HISTORY OF THE LIBRARY
RUTH KEELER MEMORIAL LIBRARY
The Town of North Salem is located in the northeastern corner of Westchester County, New York. It encompasses 23 square miles and is noted for its open lands, lakes, and reservoirs. Some 50 miles north of New York City, the town has a population of 5200 and includes the hamlets of Croton Falls and Purdys.
The North Salem Free Library, now called Ruth Keeler Memorial Library, was started in 1932 in two rooms on the main floor of the Town House, with 1600 books contributed by the Universalist Church. The North Salem Improvement Society was instrumental in the library’s founding and continued to operate it until its incorporation in 1935 and gave funding for many more years. It was called the North Salem Free Library. In 1939, it moved to the North Salem Grade School (since burned down and replaced by the firehouse). In 1952, the library was granted an absolute charter by the State of New York. In 1957 the library was moved back to the Town House where it remained until the current library building was constructed in 1980. A major expansion and renovation that just about doubled the library’s size was completed in 2003. The project was funded with private donations, both by larger gifts and selling a “square foot” to people in the community. At the direction of the executors of the estate of Ruth Keeler, a North Salem resident and benefactor, the remaining debt was paid off. In tribute to her generosity the library was renamed the Ruth Keeler Memorial Library.
The library’s distinctive logo was designed by the famous graphic designer, Ivan Chermayeff, The firm of Chermayeff & Geismar & Haviv was responsible for countless logos including Mobil, National Geographic, Smithsonian, PamAm. Chermayeff was born in 1932 in London. His father, Serge, an architect and Russian immigrant moved the family to the United States where Ivan attended school. Chermayeff was a resident of North Salem for a time and a friend of Edward Burlingame. The library renovation and expansion was completed in 2003 and Ed Burlingame, a library trustee, asked Chermayeff to design a logo for the library. He graciously agreed.