L to R: Tracy Najera, Board Member; Laurie Gemmill Arp, Board President; Alan Hall, Board Member; and Michael Merz, Board Vice-President. Not pictured: Janet Carleton, Board Member.

State Librarian & Board

State Librarian

Wendy Knapp - Headshot

Wendy Knapp

Wendy Knapp has 18 years of library experience that includes state and public libraries. She was the Deputy Director of Statewide Services at the Indiana State Library from 2012 to 2020, where she was responsible for the Professional Development Office, Library Development Office, and Management Information Services Division. Knapp’s statewide library service began at the Indiana State Library in 2006 as an Indiana-Planning Consultant responsible for helping libraries with long-range and technology planning, administering a statewide public library consortium, and serving as State E-Rate Coordinator. Prior to being the Deputy Director of Statewide Services, she was Supervisor of the Professional Development Office. During her tenure at Indiana State Library, Knapp led initiatives such as founding Indiana Memory, inaugurating the Indiana Librarian Leadership Academy, and establishing Indiana’s role as a hub in the Digital Public Library of America.

Knapp’s experience includes eight years as an Instructor in the School of Library and Information Science at Indiana University–Purdue University and three years as an Adult Services Librarian at the Indianapolis Marion County Public Library.

Wendy earned a Master of Library Science from Indiana University and a Bachelor of Science from University of Indianapolis. She is active in national committee work, currently serving as co-chair of the Library Development Interest Group in the Association of Cooperative and Specialized Library Agencies, a division of the American Library Association (ALA). She is a member of the E-Rate Taskforce for the ALA Office of Information Technology Policy and former board member of the Association of Cooperative and Specialized Library Agencies. Wendy is a new board member of the Ray Bradbury Center at Indiana University School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI and will be attending her first meeting next week. She also volunteered as librarian for the Crossroad Church of Avon and served on the Alumni Board of Directors for the University of Indianapolis.

Library Visits

Following best practices and guidance from the Governor’s Office and Ohio Department of Health in response to COVID-19, in person visits to Ohio libraries have been suspended. If you would like to schedule a virtual visit with State Librarian Wendy Knapp, please contact Julia Ward at jward@library.ohio.gov.

LIBRARY VISITS

State Librarian Budget Testimony

  •  Click here to read the State Librarian’s written Budget Support Testimony to Ohio House Finance Subcommittee on Higher Ed for FY2020 – FY2021
  • Click here to read the State Librarian’s written Budget Support Testimony to Ohio Senate Higher Education Committee for FY2020 – FY2021

State Librarian Reports

Each month the State Librarian prepares and posts reports about the State Library.

2020

2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

State Librarians of Ohio Timeline

  • Wendy Knapp 2020 –
  • Beverly Cain 2010–2020
  • Joanne Budler 2004–2010
  • Michael S. Lucas 1995–2004
  • Richard M. Cheski 1977–1995
  • Joseph F. Shubert 1966–1977
  • Ruth Hess, Acting State Librarian 1963–1966
  • Walter T. Brahm 1942–1963
  • Paul A. T. Noon 1934–1942
  • John H. Newman 1931–1933
  • George E. McCormick 1928–1931
  • Herbert S. Hirshberg 1921–1927
  • John H. Newman 1918–1921
  • Charles B. Galbreath 1915–1918
  • John H. Newman 1911–1915
  • Charles B. Galbreath 1896–1911
  • Joseph P. Smith 1892–1896
  • John C. Tuthill 1890–1892
  • William B. Sibley 1889–1890
  • John M. Doane 1887–1889
  • Francis B. Loomis 1886–1887
  • Hamilton W. Pierson 1885–1886
  • Howard T. Conard 1883–1885
  • Joseph H. Geiger 1881–1883
  • Henry V. Kerr 1879–1881
  • Rodney M. Stimson 1877–1879
  • Hiram H. Robinson 1875–1877
  • Walter C. Hood 1874–1875
  • Samuel G. Harbaugh 1862–1874
  • William T. Coggeshall 1856–1862
  • James W. Taylor 1854–1856
  • Elijah Hayward 1851–1854
  • John B. Greiner 1845–1851
  • Thomas Kennedy 1842–1845
  • Zachariah Mills 1824–1842
  • David S. Brodrick 1820–1823
  • John McElvain 1818–1820
  • John L. Harper 1817–1818

