Our History

1915– The first location of the Black River Free Library was opened on Leray St.

1921– The library moved to South Main St

1976– Library moves to the location on Public Square.

2006– Construction started on a new building at Public Works Drive, next to Maple Street Park

2007– Name of library is officially changed to “Sally Ploof Hunter Memorial Library”

2011– Library adds an addition to building to house the new Children’s Room.

2021– New Children’s Room construction is completed and existing Children’s Room is renovated into the “Sandra L Lamb Community Room”

Memorial Brick Virtual Video

Staff Biographies

Mary Louise Hunt (Director)

Mary Louise Hunt, otherwise known as Mrs. Hunt, feels that she has been blessed by having 2 careers that have been both enjoyable and rewarding.

She began her teaching career in 1973 at Black River Elementary. She made the school her home for 36 years. Following her retirement, she simply walked up the street to this new library and became the Children’s Programming Director. This allowed her to continue working with children.

Mrs. Hunt loves the smell, the feel and the look of books, especially children’s books. She says no to digital books at this time in her life, but understands their value.

During her time at the library she has hosted campouts, sleepovers, Halloween parties, movies, book clubs (children and adults) and many other events. She wants the patrons to know that this library welcomes children, allows young ones to run freely between the stacks, and because she is not a quiet person herself, she doesn’t expect children to be quiet.

Her goal for this library is to make it a relevant, vital place in the community, that welcomes all that enter. She is not done yet….

Shawn Hunt (Assistant Director)

Shawn began his time at the library as a Library Technician. He started off just scanning new books and processing them, making them available to be checked out. From that point on, Shawn steadily increased his responsibilities in the library to include creating and maintaining our website, social media, and other digital programs.

He has a Bachelor’s Degree from SUNY Potsdam in Business Administration, as well as a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from the University of Phoenix. He has found a way to use these skills in helping the Sally Ploof Hunter Library move forward.

Shawn is the resident technology “expert” of the library. If there are issues with anything in technology, from understanding how to use our apps/computers, to many other things that would make this list go on forever, Shawn is the person that the patrons and staff look to for an answer.

Before working at the library Shawn would average 8 books read in a year. Now on average he reads 75 books a year. What attributed mostly to this number according to Shawn is that “When you’re in the presence of books, you can’t help to want to read more of them. It also helps that a library such as Sally Ploof Hunter Memorial Library has such a unique collection of books that you are sure to find something you like in either here or the 60+ libraries in the North Country Library System. Shawn’s books of preference include horror/suspense, science fiction, or graphic novels.

Have you or your children enjoyed playing with our robots, or other pieces of technology? You can thank Shawn for that, because he enjoys all that as well. In fact, sometimes in the library you may see a robot go across the floor because Shawn is “making sure it still works for the patrons”. Shawn has a motto in life he borrowed from Doctor Who, which is “There’s no sense of being an adult, if you can’t be a child sometimes.”

Terry Ingersoll (Library Clerk)

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Sue Lillie (Library Clerk)

When I was young, people asked me "What Do You Want to Be When You Grow Up?" I would always immediately answer with "I am going to be a Librarian or Teacher"
My wishes came true when I began teaching at Sacred Heart School in Watertown. Then after teaching there, I began working at St. James School in Gouverneur. I stayed teaching there for 39 years. During that time for many years I also worked as a library clerk at Jefferson Community College.
In 2012 I began working at the Sally Ploof Hunter Memorial Library as a clerk, with all the joys of being surrounded by people and books, and no grading, lesson plans, or testing.
When I am not working at the library, or curled up with a Cozy Mystery (my favorite type of book), our families puppy is walking me on the trails.

Sandra Lamb (Director Emeritus)

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The Sally Ploof Hunter Memorial Library aims to be the connection point of choice for our community’s information, entertainment, and social needs.


  • Community – We seek to actively serve and engage our neighbors in the Village of Black River and the towns of LeRay and Rutland.
  • Relevance – We will provide library services, programs, and events which are intentionally developed to meet the perceived needs of the community in which we live.
  • Diversity – We will continue to serve patrons of all backgrounds, and offer a variety of specific programs including those for children, youth, and adults.
  • Technology – In addition to our robust collection of printed materials, we will provide rich content to our patrons, including audiobooks, digital video, eBooks, etc. We will also provide access and opportunities to learn modern technologies.
  • History – We are committed to the collection, archival, and sharing of historic documentation related to our community and its people.
  • Partnership – We will work with the North Country Library System and other area entities to share resources and programs within the larger Northern NY region.