History of our Library

The Western Sullivan Public Library (WSPL) is located in the beautiful foothills of the Catskill Mountains in western Sullivan County, NY. There are three branches that comprise the WSPL-the Jeffersonville Branch located in Jeffersonville; the Delaware Free Branch located in Callicoon; and the Tusten-Cochecton Branch located in Narrowsburg. WSPL is a member of the Ramapo Catskill Library System which allows all three libraries access to 47 libraries' collections and other resources in Sullivan, Orange, Rockland, and Ulster Counties.

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The Delaware Free library was established in 1951 in the former Klimchok building and housed 600 books.  Twenty years later the library was out of room having grown to 7000 volumes.  Thanks to a generous donation by Pauline Kautz, the Delaware Free Library board purchased and renovated the former Callicoon National bank building on Lower Main Street. On December 10, 1970, the Delaware Free Library opened at its present location which is on the National Historic Registry. Through funds and generous donations the library was renovated and expanded to use all three floors of the building. In September 2013, the library celebrated the 100th Anniversary of the building and the completion of the renovation, dedicating the top floor as a community room, computer center, and local history area.

The Lions Club initiated the creation of a library in the Jeffersonville area in the 1970's.  In 1979, the Jeffersonville Memorial Reading Center was recognized as a Ramapo Catskill Library System (RCLS) readiUploaded Image: /uploads/images/Jef bldg.JPGng center and opened in Kohlertown in a rented building in 1980.  The Jeffersonville Public Library Board purchased the former Duttweiler garage in 1982.  Renovations were made to the space with a great deal of community support and the library was moved to its present location in 1983.  On November 4, 2000 there was a dedication ceremony recognizing the library’s twenty years of service to the community and the opening of the Dr. Barry Bodenstein Children’s Room.  Over one hundred volunteers were also honored for their help and commitment to the library and the renovation projects. 

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In the late 1980’s, Grace Johansen, long time Tusten supporter and area resident, imagined a library in a town where there had never been one.  The result of that vision produced the Tusten Cochecton Reading Center in a small storefront on Main Street, Narrowsburg NY.  Largely through the determination of community members, the Reading Center became an accredited public library in 1990 moving into its new home gifted by Art and Beth Peck.

On April 5, 2000, voters of the newly formed Sullivan West Central School District voted to merge the three libraries forming the Western Sullivan Public Library. Each branch has kept its former library name under the larger guise of WSPL-Jeffersonville Branch, Tusten-Cochecton Branch, and Delaware Free Branch. WSPL is a forward thinking, professional, collaborative library fulfilling its mission of being a vibrant, educational community center.

Mission Statement

The Western Sullivan Public Library shall provide welcoming centers of information and discovery and provide our communities with tools for lifelong learning, creativity and enrichment.