Akron-Summit County Public Library

April 24, 2015

State Library Board at Akron-Summit County Public Library

The State Library Board held its annual retreat at the Akron-Summit County Public Library (ASCPL) on April 16-17, 2015.

The retreat provided the Board with the opportunity to learn about the programs and services being offered by the ASCPL, hear about emerging technology applications in public libraries, gain awareness of a new service NEO-RLS is offering to assist librarians with developing public speaking and advocacy skills, and hear how an LSTA grant was used to help expand services to Amish populations in a rural county.

ASCPL Director David Jennings welcomed State Library Board members and staff and later provided at tour of the Main Library. The Main Library is located in downtown Akron and is the anchor of a library system that includes 17 branches and a Mobile Services Department. The Main Library underwent a $57.6 million renovation and expansion project that was completed in 2004. The expansion nearly doubled the size of the Main Library, which now encompasses 270,000 square feet. The entrance to the Children’s Room was featured on the cover of the December 2005 issue of Library Journal, which referred to the renovation of the Main Library as, “the jim-dandiest addition/renovation.”

One highlight of our tour of the Main Library was Special Collections, where librarian Judy James shared information about some of the unique items in the collection. Special Collections houses the library’s genealogy and local history materials, including information about the history of the rubber industry, early aviation in Akron, the Soap Box Derby, and much, much more.

The Main Library has a number of wonderful features including a 425-seat auditorium that is used for a large number of library and community events, a Friends of the Library bookstore, public meeting rooms and art exhibition spaces featuring art and photography by local artists including Don Drumm, Sr. Evangeline Doyle, Leroy Flint, and Mary Ellen McDermott. An interior glass block walkway leads to a 600-space parking garage owned by the City of Akron. The glass block walkway allows natural light to flow throughout the building, providing very open, airy, well-lighted space. The Children’s Room has a colorful marmoleum floor featuring a blimp, just one of the many ways the Library acknowledges the important role airships played in Akron’s history.

Many thanks to David Jennings and his staff for accommodating our visit. Our meetings were very productive and enjoyable and the setting was just first-rate.

Visit our Flickr gallery for descriptions of these photos from the State Library Board annual retreat at the Akron-Summit County Public Library (ASCPL) on April 16-17, 2015.