FARMINGDALE – Virginia Woolley, curator and founder of the Wainright House Museum, has long dreamed of establishing a library in the historic house.
Woolley began restoring the building 10 years ago and decided to reach out to her friend Linda Scott, a Lakewood resident who has experience building and running libraries, for help.
Now Woolley’s dream is coming true.
Woolley, 90, and a Middletown native, made Farmingdale her home, and she and her son John bought the house at 48 Main St. from a bank in 2012.
“I like old houses and I had heard they might tear them down,” she said. “Someone wanted to put condos there instead, and I thought it would be so sad because of the history that would be lost.”
What’s coming:Ocean County commissioners to vote on new $11.5 million library branch in Stafford
The Wainright House is considered the oldest house in Farmingdale. It was built in 1750 by Robert Lippincott, a Quaker from Shrewsbury. The house then fell into the hands of the prominent Wainright family, who lived and ran businesses out of the house for over a century.
“My son and I decided to stay with ‘the Wainright House’ because they had a business there for over a hundred years and everyone knew the Wainright House,” Woolley said of the museum’s name. “It’s kind of like a centerpiece of the city.”
The house bills itself as a period piece to preserve Farmingdale’s history but has an array of other things to offer such as arts and crafts classes, rotating exhibits, speaker events and now a library, the only one in town.
“I think everyone is really happy with what my son and I did there because Farmingdale doesn’t have much to do and the fact that there is no library is sad” , said Woolley.
The library is made up of donated books and materials in all genres, mostly recent works published within the last 10 years.
“When we set it up, we were very pleased with the donations we received,” Scott said. “The collection constitutes a good, what I call, a browsing library.”
It also has a reference section with detailed local history information.
“My family had a lot of history books,” Woolley explained, “so I put them together, Monmouth County history and that kind of stuff. I have people who want to know more about different people and I also have lists of people buried in the local cemetery.”
The official opening of the library isn’t until July 3, but Woolley has already seen the gratitude and enthusiasm of the townspeople.
“I think it’s good because people say, ‘Oh, that’s going to be a wonderful way to take the kids down the street,’ and I think once they see it, they’ll be. happy,” Woolley said.
Borrowing a book from the library does not require a library card or registration and there is no charge. Customers can keep the books for as long as they want, Woolley said, “as long as it’s reasonable.”
“All you have to do is browse our collection, see what’s available, and leave us your name and phone number,” Woolley said. “If the book is loaned out, we’ll call whoever has it and bring it home.”
“It’s very relaxed,” she said. “I think this world needs more relaxation.”
The official opening is scheduled for Sunday, July 3 between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. and the opening hours will be 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday.
Further information is available at the Wainright House Museum.
Monmouth Beach intern Pari Walter is a rising junior at the University of Miami.