The State Library was one of the first state agencies created, established in 1817, to serve the information and research needs of state government. As Ohio grew, so did the responsibilities of the agency, including the development of library services throughout Ohio. Below is a timeline of notable events in the State Library's history.
The Ohio State Library, later renamed State Library of Ohio, is established by Governor Thomas Worthington with a collection of 509 books. Located in the original State Office Building, the library serves as a depository for state records, maps, and laws and is open to state officials and members of the legislature.
The library moves to the State Capitol. The legislature passes a law establishing a library board of commissioners, consisting of the Governor, Secretary of State, and the State Librarian.
The legislature enacts the Library Law of 1896 requiring the Senate to appoint the Board of Commissioners to a six–year term without compensation. With the Governor's approval, the Board appoints the State Librarian. The State Library creates a traveling library program. By 1927, the traveling library circulation has grown to 69,850 books.
The position of Library Organizer is created to assist with statewide library development.
Governor Donahey vetoes library appropriations, and on June 20, 1927, the library closes due to lack of funding. In August, the library reopens with a staff of volunteers led by the previous State Librarian, Charles B. Galbreath. Mr. Galbreath and other volunteers work for 11 months before being compensated for their services.
The library officially reopens.
The State Library moves into the newly completed Ohio Departments Building, located at 65 South Front Street in downtown Columbus.
The State Library begins to distribute funds to local libraries and to establish library service in rural areas of the state. $50,000 is appropriated in 1935; by 1952 that amount has doubled to $100,000.00.
Library law is codified, setting the course for the library's current mission. The Library Organizer position has evolved into the Library Consultants program.
Seventy of Ohio's 88 counties have an extension or branch library. The traveling library has evolved into the bookmobile service. In 1953, 53 bookmobiles are operating in 37 counties.
The Catalog Center opens to provide cataloging and processing services to public, school, academic, special, and institutional libraries.
With the enactment of U.S. Public Law 87–579, the State Library becomes the regional federal government documents depository for Ohio.
The State Library opens the Tower Library Center in the Rhodes Tower Office Building.
The State Library and The Ohio State University Libraries share a computerized catalog.
Riffe Research Center opens, offering access through an online catalog to over four million titles in the State Library and The Ohio State University libraries.
The State Library of Ohio becomes a founding member of OhioLINK.
OPLIN brings Internet connectivity to Ohio's public libraries.
The State Library ceases operation in the Ohio Departments Building.
The State Library of Ohio reopens for business in the Jeffrey Mining Corporate Center.
State Library Board Testimony before
The Senate Finance and Financial Institutions Committee
April 21, 2005
State Library Board Testimony before The Subcommittee on Higher Education Of the House Finance and Appropriations Committee
February 22, 2005