In the early 1800s, when the tract of land known as Ogden was a part of south Parma and the land was still open and generally uninhabited, a group of settlers came together and established a library for the benefit of those people who wished to join the library association. Membership in the association was $2. Trustees were elected on the first Tuesday in February of each year. Books could be taken out or returned on any day but Sunday . All, however, had to be returned by noon on the General Return Days (first Tuesdays in February, May, August and November).
Little is known about the original founders of the library, but it is known that the library was first housed in Ogden Center in the home of George W. Willey and was later moved to the general store. According to the autobiography of J.T. Trowbridge, Windsor Stone Trowbridge was one of the stockholders.
The earliest collection consisted of twenty-two books of travel, seventeen of religion, three of science, five of fiction, three of essay, and fourteen miscellaneous according to the unpublished History of the Farmers' Library by C. Brainard.
In 1833, James Wadsworth deeded 2 acres of land in Ogden Center to the Trustees of the Farmers' Library Company of Ogden "for the sole use of the library." It is thought that Mr. Wadsworth believed that a library building would be built on this land and that Ogden Center would develop into a village. This was not so, however, and the library was moved to the Village of Spencerport in the Town of Ogden - about a mile north of Ogden Center.
Little is known about the growth of the library until 1876 when a fire destroyed the building and many of the original books and records. Between the time of the fire and 1901 it appears that library use went into a decline, but rent from the two acres did provide some revenue for the floundering library.
In 1908 a group of citizens met with the head of the state library who helped outline a plan for the reorganization of the library. This plan was adopted and in 1908 a provisional charter was granted. In March, 1910 a full charter was granted to the Farmers' Library Company of Ogden.
The library grew steadily and in 1934 it was noted that the library association had 3,726 members and that the circulation of the items was 16,621.
Fire struck once again! In 1948 fire swept through the building that housed the library. Although most of the books did not burn, the intense heat and water damaged most of the collection.
In 1976 the library moved to Amity Street in the village and it enjoyed its new, roomier surroundings. The collection grew quickly as did the circulation until it became painfully clear in the late 1980s that a larger home would be necessary to house the library.
In 1990 James Colby, a local farmer, offered land to the library to build a new structure. The Town Offices also needed a new facility and so, with Mr. Colby's permission, the land was offered to the town for the purposes of building a community center of which the library would be a part. The bond issue passed and the new community center was built on Ogden Center Road - back in the same area where the library had originated.
Today the library is a modern facility offering an online catalog, full graphical Internet capabilities, a wide variety of online databases, recorded books, videos & DVDs, large print books, numerous magazines and newspapers, CDs, a significant local history and genealogy section, computers for the public, laser printers and a staff with 3 professional librarians. Our association now numbers more than 11,000 members and there is no charge for membership. Our collection totals about 63,000 items and our circulation is almost 200,000 a year. We have, indeed, grown.
Today the library name is usually shortened to the Ogden Farmers' Library but its history is still long and rich - and it is a vital, integral part of this thriving community that is a touch of suburban with a touch of small town.