FSC’s Library Celebrates Half a Century Serving Campus Community   

On October 29, 1973 Greenley Library, the four-floor, brick-faced building that saliently stands between Hale Hall and Bunche Plaza, officially opened its doors to the Farmingdale State College (FSC) campus community. Richard Nixon was U.S. president and Dr. Charles W. Laffin, Jr. was FSC president, a gallon of gas was 40 cents, "Midnight Train to Georgia" by Gladys Knight & the Pips was Billboard’s number one song, and the handheld cordless phone was just invented, weighing over two pounds. 

The building, which won a design award for the "innovative use of pre-cast concrete,” offered an impressive reference collection on its main floor, and shelf space for over 100,000 books on the lower level. Before its opening, FSC’s library had many locations over the years, including Thompson Hall, some buildings that no longer exist, and Whitman Hall, where it occupied both floors of the southwest wing--now home to FSC’s Human Resources and Math Departments.  

“When the library moved, the staff brought books in shelf-list order from Whitman to Greenley on carts,” said Karen Gelles, who has been FSC’s library director since 2017.  

Thomas D. Greenley Sr. 

Greenley Library is named after Thomas D. Greenley Sr. (December 14, 1905 - September 1, 1971) a painter, printmaker, muralist, and illustrator, who was a beloved member of FSC’s faculty for over two decades, according to Geoffrey K. Fleming, former director of the Southold Historical Society. Greenley was a devoted member of FSC’s Library Committee and worked to improve its art collection. Several of his works can still be viewed on campus, including a large painting and hand-lettered sign in Quintyne Hall. 

According to Fleming, shortly after Greenley Library’s dedication a former colleague noted, "It is fitting that the cultural and intellectual center of our campus is named to honor an artist and scholar—one who gained recognition in his field.” 

Keeping up with the times 

In 2014, Greenley Library’s interior underwent a major, building-wide renovation, which included the addition of a 36-seat computer lab on the main floor and a brighter, more inviting floorplan. More recently, the library added 32 semi-private study cubicles in its lower level. 

“The usage of the facility has exploded since then, with students filling every table and seating area during our peak hours,” said Gelles. 

“Our most popular area is what we nicknamed, ‘The Diner,’ because it has several diner-style booths where students can work collaboratively and plug their devices into large-screen TVs to share content,” added Gelles.  

Today, Greenley Library houses FSC’s Tutoring Center, Writing Center, Faculty Center, Distance Learning, Academic Advisement & Information Center (AAIC), Research Aligned Mentorship (RAM) program, Nexus Center, and Information Technology Department. It also offers an enormous collection of digital resources including eBooks, eJournals, and informational YouTube videos 

“Our AP Citation Style: In-text Citations (7th ed) video has gained a huge following outside of FSC, with over 35,000 hits and lots of thankful users,” said Gelles, who added that Greenley Library’s staff is its most valuable resource. “I get to work with great people every day, and the feedback I routinely receive from students and staff let me know that my opinion of them is shared. The 50th anniversary of the building is a fun time to celebrate the facility, but without the staff and the services they provide, it’s just a building.” 

Looking ahead, Greenley Library plans to continue its mission to enhance academic engagement, contribute to student success, and support teaching and scholarship by providing relevant information resources, responsive services, and innovative spaces to the FSC community. 

“Greenley has always been a place students could go to find information, or to get help from library staff, and that tradition continues,” said Gelles. “We have librarians available 7 days, and over 86 hours, per week--more than at any other time in FSC’s history.” 

Book it 

To celebrate this milestone anniversary, Greenley Library will hold an open house event on Tuesday, November 14 beginning at 11:00 a.m. Light refreshments will be provided, along with building tours at 11:15 and 11:45 a.m. All are welcome to attend. 

For more information, please visit the Greenley Library webpage. 

View photos of Greenley Library’s past and present on our Flickr Gallery.      

“Check out” these Greenley Library facts: 

  • Most frequently checked out items include laptops, bones, muscles, and teeth. 
  • Greenley Library has housed many things over the past 50 years, including the Registrar’s Office and a production studio used for courses broadcast on local television.  
  • A large-format poster printer is available to students and staff at affordable rates.  
  • Special collections include many items from the 1800s, and the College Archives house thousands of photographs from FSC’s early history.  
  • Greenley Library is open until midnight, Monday to Thursday, for the last few weeks of every semester.