State Librarian Beverly Cain's May Library Visits Journal
Associate State Librarian David Namiotka and I traveled to Northwest Ohio on May 9-10 to visit the following six libraries in the region.
May 9, 2012
Our first stop was the Bluffton Public Library, where we met with Cindi Chasse, who has been the Director since 2009. When the Bluffton Public Library opened in 1933, it was located inside Bluffton High School. It remained there until it moved to a new, separate facility in 1986. The library doubled its space in 2005 with a renovation and expansion.
The Bluffton Public Library circulates over 80,000 items each year with a collection of 38,681. Voters approved a 1-mil, 10 year levy in 2006 to help support the library. The library has a very active Friends of the Library group that operates a bookstore called The Apple Shed and assists the library with several fundraisers each year, such as the Birdies for Bookworms Golf Scramble.
The Bluffton Public Library has a robust local history department that has added 812 digitized items to the Ohio Memory Online Collection. Items were digitized in cooperation with NORWELD and the aid of an LSTA grant from the State Library. Staff are in the ongoing process of organizing the materials in this area. The children’s area is home to Winifred the degu, a furry little creature that is very popular with visitors of all ages.
Staff and patrons of the Bluffton Public Library are looking forward to July 18, the date when the library is scheduled to go-live with the SEO Library Consortium. The library is migrating to SEO with the help of an LSTA grant. Joining the SEO Library Consortium will allow the Bluffton Public Library to share resources with libraries around the state and provide patrons with access to eBooks and other materials.
Our visit to the OSU Lima Campus Library began with a meeting with Director Tina Schneider and Librarian Rena Hunter. They described a project that has allowed them to collaborate more closely with students and faculty by providing outreach to classrooms. The project, which has focused on assisting students with the development of good research skills, has been funded with a grant from University Libraries. In this same vein, Rena and Tina teach two for-credit online courses on research and library instruction. The courses, while not required, are consistently full.
The Ohio State University at Lima is a public university founded in 1960. Its 565-acre campus is located in Lima, 80 miles south of Toledo. The campus includes the Tecumseh Natural Area, the largest and most pristine wooded area in Ohio's Allen County with approximately 200 acres of forest.
During our visit, the library was displaying posters created by students participating in the 2012 Denman Undergraduate Research Forum. The Denman Undergraduate Research Forum was created in 1996 and is a cooperative effort of The Ohio State University's Honors & Scholars Center, The Undergraduate Research Office, and The Office of Research. The Forum is an opportunity to showcase outstanding student research and encourage all undergraduates to participate in research as a value-added element of their education.
The OSU Lima Campus Library houses approximately 80,000 volumes and 400+ journal subscriptions and provides students with access to items from other Ohio State University campuses using the OSU Library Catalog. Students can also request items from other colleges and universities around the state by using the OhioLINK statewide catalog. The Library also houses a collection of popular materials from the Lima Public Library. Additionally, the library has a collection of children’s books to support students enrolled in education classes. They’re also popular with children attending the campus preschool.
Of particular note is a large collection of hymnals housed in the library. Some of these hymnals are quite old and undoubtedly rare. Library Director Tina Schneider is the author of Hymnal Collections of North America and the general editor of the Dictionary of American Hymnology and has been involved in an NEH-funded project involving scanning and indexing 2000 hymnals from the Princeton Theological Seminary Library.
The campus of Rhodes State Community College is adjacent to the OSU Lima Campus. Rhodes State contracts with the OSU Lima Campus for library services, providing Rhodes students with access to collections housed in the library and access to OhioLINK.
Gary Fraser has been Director of the Lima Public Library since May 2011. Before assuming the role of Director, Gary was the library’s Systems Administrator. When we visited, the library was just finishing up a $1.5 million behind-the-scenes renovation of lighting, roofing, HVAC, and mechanical systems. The renovation was part of a major energy-saving capital project funded by the Lima Library Association. The library hopes to recoup the cost of the construction through savings realized from a more energy-efficient building. The library is working with Johnson Controls using a process called performance contracting, which means Johnson guarantees the board can use savings generated by energy improvements to finance the work. If the savings don't cover the bill, Johnson will pay the library.
The library is undergoing a number of other changes in addition to the construction. Fraser is working with OPLIN to redesign the library’s website featuring a new library logo. The library ceased its bookmobile services in January and has started delivering large bins of books to local daycares and other organizations. The library also recently purchased new tables and chairs for the teen area. The purchase was funded with money raised through a charity weight loss challenge.
The Lima Public Library circulates almost 600,000 items annually and boasts a collection of more than 365,000 items. Unique features of the collection include the Rabbi Dorfman Memorial Collection of Judaica and the Easter Straker Memorial Book Room, which houses memorial books that have been purchased and donated by library patrons.
