by Kelly Ward, Director, Public County District Library
In August of 2007, the Putnam County District Library (PCDL) was devastated by a flood that destroyed over 1/3 of the collection and the majority of the contents of the building, including all of the oak shelving units. Being on the job only one month, I was struck by the monumental task of not only running a library system but looking for a place to house the library. In the fall of 2007, the library temporarily moved to the Educational Service Center of Putnam County. Community members and staff pitched in to donate books and the Kalida school system was generous enough to allow us to borrow a circulation desk and some shelving units with the understanding that they would have to be returned by the end of the school year. With the date quickly approaching, it was becoming apparent that we were going to have to purchase shelving to hold the library’s 14,000 materials.
In March of 2008, my husband was visiting the State Library of Ohio on a business call and discovered that they were in the process of reducing their space in order to save money. Within that space were shelving units that needed a home and the PCDL was more than happy to provide one for them. I could not believe my good fortune when I received a telephone call from Diane Fink stating that not only did they have shelving units available for our temporary location but enough for a larger library as well. Additionally, office furniture and a patron computer desk system were offered. Prior to this time, all staff members, including myself, were working on hardback chairs and folding tables with the patron computers housed on one long table that did not lend itself to privacy.
In April of 2008, staff and community members helped to remove the borrowed bookcases and replace it with the new shelving from the State Library. What a huge difference it made! No longer was the library filled with bookshelves of different sizes and colors but the space was finally looking like a library. Staff had actual desks and patrons could surf the internet in privacy.
Although we are still housed at the Educational Service Center, we hope to build a new library within the next two years but it is going to be difficult. The PCDL did not receive any funding from FEMA and with budget cuts looming the future, we will need every penny to build the facility. Because of the very generous donation of shelving from the State Library, that is one less thing to worry about. The PCDL is very grateful to the State Library and I cannot say enough wonderful things about the staff who work there that helped us during a time in need.