The Ideal Home, the former residence of Harlow E. Bundy of the Bundy Time Recorder Company, was donated for use as a library by George F. Johnson. The library was incorporated under the laws of New York State and governed by a board of trustees. On September 6, 1918, the library was moved from the Mattoon Building to the Bundy home and become known as the Ideal Home Library. The Bundy home was located on the corner of Jefferson Avenue and Park Street where the police and fire complex is currently located. The first librarian was Anna Hall with Alma Jones the librarian at the Hillside Center branch library.
In 1918, at the time of the move, the library contained 7,000 volumes and in 1919 had a circulation of 59,978 books including 26,375 children’s books. Also in 1919, 1,910 new library cards were issued. It was estimated that almost 50% of the community benefited from Endicott’s two libraries.
During World War I, the library purchased and circulated books about the war and acted as a local office and distribution center for War Savings, Liberty Loan, Red Cross and United Way War Work campaigns. It also widely distributed extension service pamphlets on farming and food.
The classes for foreign speaking residents and also the books in their native language which the library provided were a particularly noteworthy accomplishment for a library in a community the size of Endicott. Foreign language books were available in Armenian, Czechoslovakian, Greek, Italian, Polish, and Russian. Funds to purchase books came from a joint effort of the village residents, village taxes and the State of New York. The Endicott-Johnson Corporation also provided some support toward building upkeep until the village purchased both buildings in 1938.
The interior of the Ideal Home was outstanding. It contained intricate woodwork, a lovely stained glass window, beautiful oriental carpets and other fine furnishings. The main floor contained the adult and children’s reading rooms, the Director’s office and the magazine and pamphlet collections. The Cataloging and Processing departments were located on the second floor. The second floor also housed three club rooms each decorated in a different color scheme and identified as the “green,” “yellow,” and “rose” rooms. These meeting facilities were heavily used as evidenced by the 520 public meetings and parties which were held there in 1920. The third floor ballroom was used for weddings and for large receptions and also for library story hours and film programs. At this time the library was open seven days a week and also offered evening hours.
When Anna Hall resigned she was replaced by Margery Quigley, formerly of the St. Louis Public Library. Miss Quigley was a graduate of Vassar and the New York State Library School at Albany. She was assisted by Evelyn C. Eldridge and Alma Jones.
Margery Quigley collaborated with Mary Clark, another Endicott librarian, to write a children’s book titled “Poppy Seed Cakes” under the pseudonym of Margery Clark. The story told of a family on Endicott’s north side. A later edition was illustrated by the noted illustrators Maude and Miska Petersham. The original copyright date on the book was 1924. The illustrations for the original edition were done by Miss Clark. The book is considered a children’s classic and is still available in many libraries today.
The Ideal Home Library also served as a community center. Because of the beautiful grounds surrounding the library many parties were held there for the children and scouts from the Hillside Center Library.
The name of the library was changed to the Endicott Public Library in 1938 when the village purchased both the main and branch facilities from the Endicott-Johnson Corporation. The library remained at the Bundy site until 1950.