May 10, 2012
We began Day 2 of our visits at the Auglaize County District Library, where we were joined by State Library Board member Krista Taracuk. Beth Steiner assumed her role as Director in January. Prior to becoming Director, Beth had served as the library’s Youth Services Coordinator for 5 years.
There are six libraries included in the Auglaize County District Library system. The main branch is in Wapakoneta, and the other five libraries are located in Minster, Cridersville, New Knoxville, New Bremen and Waynesfield.
Beth was happy to share with us that the library would be increasing hours at all locations effective May 24. The increase in hours would return the Auglaize County District Library to the same number of hours open as 2 ½ years ago when a significant reduction in state funding required cutbacks. Steiner hopes the hours will be more consistent and easier for patrons to remember. In addition to new hours, the library will also be hiring new staff.
The library recently sold its bookmobile to a radio station in Seattle where it will have new life as a mobile bookstore. The Auglaize County Library’s board and staff are considering how to best use the funds and space resulting from the sale of the bookmobile. They have a number of ideas but no definite plans as yet. The library also plans to embark on a strategic planning process beginning in September.
A few notable features of the library include a colorful mural on the walls of the story time area. The mural was painted by members of the high school art club. The library has a substantial and very popular collection of Large Print materials. The Genealogy Room houses a five generation Index of Names, which is very helpful to the many people who visit the library to research their family histories. Finally, a large area in the basement, complete with a stage will provide the setting for many of the library’s Summer Reading programs, which often draw more than 300 people.
Director Susan Pittman notified us the day before our visit to St. Marys that the library was closing for at least one day due to flooding and an as-yet-unknown amount of damage to the library. It turned out that the library had to be closed for two days but we were still able to visit the library and meet with staff. We appreciate that they took the time to meet with us during what was a busy and undoubtedly stressful time.
The St. Marys Community Public Library is a school district library that serves a population of 13,635 in Auglaize County. The library was started in 1921, when it was located in one room of the Community House in Memorial Park. The library moved to a new location in 1931 and then in 1936, it moved to larger quarters in the Municipal Building, where it remained for 45 years. The library’s current home was opened in 1981 after voters approved a bone issue to build a new library. Voters approved another issue to renovate and expand the library in 2000. The library was rededicated on April 14, 2002.
The library prides itself on its many active community partnerships that help the library provide more services and resources to patrons. Examples include the partnership with the St. Marys Rotary Club, which resulted in the library receiving a Health & Wellness Grant to purchase materials focused on health and fitness as well as offering programs on these topics. The library also worked with the St. Marys Rotary Club to acquire a set of books for the local Hospice Library as well as a set for the St. Marys Community Public Library. Other community partners include area schools, the Auglaize County Council on Aging, the Evening Leader newspaper, the Chamber of Commerce, the College Community Arts Council, and many more.
One outstanding feature of the library is a display of original artwork from children’s books on the walls of the Children’s Room. The collection was begun in the 1980s and includes local artists Mary Coons and Floyd Cooper. The children’s room also features a collection of signed posters, making the area very bright and colorful.
The library also features a large Local History and Genealogy Room. The room includes a wide variety of materials related to the history of St. Marys. Of particular note are the Ray Zunk Collection, featuring information about St. Marys and the Miami-Erie Canal, and a collection of materials by and about local author Jim Tully.
We are grateful to St. Marys Community Public Library trustee, Doris Lawler, for providing lunch during our visit. We were happy for the opportunity to talk with Director Susan Pittman, several staff, and trustees Bill Angel and Doris Lawler in an informal setting. Lawler has been a trustee of the St. Mary’s Community Public Library for over 50 years and has contributed significantly to the success of the library. She has also been a very active member of the community.
Our last stop in northwest Ohio was the Delphos Public Library, which recently celebrated its 100th anniversary. Director Nancy Mericle shared with us that this Carnegie library was built in 1912, in the center of a city park, surrounded by 45 maple trees. The library has undergone two expansions since that time. The first expansion occurred in 1960, when voters approved a bond issue to add 8,300 square feet to the library. A second expansion, adding another 3,683 square feet to the library, was undertaken in 2005. Just three years ago, the library purchased a building located immediately behind it. The building was remodeled and is now used for library board meetings as well as meetings by local civic organizations.
The Delphos Public Library is a school district library that serves 9,788 residents of Allen County with a collection of 80,485 items. The library’s annual circulation is 279,000. The library provides a number of services to the community including programs for all ages, meeting rooms, hosting immunization clinics for the Allen County Health Department, voter registration for residents of Allen and Van Wert counties, and GED classes. A major focus for Nancy and her staff over the next few months is migrating to the SEO Library Consortium. By joining the SEO Library Consortium, the Delphos Public Library will be sharing an integrated library system (ILS) with over 80 public libraries in Ohio and providing easy access to 7 million items to their patrons. The library is joining the SEO Library Consortium with assistance from an LSTA grant.
A photograph from June 1912 depicting a First Communion Class from St. John the Evangelist Catholic School.