Board Members

Laurie Gemmill Arp Headshot

Laurie Gemmill Arp

Board President

Columbus, OH
Term Ends: 12/31/2023

Laurie has over 20 years of experience working with cultural heritage institutions. As the Director of Collections Services and Community Supported Software, Laurie Gemmill Arp supervises ArchivesSpace and CollectionSpace, two community supported open source collection management software programs housed at LYRASIS. Laurie provides coordination between the organizational homes and the programs and support for activities such as governance, strategic planning and developing partnerships. Laurie also directs the activities related to digitization and preservation including training and consulting services. Previously, she worked for OCLC in positions including Senior Implementation Program Manager and Digital Projects Specialist. For the Ohio Historical Society, she managed several award-winning digital projects and served as the State Archivist. She received her MLIS from UCLA; her MA in European History from UC Irvine; and her BA in History from UC San Diego.

State Library of Ohio Board Member Michael Merz

Michael Merz

Board Vice President

Dayton, OH
Term Ends: 12/31/2020

Judge Michael Merz currently serves as a United States Federal Magistrate Judge and as President of the Dayton Metro Library Foundation.  He has previously served on the Dayton and Montgomery County Public Library Board (1991-2006) serving twice as President of the Board. He also served on the Ohio Library Council Board (1997-99) as a trustee representative. In addition, Judge Merz has enjoyed a distinguished legal career as a graduate of Harvard Law School, including seven years as a Dayton Municipal Court Judge and over 30 years as a United States Magistrate Judge serving the Southern District of Ohio. He has served on many state and national civic boards and committees and is the recipient of numerous awards including most recently being recognized nationally by the American Bar Association with the 2013 Robert B. Yegge Award for Outstanding Contribution to the field of Judicial Administration.

Janet Carleton

Janet Carleton

Athens, OH
Term Ends: 12/31/2024

Janet has been the Digital Initiatives Coordinator for Ohio University Libraries since 2005. She has 24 years of library experience, including more than 20 years at Ohio University Libraries, and extensive knowledge of librarianship in special collections and digitization. She is responsible for digitization, digital preservation, and social media promotion of the Libraries’ unique resources. Her career at Ohio University Libraries began in 1998 at the Mahn Center for Archives & Special Collections as a Scripps Project Reformatting Archivist and continued in 2000 as Digital Projects Librarian. Janet is an active member of state, regional, and national library, preservation, archives, and digitization associations, boards, task forces, commissions, and user’s groups. Her professional leadership includes chair or co-chair of committees for Society of American Archivists, Midwest Archives Conference, Society of Ohio Archivists, and Academic Library Association of Ohio, and chair of the Ohio Historical Records Advisory Board.

Alan Hall, State Library of Ohio Board Member

Alan Hall

Board member

Steubenville, OH
Term Ends: 12/31/2022

Alan Hall was appointed by the State Board of Education of Ohio to the State Library Board and sworn in on March 21, 2019.

Alan has over 48 years of experience in Ohio’s public libraries. In his first seven years of library service, he worked his way from Page and then Circulation Assistant at Washington County Public Library in Marietta, to earning a Master of Science in Library Science (MSLS) and becoming Director of Delphos Public Library. He retired in March 2019 after spending the next 35 years of his profession as Director of Public Library of Steubenville and Jefferson County. Alan is familiar with the State Library’s programs and services though his experiences serving on State Library committees and work as Director of a library active in the SEO Consortium. He was honored as the 2019 Hall of Fame Librarian by the Ohio Library Council.

Alan is active in his community having served as a board Member of the Retired Senior Volunteer Program and Interpreter and board member at Historic Fort Steuben. He currently serves as a member of the Ohio State University Cooperative Extension Service Advisory Board, member and current President of the Steubenville Historic Landmarks Commission of the City of Steubenville, member and immediate Past-President of the Steubenville Rotary Club, and Clerk of Session at the Two Ridges Presbyterian Church.

Alan Hall earned his MSLS from Case Western Reserve, and a Bachelor of Science in Education from West Virginia University.

Tracy Najera, State Library Board Member

Tracy Najera

Board Member

Columbus, OH
Term Ends: 12/31/2021

Dr. Tracy Nájera was appointed by the Ohio Department of Education to the State Library Board and sworn in on March 16, 2017.

