The 125-year history of the Wayne County Public Library

The 125-year history of the Wayne County Public Library

WOOSTER − At 125, the Wayne County Public Library is among the county’s oldest establishments, and whereas books are nonetheless central to its mission, it is greater than phrases on paper that maintain it alive and thriving.

From instructional applications to playtime, audiobooks and cooking pots and pans, it has advanced to fulfill the wants of a contemporary age, mentioned Jennifer Shatzer, director of the library system.

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“We’re a library of issues,” Shatzer mentioned. “In the event you want tech assist, Wi-Fi, video video games, 3D printers, or cake pans, we have you lined.”

Shatzer is now in search of orange cones to lend to learner drivers.

In almost three a long time with the library, Shatzer sees the establishment as an evolution Public Service which inserts the instances. Coupled with neighborhood assist, she says, that is the way it has lasted a century and 1 / 4.

“I am so proud to be part of this group and its historical past,” Shatzer mentioned. “I believe we nonetheless have 125 in us.”

The Wayne County Public Library immediately

In the present day’s facility is nicely utilized by younger and outdated, because the numbers offered by the library point out.

  • Between 1,100 and 1,200 individuals go to the seven branches day by day.
  • Almost 44,600 registered debtors have been recognized on the finish of 2021. Amongst them, 9,437 have been minors.
  • In 2021, 871,833 articles for adults and 619,887 articles for youngsters have been verified.
  • There are 397,519 objects within the WCPL assortment. CLEVNET has almost 12 million articles.
  • The library employs 104 individuals in seven branches, two bookmobiles and the operations heart.
  • Its 2022 funds is $6.4 million.
  • An area levy gives 42% of the library system’s income. The Ohio State Public Library Fund gives 56% whereas 2% comes from curiosity earnings, charges and donations.
  • Its mission: “To supply an atmosphere that enriches lives and fosters a powerful neighborhood by offering lifelong studying alternatives.”

A troubled begin

The Wayne County Public Library turns 125 this yr and its roots return to origins unknown.

“The precise date of its founding is unknown,” Shatzer mentioned. “There was a library affiliation earlier than 1857, however we do not know a lot about it.”

The muse of what would develop into the Wayne County Public Library was laid at a schoolhouse on March 7, 1857, in accordance with a library historical past offered by Shatzer.

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Known as the Wooster Library Affiliation, it saved historical past and reference books within the regulation workplaces of a Liberty Road legal professional.

Though the library affiliation, and others, didn’t final, it was a stepping stone to the institution of the Wayne County Public Library.

One other library opened in 1882, referred to as the Folks’s Library Affiliation, with 100 volumes and 100 members. Little is understood concerning the library besides that it grew to 115 titles and 175 individuals in 1883.

Then, in 1895, the Girls’s Christian Affiliation established a studying room to “maintain kids off the streets at night time,” in accordance with the library’s historical past. From magazines to books to prayers, the place attracted almost 175 debtors and housed 600 books.

The next yr it remodeled right into a full-fledged public library lending books. Regardless of its success, it lacked public assist because it appealed for cash.

In 1897, residents of Wooster wished an alternative choice to the WCA, so that they based the Wooster Free Library Affiliation, later to be referred to as the Wayne County Public Library.

The Wooster Free Library Affiliation

Underneath this new library, anybody might develop into a member by signing the library’s structure and paying $1 and the annual charge of $1.

Bertha Ellsperman was quickly employed as the primary librarian with a weekly wage of $3, in accordance with Library Historical past.

With the lengthy hours of 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. and midday to eight p.m., the library was understaffed. Ellsperman might solely work afternoons and evenings.

To cowl the morning hours, the library partnered with the Girls’s Christian Affiliation to run the studying room and different librarian duties earlier than Ellsperman arrived at midday.

This association lasted for a couple of months till the morning hours have been interrupted, leaving the librarian in sole management of the operation.

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4 years after she grew to become librarian, the board fired Ellsperman as a result of they believed that “for the very best future progress and correct improvement of the library a change was fascinating”.

His successor was Performing Librarian Elizabeth McBride who was changed by Librarian Delta Cube.

Over the following few a long time, the library moved to the northwest nook of Market and Larwill Streets and expanded its guide assortment and presence in native faculties.

Creation of a departmental public library

When Katherine Schantz grew to become a librarian in 1956, she had almost 5 a long time and her many predecessors to construct on.

Each librarian earlier than her has made adjustments, together with cellular guide vans, film service, and growth into close by communities, however Schantz would oversee probably the most sweeping change.

Two years after taking over the position, Associates of Rittman and Associates of Doylestown petitioned the board to show the Wooster-focused library right into a county district library.

Trustees objected to the transfer, saying it was “reckless,” in accordance with the library’s story.

The next months noticed the outbreak of public debate controversy reaching beyond county lines. Then “threats of a movement to be positioned on the” November poll started circulating.

As publicity and the specter of a public vote intensified, directors seized a number of endless debates earlier than signing a decision on November 18, 1959, altering the authorized standing of the library to a countywide establishment.

On January 1, 1960, when the authorized statute went into impact, the Wayne County Public Library was born.

This formalizes what already existed on the bottom. The Wooster Library oversaw and offered books to the libraries in Shreve, Creston, Rittman, and Doylestown for many years, however residents of these communities had no voice on the Wooster board.

The modified authorized standing meant that these residents might symbolize their neighborhood on the council. It marked the primary really countywide library system in Wayne County.

From the 60s to immediately

The subsequent three a long time noticed the library develop quickly. A brand new library constructing opened in Wooster in 1967, the Shreve department opened in 1973, and a location in Doylestown opened in 1977.

Within the late Eighties and early Nineties Dalton and Creston opened new libraries.

Phonographs, artwork prints, videotapes and toys have been added to the Wayne County Public Library’s ever-growing assortment of paperwork and historical past. This assortment grew to become so massive that the Wooster Constructing was renovated with federal funds in 1984.

The next yr, WCPL joined CLEVNET, a regional library system owned and operated by the Cleveland Public Library.

Shatzer joined the Wayne County Public Library within the mid-90s, simply as computer systems have been starting to be launched.

“I bear in mind when terminals have been simply catalogs; there was no phrase processing at first,” Shatzer mentioned. “Then, once we had the primary computer systems, we needed to invent the principles of use.”

As expertise has taken over a lot of day by day life, she mentioned individuals are simply as concerned with books as they have been 125 years in the past.

“It is simply the best way individuals learn books,” Shatzer mentioned. “Folks hearken to audiobooks, learn them on their telephones and computer systems and there are podcasts. Youngsters at all times come to the library and browse for enjoyable or training.”

Rejoice with the authors

The 125-year-old Wayne County Public Library celebrates its founding anniversary this yr with the week Birthday Author Series.

It options writers whose works vary from journey and non-fiction to thriller and youngsters’s tales.

“We could not have accomplished this with out the assistance of the Buckeye E book Membership, who’re co-sponsoring the occasion,” Shatzer mentioned. “We wished to present again to the neighborhood and do one thing particular.”

With 12 authors, the collection started on October 26 and can proceed till Thursday, November 3. To register without cost conferences, go to the library website.

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