By Beth Poley, Program Coordinator
Some of the most celebrated authors, musicians, and other artists call or have called Ohio home, both by chance and by choice. The Ohioana Library recognizes Ohioans as those born in Ohio and those who have lived in the state for five or more years.
Founded in 1929 by then First Lady Martha Kinney Cooper, the Ohioana Library Association is one of Ohio’s best kept secrets. Originally located in the Governor’s Mansion, Ohioana has grown and moved to different spaces throughout downtown Columbus. Today, Ohioana has found a home in the old Jeffrey Mining Center, where our collection and programs have room to continue to grow.
Ohioana’s mission is to recognize and encourage the creative accomplishments of Ohioans, preserve and expand a permanent archive of books, manuscripts, and other materials by Ohioans or about Ohio, and disseminate information about the work of Ohio writers, musicians, and other artists to researchers, schools, and the general public. Ohioana has been committed to nurturing and fostering Ohio’s authors, musicians, and artists, both young and old. While the collection is the backbone of Ohioana, the annual Ohioana Awards, the Ohioana Book Festival, and the Ohioana Quarterly are all ways in which Ohioana carries out its mission.
The Ohioana Collection is unique not only in its scope, but also in its method of acquisition; Ohioana has no book-buying budget. Most of Ohioana’s 45,000 volume collection has been donated by publishers, authors, and friends. We add between 600 and 1,000 new books to our collection each year! The collection does not circulate but is accessible to the public and reference requests are responded to by phone and email.
The Ohioana Awards have been presented annually since 1942 to talented Ohioans in recognition of their contribution to the literary and cultural life of the state. These awards have given state and national prominence to outstanding Ohio authors, artists, and musicians. Ohioana also sponsors two writing contests for promising young writers. The Walter Rumsey Marvin Grant is awarded to an unpublished author under the age of 30. The Ohioana Award for Young Writers awards first, second and third place prizes to high school students in both poetry and prose.
The Ohioana Book Festival began in 2007 and has quickly become a staple literary event in Ohio. With the help of more than 30 partnering and sponsoring organizations from across the state, the Festival has expanded to include more than 100 Ohio authors each year, bringing in an audience of nearly 3,500 attendees and reaching an additional 50,000 people through various community outreach programs. The Festival celebrates Ohio authors and their works, encourages reading and writing, and brings writers, readers, and the community at large together in a series of stimulating, fun, educational, and entertaining programs.
Published since 1958, the Ohioana Quarterly, a journal distributed to over 2,500 members and subscribers, contains reviews of recent books by Ohioans and about Ohio, articles and essays about Ohio authors and the arts in Ohio, and an annotated list of new books added to Ohioana’s collection. Beginning in 2011, Ohioana will be publishing two double issues of the Ohioana Quarterly. Through a partnership with Ohio Magazine, two installments of an Ohioana Companion will be published in the magazine. All Ohioana members and subscribers will receive the traditionally published Quarterly as well as the companion published within Ohio Magazine.
Ohioana is supported by memberships, contributions, grants, and an allocation from the State of Ohio. To learn more about Ohioana, please visit us online at http://www.ohioana.org.
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