Schreiber was the son of Clara Williams and Joseph Harold Schreiber. He studied at Baylor University in Waco, Texas and earned his masters in organ and church music at Northwestern University in Chicago. During the Korean War he served in the U. S. Air Force. After the war he began working as organist in churches in Hammond, Indiana, Chicago, and Louisville, Kentucky before coming to Birmingham to be director of music at First Methodist Church.
In 1964 he accepted the position of choirmaster and organist at Independent Presbyterian. There he immediately founded the church's November Organ Recital Series, bringing guest organists to perform at the church. He also founded the church's Religious Arts Festival in 1972.
Schreiber's choir made numerous public performances in Birmingham and around the region, made 13 recordings, and toured Europe on six occasions.
Schreiber has served on the boards of the Alabama Symphony Orchestra, the Birmingham Music Club and WBHM. He has also served the national Presbyterian Association of Musicians and the American Guild of Organists. He and his wife Patricia had three children, Deborah, Joseph Allen, and Stella.
Schreiber died of Parkinson's disease in 2007. He was survived by two of his children and by seven grandchildren.
- Joseph William Schreiber obituary (September 22, 2007) The Birmingham News