal, educational, and professional needs.

Library Staff

Shannon Taylor – Executive Director
Nancy Dawson – Senior Circulation Assistant
Joyce Moskwa – Library Assistant
Melanie Smith – Program Director
Donelle Melville – Library Assistant

About the Director

Shannon Taylor has been the Director of Lakewood Memorial Library since 2019. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and Writing from Indiana University and a Master of Library and Information Science from the University of South Florida. Currently she is expanding her expertise by pursuing a Master of Public Administration at SUNY Brockport with an anticipated graduation date of December 2024. 

As the Library Director, Shannon strives to provide modern library services and to meet the community’s wants and needs. Under her leadership, our library has made great progress toward our Strategic Plan goals. She is dedicated to the library’s mission and to ensuring that our library remains a vibrant hub for learning, creativity, and community connection.

Library History

The action was risky but the twenty-six women who gathered in Mrs. Gruel’s living room at 8 Ivy Lane in Lakewood, New York on the evening of May 20, 1960 were determined. No one hesitated to sign her name to the document which affirmed the founding of the Lakewood Library Association. In the following days other names were added to the Charter. Prominent Lakewood lawyer, Joseph Gerace, completed all the legal paperwork necessary for state approval. In October 1960 the Association received the Provisional Charter that was the basis for the creation of the Lakewood Memorial Library.

The grassroots movement was energized in large part by women active in the venerable Lakewood Women’s Club. Although the municipal governments of both Lakewood and the Town of Busti gave enthusiastic backing to the idea, this was to be an “Association Library.” Those who signed as Charter Members and all other residents of the area were responsible for its success or failure. Such a library would be almost wholly dependent upon volunteers. There was an initial exhilaration at taking the first step, but seasoned library officials stated their doubts about the ability of the community to sustain enough volunteer strength as time passed. In reality, the present library files contain ledgers listing the names of innumerable volunteers and their hours worked over a fifty-year period. They bear testimony to the sticking power of Lakewood Library volunteers.

The new Lakewood Memorial Library was set up in a 700 square foot room leased from the Post Office on Chautauqua Avenue. After its official opening on December 4, 1960, the popularity of the new institution was never in doubt. Some 5,000 books were circulated during its first year. Each succeeding year saw an increase. By 1969 the library was circulating over 20,000 books a year. The membership which stood at 900 in 1960 rose to over 4,000 during the same years.

The library leaders again took a daring step when they resolved to seek funding to construct a free-standing home for the Lakewood Library.

The entire community was drawn into the vigorous fund-raising campaign to raise $150,000. Co-chairmen Kenneth Strickler, a Jamestown business owner and Carl Bowen, an Art Metal executive, both Lakewood residents, were joined by Mary Gerace, Board President, to organize an effective campaign. Lakewood residents who were businessmen, executives and community leaders were among the more than 150 workers involved in the effort. They headed campaign divisions – Advance Gifts, Individual Gifts, Special Gifts. The Lakewood Women’s club provided section captains to canvass the entire residential area. Many unsung volunteers provided the necessary support structure.

As the campaign progressed throughout 1968 and 1969 the Board purchased a ¾ acre of land on the southeast corner of Summit Street and Owana Way. Plans drawn up by the architectural firm Naetzker, Thorsell and Dove were approved and construction began.

The one floor, 4,900 square foot structure was completed in the summer of 1970. The story of the book-moving day has become legendary in Lakewood history. On July 11, 1970 a human chain of 200 Lakewood residents, both children and adults, was formed, leading from the Chautauqua Avenue location to the new facility on Summit Street. Over 19,000 volumes were passed hand to hand. Other volunteers inside the library shelved the books as they arrived.

At the gala formal opening of the new library on October 18, 1970, the public crowded in to appreciate what their efforts and dollars had created.

The Library received its permanent Charter in 1970 and during the next three decades, the Lakewood Memorial Library stabilized and strengthened its place in the community.

The Lakewood Memorial Library has fulfilled and expanded the vision of its founders. From a limited storefront lending library it has become the village center for education, for entertainment, for community communication, and for artistic appreciation. It endlessly enriches the village and its residents. Its capacity to meet the demands of changing times assures that it will remain a vital village institution for many years to come.

– adapted from library history written by Helen Ebersole for its 50th anniversary