Who else remembers card catalogues and date-due stamps and brontosaurus-size desktops?
Leased for $1 a year from the Montauk Community Church, the first Montauk Library opened on November 24, 1980, in a cottage that was miniature but a massive improvement over not having any library at all.
“On opening day, it was reported that there was a large influx of people, including a group of students from the Little Flower School, who came to the library for cards and books,” the Star’s Montauk columnist, Eileen Bock, reported in a paragraph capturing the flavor of the era.
Seen behind the circulation desk in this photo – and appearing to be in imminent danger of being crushed by an already-blossoming collection of books – is Charlotte Schorr. Mrs. Schorr worked at the library for more than three decades before retiring at the age of 83, and her obituary in 2012 noted that she loved her job. Known as the library’s “Grand Dame,” she also was also an original member of the Friends of the Montauk Library and was the group’s treasurer before her retirement in 2011.
At the time this photograph was taken, plans were already brewing for a larger library that was eventually built across the street, where Mrs. Schorr could, again, be found behind the circulation desk. Coincidentally, the new library opened its doors exactly one day and 11 years after the old one did, on November 25, 1991.
The Friends of the Montauk Library have dedicated a display case in the newer library, which was recently expanded, to the memory of Charlotte and her late husband, Robert, both of whom were active library supporters. “In memory of Charlotte Schorr,” reads another dedication, this one found in several volumes of Jane Austen on the fiction shelves. “Her generous and perceptive spirit graced our discussions, and yes, our lives — the Montauk Library Reading Group.”
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