History of the Foster Libraries

The History of Tyler Free Library began when the people of Moosup Valley acquired Casey B. Tyler’s private collection of about 2000 books and therefore needed to build a structure to house it. The Tyler Free Library was formally organized in January of 1896, and a Librarian was hired. The Library opened and fifteen cards were issued on March 31, 1900. Local residents organized the books and the Library was open on Saturday afternoons. It served as a gathering place to visit as well as a place to find a book. During the first fifty years Tyler was a quiet country library supported by local residents, who volunteered time, materials and abilities to maintain the structure. By 1925, there were about 5000 volumes and a circulation of 1868.

The Tyler Free Library association filed a record of incorporation in 1950 and became a private corporation. The 50th anniversary was celebrated. The state Librarian donated a collection of non-fiction books to meet the leisure interests of country residents, including topics such as quilt making, gardening, fishing and home repairs.

The library building was moved across Moosup Valley Road in 1965 and an addition was built to connect it to the Moosup Valley School. Built in 1811, this one room school was no longer used by the Town and now houses the children’s collection. For about 15 years Tyler shared a librarian with Foster Public Library in Foster Center until 1980 when different librarians were hired for each Library. In 1997, a single librarian was once again hired for the two libraries.

Foster Public Library developed quite differently. Shortly after World War I the Foster Memorial Library Association was organized. Although there was money given by the Old Home Day’s Association, there was no attempt to construct or acquire a building. The Foster Memorial Library Association incorporated in 1945. However, even with an official charter, the Association did not produce a library. In 1950, another group chartered The Foster Public Library Association. The group finally set up a small library on Danielson Pike. This library also served the Captain Isaac Paine Elementary school with a branch located at the school untiI1964. Meanwhile, the Foster Memorial Library Association acquired the Foster Center School. In 1955, the Associations consolidated to bring together the library that had books but lacked space and the library that had a building but no books. Today the Foster Public Library is still housed in the Foster Center School with an addition having been added in 1970.

At the Annual Meeting in October 2007, a vote was taken and passed to combine the separate corporations of each library and to dissolve the two Boards of Trustees and install one Board for the newly formed corporation referred to as the Libraries of Foster.