Bayside first drew the attention of English and Dutch settlers almost 400 years ago. William Lawrence, the owner of a fleet of clipper ships used for the China trade, sailed into Little Neck Bay in 1644 and established the first settlement in Bayside. For many years Bayside was the political, social and cultural center of Metropolitan New York. During that time period the Lawrence family played dominant roles in the burgeoning town’s history and development. They were military heroes, mayors, and judges. One such family member, Judge Effingham Lawrence, is recognized as having given Bayside its name for its location by the ocean.
Bayside did not have any library services until June 4, 1906. The Queens Borough Public Library opened a branch on Bell Avenue with Miss Margaret J. Solon in charge. It was the smallest branch in the system, consisting of 2,300 volumes and less than 400 members. In 1911 the library was moved to Elsie Place where it stayed until its move in 1932 to Bell Boulevard.
In May 1965, the Bayside Library moved once again to a new, more spacious, well-lit building at 214-20 Northern Boulevard where its design lent itself to the storage and use of more books. In addition, a new multi-purpose room helped accommodate the growing needs of Bayside’s community with its programs for adults, teens and toddlers. This location remains its home today.