On May 29, 1930 the doors of
the Woodward Memorial Library opened to the community. The public
library was a gift to the people of LeRoy from the five children
of Orator and Cora Woodward in memory of their parents. The library
was the first free public library in the community; previous libraries
were by subscription. Built on the site of the Staunton Conservatory
and Arts Building of Ingham University (1837-1891), the library
was designed in the English Colonial style using stones from the
The Woodward gift included the building and all equipment as
well as money to purchase books and endowment funds to help support
the library operation. Currently, the income from these funds
helps maintain the building and purchase library materials.
The Woodward family had been active business people in LeRoy,
and a large part of their fortune came from the manufacture and
marketing of Jell-O. The family's generosity aided many LeRoy
institutions but perhaps none so much or for so long as the Woodward
The library was originally built with a small auditorium for
community meetings, a museum area and kitchenette on the lower
level, and the circulation desk, reference area, reading room,
children's reading room and story hour room on the main floor.
Gradually, the lower lever was changed to accommodate the children's
room and workroom, and the elevator was added was added in 1988.
The library is unusual in that it serves both the school and the