On June 18, 1874 noted poet and journalist, William Cullen Bryant, writes in a letter that he is laying a foundation for a Reading Room and Lecture Hall in Roslyn - "for the people have no places to meet in the evening save in the bar rooms."
November 13, 1878 a public meeting was held and a joint stock company formed "for the purpose of forming, continuing and perpetuating a Circulating Library" under the provisions of an 1853(?) NYS Act for the Incorporation of Library Companies. Corporate Name to be: The Bryant Circulating Library Association.
William Cullen Bryant died in 1878 and on January 1, 1879 Julia Bryant (daughter of William C. Bryant) in accord with Bryant's intentions, deeded (for $1.00) the property and building to the Bryant Circulating Library Association. An 1882 book (The History of Queens County by Munsell) reports that the value of Julia's gift was $15,000 and that "The Hall was divided into apartments for library and reading room, a public hall and a residence for the librarian who has care of the building."
November 18, 1925 a Certificate of Registration granted for the Bryant Circulating Library by the Regents of the University of the State of New York. Provisional Charter for incorporation granted for the Bryant Library by the Board of Regents of the University of the State of New York in 1945, and an Absolute Charter granted to the Bryant Library by the Board of Regents on behalf of the Education Department of the State of New York.
1951: Roslyn War Memorial Building (and Valentine House) transferred by the Roslyn Neighborhood Association to the Bryant Library. In March 1952 the Bryant Library moves into its new home in the Roslyn War Memorial Building on East Broadway. In June of 1953 the Bryant Library Local History Collection was established.
November 1968: Valentine House moved across Paper Mill Road to make room for Bryant Library (Memorial Building) expansion. 1998 Valentine House becomes Bryant Library Annex, housing library offices, Roberta Balfus Bookstore and a computer training/meeting room.
Bryant Library is a member of the Long Island Library Resources Council.