On the road to the Orrville Public Library and Wadsworth Public Library

July 30, 2014

State Librarian Visits- July, Orrville Public Library

Orrville Public Library

State Librarian Visits- July, Wadsworth Public Library

State Librarian Visits- July, Wadsworth Public Library

At the end of July, Tracy Grimm, Manager of Circulation and Special Services, and I traveled to northeast Ohio to visit two neighboring libraries: the Orrville Public Library in Wayne County and the Wadsworth Public Library in Medina County. The communities served by these libraries are located about 13 miles from each other and both are celebrating anniversaries this year. Orrville is celebrating its 150th anniversary and Wadsworth is celebrating its bicentennial.

Orrville Public Library

Our first stop was the Orrville Public Library, where director Daphne Silchuck-Ashcraft led us on a tour of the library and provided us with information about the library’s programs and services. Daphne has been the director of the Orrville Public Library for about a year and has been busy learning about the library and its role in the community and making plans for the future. The 25,000 square foot library was renovated in 2006 and Daphne and her staff are currently making plans to make even better use of the existing space by rearranging collections and seating.

Most Ohioans know that Orrville is the home of Smucker’s and the company certainly has an impact on the town. It is currently having an impact on the library too because a call center employing 100 people has been moved into a building next door to the library. Library staff are working to reach out to the employees to let them know the library provides many services that could benefit them.

The library is also engaging in activities to tie in with Orrville’s 150th Anniversary. Tracy and I participated in one of these activities during our visit by posing for a WE READ poster. The library is striving to create 150 of these posters featuring library patrons and their favorite children’s books. Famed basketball coach, Bobby Knight, hails from Orrville and volunteered to pose for the library’s first WE READ poster.

The library was filled with children at the time of our visit. The library has a partnership with the local YMCA and children from the Y visit the library on a regular basis for programs and storytimes. While we were there, several older children/teens were reading to younger children in several areas of the library.

After our tour of the library, we walked next door to have lunch at the Heartland Point Café, part of the Heartland Education Community, Inc., which has the mission of creating a community-based learning environment relevant and accessible to all Orville area residents of every age and cultural background.

Wadsworth Public Library

We then made our way to the Wadsworth Public Library to meet with library director, Daniel Slife. We were barely able to make it into the front lobby due to the long line of children and parents who were arriving to take part in the library’s Ice Cream Social, being held to celebrate the end of the Summer Reading Program. We learned that 215 children and adults participated in the program.

Before taking a tour of the library, we had the opportunity to talk with Daniel and WPL Board President Amy Lyon-Galvin about some of the projects and activities currently taking place at the library. At the time of our visit, Daniel had been director of the library for less than a year and had spent much of his time learning about the library and the Wadsworth Community. He and the Board were beginning the process of developing a new strategic plan to guide the library through the next few years. They’re being assisted in this process by Ken Warren, former director of the Lakewood Public Library,

They reported to us that a real focal point of the library is service to children. The library has experienced a great deal of growth in children’s programming and set a record for participation in the Summer Reading Program this year with 1700 children participating. They hope to develop more programs and services focused on early literacy to assist children with reading and school readiness. They would also like to make the library experience more interactive for all children.

One of the first things Daniel did upon arriving at the Wadsworth Public Library was to create a New Book browsing area. Making the new books more visible and accessible helped increase circulation by 3% in just a short time.

The Wadsworth Public Library was renovated in 2003 and today, it is bursting at the seams. Daniel and his staff have been working hard to reorganize many areas to improve workflow and efficiency and also to increase public space. They are continuing to seek ways to maximize the space they have available to them by using it more creatively. They are also working to develop a collaborative technology center. The library’s foundation has raised about $250,000 for this project.

Tracy and I had a wonderful time visiting these two very busy libraries and having the opportunity to meet the directors, board members, and staff who work hard to provide the best possible library service to their communities.