1970, Grace at a library event
The library staff and board of trustees are sad to learn of the passing at age 79 of Grace Buhl Meyer who served as Piermont Public Library’s Director for 35 years, retiring in 2004.
Grace was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan in 1937. By 1969 she had taken up her post as Director of Piermont Public Library in its former Hudson Terrace location. In lieu of a salary, she received residency in the apartment above the library, where she lived for seven years. During this time Grace completed her undergraduate degree in Botany and English at Columbia University, then went on to receive her graduate degree in Library Science, also from Columbia, in 1974. Library lore has it that a "cat ladder" hung from a window in the upstairs apartment by which Grace's cats could explore the library and the village as they desired.
Journal News, 1979, Grace posing beside a library exhibit
A dedicated and diligent librarian, Grace truly enjoyed working with the public and taking the time to get to know her patrons. Longtime Piermonters often share fond memories of visiting Grace in the library as children or receiving research help as they pursued higher education. She creatively incorporated her love of Piermont environs with her library work by creating the Beachcomber Book Club, a unique summer reading program during which children would receive shells Grace had collected from the edge of the water as their reward for reading. Each week the children would look forward to receiving a bigger shell for reading more books. She also enjoyed pulling out the film projector and offering the community a weekly movie.
She demonstrated her dedication to the profession of librarianship as an active member of the Library Association of Rockland County for many years. After her retirement she continued to be an enthusiastic supporter of Piermont's library and was a faithful attendee of its many art openings and other events. In her spare time, she enjoyed square dancing and visiting friends on Martha's Vineyard.
Grace with Library Director, Jessica Bowen, at the 2009 Gift of Art Show
Grace with Tom Chapin and her successor, Victoria Lees, at the groundbreaking of the new library in 2005
Journal News, 1975, Grace participating in environmental work
Grace’s contributions to Piermont extended beyond her work in the library to tireless environmental advocacy. In 1974 she helped to develop the Piermont Conservation Advisory Commission (CAC), the first CAC in Rockland County, and served on the Village Board from 1979—1982. County Executive Ed Day presented her with the 18th Annual County Executive’s Outstanding Environmental Volunteer Award in April 2015.
They say the heart of every community is its library and the heart of every library is its librarian. Grace Meyer improved the lives of countless Piermont residents both directly through her work at the library and indirectly by preserving the environment in which they live, securing her place at the heart of Piermont for generations to come.
Background information provided by Piermont Newsletter, Number 2, 2015 written by Carolyn Doyle http://www.piermont-ny.com/newsletter/Fall_15.pdf; by friend, Alexis Starke; and from a biography written in 1990.