Sinclairville Free Library

15 Main Street
Sinclairville, NY 14782


Around 1824, book agents started appearing in the country. Library societies, like the Sinclairville Library Association were established. In 1832 a circulating library was founded called the Charlotte Center Private Library Association. The library contained seventy-five to one hundred volumes. However, the library was closed ten years later and the books were distributed among the members. Around 1856, the Farmers' Club of Sinclairville founded a small library of Agriculture works, but like the Private Library Association, it lasted only a few years.

The Sinclairville Library Association was founded on February 4, 1870 by Rev. E. P McElroy. He donated his private library of one-hundred eighty-five volumes and twenty-five dollars. W. W. Henderson added his private library to the collection a few years later. When the library was founded no law existed tat allow libraries to be incorporated outside of large cities. This predicament persisted as the Barker Library at Fredonia was being founded. In 1875, Obed Edson, a member of the Chautauqua County Legislature and a distinguished resident of Sinclairville, wrote and presented a bill to remedy the problem. Under this act many libraries were created throughout the State of New York.

The Sinclairville Library was located in a variety of locations. Originally the library was located in the law office of Obed Edson on Main Street, then in William Scott's home on Park Street. The library was also operated out of the Mitchell Building and the Grange Building. On December 12, 1894, a Free Library was charted under the name of "Sinclairville Free Library" by the Board of Regents, University of the State of New York. This accomplishment was made possible largely by Mrs. John Crofoot.

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