Check out Farmingdale's new library at the Wainright House Museum

FARMINGDALE - Virginia Woolley, curator and founder of the Wainright House Museum, has long dreamed of establishing a library in the historic home.

Woolley started restoring the building 10 years ago, and decided to reached out to her friend Linda Scott, a Lakewood resident who has experience in establishing and running libraries, for help.

Now, Woolley's dream is becoming a reality.

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 homes and I had heard that they might tear it down," she said. "Somebody wanted to put condos there instead, and I thought that would be so sad because of the history that would be lost."

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The Wainright House is regarded as the oldest house in Farmingdale,. It was built in 1750 by Robert Lippincott, a Shrewsbury Quaker. The house later ended up in the hands of the prominent Wainright family, who lived in and ran businesses out of the house for over a century.

The Wainright House Museum in Farmingdale where the library is located.
The Wainright House Museum in Farmingdale where the library is located.

"My son and I decided to stick with 'the Wainright House' because they had had a business there for over a hundred years and everyone knew the Wainright House," said Woolley of the museum's name. "It's kind of like a centerpiece in the town."

The house stands as a period piece to preserve Farmingdale history, but has an array of other things to offer such as art and crafting classes, rotating exhibits, speaker events and now a library, the only one in town.

"I think everyone's real thrilled with what my son and I have done there because Farmingdale doesn't have too much going on and the fact that there was no library is sad," Woolley said.

The library is comprised of donated books and materials across genres, mainly recent works published within the last 10 years.

"When we were setting it up, we were very pleased with the donations we received," Scott said. "The collection makes for a good, what I call, browsing library."

It also has a reference section with extensive information on local history.

"My family had a lot of history books," explained Woolley, "so I gathered them up, history about Monmouth County and that kind of thing. I have people come in who want to know about different people and I also have lists of people buried in the local cemetery."

Virginia Woolley (left), founder of the Wainright House Museum and Linda Scott in the new library.
Virginia Woolley (left), founder of the Wainright House Museum and Linda Scott in the new library.

The library's formal opening is not until July 3, but Woolley already has seen gratitude and excitement from people in town.

"I think it's neat because people are saying, 'Oh that's going to be a wonderful way to walk the children down the street,' and I think once they see it they'll be happy with it," Woolley said.

Checking a book out from the library will not require a library card or registration, and there are no fees. Patrons can keep books for as long as they want, Woolley said, "as long as it's reasonable."

"All you need to do is check out our collection, see what's available and leave us your name and phone number," Woolley said. "If the book is out on loan, we'll call whoever has it and get it back in house."

"It's very relaxed," she said. "I think this world needs more relaxed."

The formal grand opening is scheduled for between 1 and 4 p.m.  July 3, a Sunday,  and operating hours will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays and 1 to 4 p.m. on Sundays.

Further information is available at the Wainright House Museum.

Intern Pari Walter of Monmouth Beach is a rising junior at the University of Miami.   

This article originally appeared on Asbury Park Press: Wainright House Museum in Farmingdale opens free library