Special Collections

Environmental Center:

Located on the main level of the Library, the Environmental Center’s mission is to collect information about Long Island’s precious natural environment. This collection consists of historical, current, and technical titles that concern the environment and related topics. Included in this collection are various Environmental Impact Statements, as one of the functions of this Center is to be a central repository of information produced by governmental agencies. The Environmental Center is open during regular hours, but may occasionally be closed for brief meetings. New titles in this collection are located in the Reading Room with our other new items, and are searchable through the Library’s online catalog.

The Environmental Center is also home to our SEED LIBRARY – the Seed Stop.


A comprehensive and diverse collection of biographies of the most important figures in American environmentalism, this resource provides extensive coverage of over 399 environmental men and women from the past 200 years, including scientists, advocates, businessmen, musicians, politicians, actors, and more. Illustrations, photos, an historical timeline, primary documents (such as articles, speeches, and legislation), an annotated bibliography, and a general index are also included.

This book covers movements in the United States through its protagonists in the natural and social sciences, conservation and resource management, law, politics, environmental activism, and the arts. Philosophers, naturalists, economists, sociologists, biologists, writers, lawyers, conservationists, poets, teachers, theologians, artists, farmers, engineers, architects and more are profiled as important individuals who have forged lasting positive environmental impacts on their immediate surroundings, the nation, or the planet at large.

This history of natural resource law encompasses how natural resource law has changed in the United States. 

Local History Collection

The Local History Collection includes approximately 1,200 books, serials, and oversized planning documents that record the history of the Library and Cold Spring Harbor, Laurel Hollow, Lloyd Harbor and Long Island. The collections are represented in the Library’s online catalog and items can be requested at the Adult & Information Services Desk. A collection of historic photographs of Cold Spring Harbor can be accessed at https://www.flickr.com/photos/cshlibrary/.

The Local History Room is located on the lower level of the Library, and includes an exhibit area that features a glass bottle collection (manufactured in the 19th century by local dairies). hand-tools, works of art, and circulating and non-circulating books.

Civil War Plaque, 1861-1866

The Civil War plaque that is on permanent exhibit next to the Information Services Desk was researched for several months. Documents from the Local History Collection confirm that on June 7, 1912, at a meeting of the Cold Spring Harbor Village Improvement Society, Mr. J.H.J. Stewart proposed to erect a memorial tablet to honor residents that enlisted during the Civil War.  For more information about the history of the plaque and to read the names that appear on it, please download the brochure.