She is the Executive Director of Children’s Defense Fund-Ohio. Prior to that, Tracy was a senior consultant for a national education improvement consultancy partnering with states, foundation and other organizations to improve educational outcomes for students – particular those of color and low income. Her nearly 20 year career has focused on improving policies, systems, and structures to support educational opportunity and equity for all children. She has extensive professional and volunteer experience in communications, budget and finance, public policy, and program implementation and evaluation. She has served on boards and committees in central Ohio and is the recipient of numerous awards and recognitions for her service. A graduate of the Ohio State University, Dr. Nájera earned her MPA from the Glenn College of Public Affairs and her Ph.D. in Education Administration.

A resident of Columbus, she and her husband Israel have two school-aged children and are frequent visitors of their local library.

L to R: Tracy Najera, Board Member; Laurie Gemmill Arp,, Board President; Alan Hall, Board Member; and Michael Merz, Board Vice-President
L to R: Tracy Najera, Board Member; Laurie Gemmill Arp, Board President; Alan Hall, Board Member; and Michael Merz, Board Vice-President. Not pictured: Janet Carleton, Board Member.

History

The State Library of Ohio was established by Governor Thomas Worthington in 1817. In 1824, legislative recognition was made acknowledging the Library as one of the institutions of the State.

In 1844, a law was passed that placed the State Library under the care of a Board of Commissioners consisting of the Governor, the Secretary of State, and the State Librarian.

In the 1840’s and 50’s there was a standing committee on the library in the legislature.

In 1896, the law was changed to establish a Board of Commissioners of three chosen by the Governor to serve a term of two, three, and six years respectively, and then six-year terms thereafter.

In 1921, the law was changed to increase the Board to five members, with four members appointed by the Governor and the Superintendent of Public Instruction serving as the Chairman. The Superintendent of Public Instruction at that time was an elected official. The other members of the Board served eight-year terms overlapping at two-year intervals. This was done as part of the Governmental Reorganization Act of 1921 and effectively made the State Library a division within the Department of Education.

In 1955, the General Assembly enacted the present section of the Ohio Revised Code (3375.01) which sets up the State Library Board as an agency separate and distinct from the State Department of Education. According to a 1967 report, “The Ohio State Library: Present Operations and Future Opportunities,” the Chief Administrative Officer of the Department of Education had been a regular appointee to the Board until the 1955 change in law and in fact was the only member that had not served continuously on the Board since 1955.

About the State Library Board

The State Library is governed by a five member board. The Board members are appointed by the State Board of Education and each member serves a five year term of office. Under the Ohio Revised Code, section 3375.01, the State Library Board is responsible for the State Library of Ohio and a statewide program of development and coordination of library services. Specific powers of the State Library Board include:

  • Maintain the State Library, holding custody of books, periodicals, pamphlets, films, recordings, papers, and other material and equipment.
  • Accept, receive, administer, and expend in accordance with the terms thereof, any moneys, materials, or other aid granted, appropriated, or made available to it for library purposes by the United States, or any of its agents, or by any other source, public or private.
  • Administer such funds as the General Assembly make available to it for the improvement of public library services, interlibrary cooperation, or any other library purposes.
  • Approve, disapprove, or modify resolutions for establishment of county district libraries.
  • Approve, disapprove, or modify resolutions to redefine boundaries resulting from school district consolidations.
  • Amend, define, or adjust the boundaries of library districts submitting applications for changes in their boundaries.
  • Encourage and assist the efforts of libraries and local governments to develop mutual and cooperative solutions to library services problems
  • Recommend to the Governor and to the General Assembly such changes in the law as will strengthen and improve services and operations.
  • Adopt such rules as are necessary for the carrying out of any function imposed by law.

The State Library Board usually meets in the State Library of Ohio Board Room or Conference Room D, 274 East First Avenue. Updated information can be obtained by calling (614) 644–7061.

View  State Library Board Members Past and Present (PDF).

Meeting Agenda

The next meeting of the State Library Board will be December 10, 2020.  A tentative agenda will be available here before the meeting..

Minutes

VIEW MEETING MINUTES

Meeting Schedule

The State Library Board business meetings are located at the State Library of Ohio. Upcoming meeting dates and times are:

  • December 10, 2020
  • January 21, 2021
  • March 18, 2021
  • May 20, 2021