On September 2, 1918, Helen Bohlmann Gorsch donated to the Village of Andes the property now known as Bohlmann Park with the house that had been the family homestead. The stipulations were:
- The Village would keep the building up and not remove it from its present foundations.
- The building should be used as a residence for a caretaker or storage, or another proper purpose.
- The Village should not use or permit the property to be used except for a public park.
If the stipulations were violated or if the property were to cease to be vested in the village, it would revert to the grantor, her heirs and assigns.
The Village decided immediately to use the building as a library and residence for the librarian. Helen Gorsch, the grantor, apparently approved this use as she donated books from her New York City Fifth Avenue apartment to the initial collection. A Provisional Charter was granted by the state in 1922. On October 26, 1951, the Regents granted the Andes Public Library
Absolute Charter as a municipal library.
In 1973, the O’Connor Foundation gave the library $30,000 for a new addition, artfully designed to seem a part of the original structure, which doubled its space. At this point the library entered into a contract with the Town of Andes to provide services to all Town residents. In 1984, the library was designated a historic building as part of the Historic District in the Village of Andes and included on the NYS and Federal Registers.
The building housed both the library and librarian’s residence until the fall of 2001 when Vera Matthews moved from the library to her own house. At that point, the library, which was badly cramped, expanded into the rest of the building. Necessary and appropriate renovations were made in 2002-2003 via a special $5,000 Legislative grant from the state.
In anticipation of the dissolution of the village, a petition was submitted to the New York State Board of Regents in November 2003 for an amended Charter to expand the scope of the library’s service area to the Town of Andes. The Provisional Charter was granted September 10, 2004 with the Absolute Charter to follow on September 12, 2006.
In 2008-2009, major renovations and the addition of the gazebo and deck were made possible by grants from the New York State Construction Authority and The O’Connor Foundation. In 2020, another major construction project was made possible with funding from The O’Connor Foundation, the Mee Foundation, and the State Library Construction Aid Program to create handicap accessibility, install a new roof, update the electric, install a new HVAC system, new handicap ramps and a new handicap bathroom.
The free use of the building and its maintenance are costs of the municipality. The costs of personnel, the collection, necessary computers, fax, copy machines, furniture, as well as the insurance on these, have been borne by the library with the support of donations, fundraisers, and cash from the village and town budgets.
The library Board of Trustees consists of 5-9 members who serve five-year terms. New members’ names are proposed by the Board and submitted for approval to the municipality. The Board of Trustees meets the third Thursday in the months of January, March, May, July, September, and November. The Andes Library is part of the Four County Library System and meets minimum standards for a public library under the New York State guidelines.