Wadsworth Library

24 Center Street
Geneseo, NY 14454



Once there were no public libraries in America. Subscription libraries, financially supported by members, provided library services until the mid-nineteenth century. One of the first free public libraries in the country was the Geneseo Athenaeum in Geneseo, NY.

In 1842 local landholder James Wadsworth (1768-1844) established the Athenaeum collection for students at the Livingston County High School (later Temple Hill Academy). Wadsworth, who had been advocating for state legislation to establish tax supported public libraries, opened the Athenaeum collection free of charge to the residents of Livingston County.

By Civil War times, the collection had outgrown its space and a new library was constructed at the present location in 1867. In 1869 the New York State legislature established the Wadsworth Library as a public library in the Village of Geneseo to serve the residents and schools of Livingston County. Originally endowed by the Wadsworth family, the Library is also funded by the Village and Town of Geneseo and the Geneseo Central School District.

During the early decades of the twentieth century several attempts were made to expand the library but all were abandoned. In the 1980's another expansion program was undertaken and completed. The new addition to the Wadsworth Library was dedicated March 17, 1996. The Library is included in the Geneseo Historic District, a National Landmark Village listed by the National Register of Historic Places in 1991.

Images provided by AmericanTowns.com, Ticketmaster
Please use "Flag This Place" to alert us about content that is inappropriate or needs immediate attention. Nothing you submit will be shared with other site visitors.

Upcoming AARP Events

View All AARP Events »

Find information about getting a COVID-19 vaccine in your state. CDC information is available at cdc.gov/coronavirus; additional AARP information and resources are at aarp.org/coronavirus. En español, visite aarp.org/elcoronavirus.

AARP Member Card

Join or Renew Today


  • Immediate access to your member benefits
  • Discounts on travel and everyday savings
  • Subscription to the award-winning AARP The Magazine
  • An ally on the issues that matter most to you in Geneseo
  • Free membership for your spouse or partner