In the spring of 1937, a group of librarians met informally to consider some of the problems common to small libraries in Westchester County. Led by Ann J. Rymer of the Scarsdale Public Library, they discussed questions of practice and the possibility of broadening library services through the creation of a union catalog thus allowing for interlibrary loan. County-wide publicity of library events was also on the agenda. The participants recognized early on that any effective system for initiating these proposals would call for the action of an organization broader in reach than that of the small number represented at their meetings. It was decided that letters would be sent to all public librarians in the County to determine whether or not there was any interest in the formation of such an organization. Within a year, the Westchester Library Association was established. Within five years, the Westchester Library Association had successfully created a union catalog initially underwritten by a pledge of one percent of each participating library's book budget for the year 1941. Interlibrary loan soon followed.
Many years have passed since that first small group of County librarians met, yet the reasoning behind the formation of the Westchester Library Association remains the same. The need for the creation of informal groups to meet to discuss problems common to libraries of similar size and location and the creation of a larger forum for all librarians to meet together once or twice a year, when the work of the smaller group could be correlated and problems common to all libraries could be considered has remained constant. A look at conference workshops offered over the years attests to the changes in our profession brought on by technology. The inclusion of school, academic, and special libraries has allowed WLA to consider a wide array of library issues relevant to its membership. While the forum has not changed, the topics of conversation have. We look forward to the twenty-first century guided by the same high principles established in 1937 of exemplary library services to the people of Westchester County.