Albert Wisner Public Library
A Library for Warwick
On May 30, 1927, the Albert Wisner Memorial Library was presented to the public by Mrs. Annie Wisner Dunlap on behalf of her great-aunt and adoptive mother, the late Mrs. Albert Wisner. Ever since that day, this building has provided a place for the community to connect with the worlds of literature, information, and lifelong learning. Through its doors every day a host of different people with diverse interests, educational levels, and cultural and religious backgrounds, enter and meet. Here, everyone is regarded equally. The best deal in town has helped raise generations of literate, inquiring minds; aided its citizens in securing good jobs or starting new businesses through updated knowledge of their career fields; provided a place of refuge for quiet study and exploration of ideas old and new; assisted in locating helpful information for the sick, the grieving, the troubled; and provided access to those stories of life, love, adventure, triumph over adversity, and the full range of experience that the human spirit craves. This is a public library, and it is for these purposes and goals that public libraries were established as part of the fulfillment of the ideals of the American democracy.
The Early Years
Public libraries did not always exist; in the early years of our nation, access to literacy and to the ideas and information that writings contained was restricted to the privileged few who could read and afford to purchase books. In Warwick , it is recorded that fifty years after the first house was completed in 1764, a library was organized in 1814. A private collection of books was purchased and circulated by the Warwick Library Association for a few years. It was privately held, and a number of Warwick village fathers owned stock in it. By 1845 it was recognized that the community needed more access to books and the Y.M.C.A. began a library in its building, now the 1810 House museum. Its book stock was supplemented by traveling libraries lent by the New York State Library. Free to responsible adults, the service was popular:
To accommodate the reading people and patrons of the limited library of the Young Men's Christian Association, the board of managers have secured No. 16 of the State Traveling Libraries. The rules governing the libraries are as follows: Readers over 16 years of age must sign a contract and agreement; readers under 16 years of age must sign a contract endorsed by a trustee; all persons, whether members of the association or not, are entitled to draw books. A partial list of books are as follows: Politics for Young Americans, Nights with Uncle Remus , Farmer's veterinary advisor, Little Women, Jane Eyre, Little Lord Fauntleroy , Last of the Mohicans , Robinson Crusoe.