Regular hours have been affected by state, county and organizational responses to the international COVID-19 pandemic. Current as of March 16, 2020. View details here

While the library and book drop are temporarily closed, all due dates will be extended and no overdue fines will be charged.

Digital FAQs and Quick links for renewing your library card (username), resetting PIN, and getting a card online are up at

Library staff are available to help: Email us at or call 716.357.6296.

Search, Hold, Renew and Download


About The Smith

The Smith Memorial Library of Chautauqua Institution anchors the southern end of Bestor Plaza.

A member of the Chautauqua-Cattaragus Library System, The Smith offers year round services to the community:

  • Broad collection of circulating and archival materials
  • Access to ebooks and digital audio through your mobile device
  • InterLibrary Loan services, reference assistance, and basic tech help
  • WiFi, laptop workstations, and public desktop computers
  • Copy and print capability


To enrich the lives of the greater CHQ community by providing access to materials in a variety of formats, as well as other appropriate library services, for the purposes of education, intellectual stimulation, and pleasure; and to do so within the framework of the accepted principles of the library profession.


Smith Memorial Library Internet Safety Policy

Who are Chautauqua Advocates?

CHQ Advocates are a group of dedicated Chautauquans who host local gatherings and share their Chautauqua experiences with friends, neighbors and colleagues — and help Chautauqua engage others who are likely to enjoy and benefit from the arts, ideas, and lifelong learning. These gatherings do not have to be large in scale and can simply be an informal gathering in your home.


How can we help?

How can we help?

Chautauqua Institution staff is here to help throughout the process. We can help with guest list creation, mailings and brochures, artwork, and will provide a DVD with short videos on Chautauqua, the arts, religion, music, entertainment, recreation, youth programs, and education. Visit our media resources for pictures of Chautauqua Institution to use at your party.

Become an Advocate Today!


The state-of-the-art Cohen Multimedia Studio is located on the lower level of Smith Memorial Library.

The Chautauqua Women’s Club, founded in 1889, has enjoyed a long, proud, vital history as an integral part of the Chautauqua experience. At our beautiful house on the lake, we provide opportunities to enhance social connections, participate in lifelong learning and promote the arts. Our 2019 fund raising efforts to provide life-changing fine and performing art scholarships totaled  $80,000. We strive to offer members unique opportunities for personal enrichment, education and fellowship. 



The BTG House and Garden biennial Event offers docent lead tours inside 15 quintessential Chautauqua properties. Additionally this year, a wide range of interesting private and public gardens will be on display offering both self-guided tours as well as master gardener talks scheduled throughout the day. Touring house interiors begins at Noon through 5 p.m., but, a house tour ticket allows access to the grounds all day from 8 a.m.–8 p.m. So arrive early and plan to spend the entire day exploring the grounds. Check for all the details.

Enjoy refreshments and respite at Miller Park and at several water stations along tour route. Quite a few more surprises are in store for partons.

Questions? Please contact

Purchase Tickets


The Chautauqua Bird Tree and Garden Club provides 90 free events related to these grounds, the natural world and topics effecting our planet. Occurring at venues across the grounds, we invite you to join one of the many nature talks, walks and chats. Our nature guides and master gardeners conduct tours of the gardens, lead guided discovery thru the grounds and are experts on topics related to birds, trees, gardens, and monarchs. Join BTG as we celebrate nature!

Our lecture series occur at Smith Wilkes Hall Mondays and Tuesdays 12:15 p.m.. Visitors are encouraged to bring a lunch and settle in to hear an expert in the field. 'Monday 12:15 p.m. Monarch and More' speakers present information related to these incredible butterflies struggling for survival and in many cases are symbolic of the challenges occurring throughout the natural world as well as other nature topics such as wetlands, bees, composting and More! Our Butterflies and Blooms initiative encourages home owners to create 'eco-systems' in their gardens using native plants. The 'Tuesday 12:15 p.m. Brown Bag' lecturers range from bird experts, authors, algae researchers, garden experts and bee keepers to name a few. With a focus on eco/lake and monarch friendly practices, take notes on a topic and apply the learning back home. Other programs of note include Bird Walk & Talk, Miller Edison Shipman Garden Tour, Lake Walks, Garden Bus Tours, Outdoor Nature Classroom talks and one time events like the Native Plant Sale and the Life Member Annual Luncheon.

This season's Program Brochure for events that occur throughout the season will be available June 1 or access our website at Many events are suitable for children and multi generational. If you have any questions, please email us at

Support the Bird Tree and Garden Club with membership — for yourself or as a gift. Annual and Life Memberships are available by completing an application online at

The 2020 House and Garden Tour will occur July 16, 2020 during Week Three next season. For ticket information please check

Become a member!

2019 BTG Brochure

Learn more at


Weekly Events


Monarch Moments and More!  12:15 p.m. at Smith Wilkes Hall 
Lake Walks  6:30 p.m. Heinz Beach at the Youth Activities Center back porch


Bird Talk and Walks 7:30 a.m. at Smith Wilkes Hall
Brown Bag Programs 12:15 p.m. at Smith Wilkes Hall
Garden Walks 4:15 p.m. at Smith Wilkes Hall back patio


Garden Walks 9:15 a.m. at Fletcher Music Hall, tour concludes near the Amphitheater
Shipman Garden Tour at Miller Edison Cottage 1 p.m. (tickets may be purchased at the Main Gate Ticket Office, $10)


Nature/Tree Talks 1 p.m., See program guide for location


Nature Walks 9:15 a.m. at Smith Wilkes Hall (rear entrance, lakeside)
Purple Martin Chats 4:15 p.m. lakefront between the Bell Tower and Sports Club