Celebrating 135 years of service

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The Osterhout Free Library has been serving the City of Wilkes-Barre for 135 years. On January 28, 1889 an opening ceremony was held at the neighboring First Presbyterian Church. Presenters remarked that Isaac Osterhout’s generosity and forethought provided this library to enrich the City of Wilkes-Barre. Attendees proceeded out into the cold January night to be greeted by the electric lights of the library, which were installed in 1888.
At 10 o’clock the next morning – January 29, 1889 – the library officially opened to the public. Readers were registered and books were checked out. Library membership was initially limited to Wilkes-Barre residents over the age of 12. In 1896, borrowing privileges were extended to all residents of the Wyoming Valley.
Today, all residents of Luzerne County are eligible and encouraged to register for a free library card. Library cards allow patrons to access books, periodicals, digital resources, a Library of Things and so much more. There is truly ‘something for everyone!’ As Melvil Dewey remarked at the opening ceremony, “a modern library should serve as a living spring that educates the whole community.”
The Osterhout Free Library serves as the district center for the Wilkes-Barre Library District and the Luzerne County Library System. The library provides material and services to all residents of Luzerne County enabling them to obtain information, free of charge, for their personal, educational, recreational and professional needs. The mission of the library is to continue to broaden these services and to stimulate their use.
The library is open: Monday-Thursday from 8:30 a.m. – 7:30 p.m.; Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.; Saturday from 10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.
The Osterhout Free Library is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. If you are interested in making a donation or sponsoring any of the library’s fundraising events throughout the year, please contact Michelle Riley, Director of Development at (570) 823-0156 ext. 218 or mriley@luzernelibraries.org
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