Thursday, March 23, 2017

History of the Medina Library

Library Timeline - Medina County has a long and proud library tradition.
Miss Eva Johnson
an early librarian
  • 1878 A Medina Circulating Library Association was formed. Members paid dues and then were able to check out books.
  • 1885 The Librarian (who was also the treasurer) was paid $20 a year.
  • 1890 Mr. W. H. Albro provided a reading room rent free to be used as the library.
  • 1899 the Officers of the Association vote to incorporate 
  • 1899 the Medina Library Association incorporates
  • 1899 A small building on the north side of the square is bought to house the library
  • 1900 the Library moves to a room rented from Judge Barnard in the Barnard Block
  • Librarian, Miss Eva Johnson reports an average of 27 visitors a day. 
  • 1903 Purchased the mortgage on Brown Studio property.
  • 1904 Librarian’s salary increased to $3 a week and the library is to be open 1:30-5 p.m.
  • 1904 Franklin Sylvester proposes to give $10,000 for a public library building and asks the trustees to make it free public library.

    Franklin Sylvester benefactor to
    the Medina Library.
  • 1904 Board of Cemetery Trustees gives $5,000 to the Medina Village Council for the purchase of a lot on which to build a library. 
  • 1905 A lot on the southeast corner of the square is purchased. The Deibel house is moved to its new location on North Broadway.  

    An early architectural drawing of the Medina Library
  • 1906 Franklin Sylvester gives another $1000 to the construction of the building.

  • The adult reading room at the Medina Library circa 1915
  • 1907 Franklin Sylvester died in May, never seeing the completed building.

  • 1907 Dedication of the new library held on August 30, 1907
  • 1908 Property of the old Medina Library Association is transferred to the Franklin Sylvester Library  

    The finished library in 1908
  • 1925 The first professional librarian, Miss Irene Hess, was hired.
  • 1928 Arrowhead collection is put on display by the Medina Historical Society
  • 1933 Became a county wide (excluding Wadsworth because it already had a library) library and extended borrowing privileges to all of Medina County Residents. 
  • 1934 Summer Reading program for children initiated  
    1948 Summer Reading Club in front of the Medina Library.
  • 1935 Children are allowed to take out books overnight
  • 1942 Victory book campaign collects over 2,030 books for service men.  
  • 1942 Mrs. Elsie Bennett Wilson was elected president of the Ohio Library Trustees Association 
  • 1945 Due to gasoline rationing, tire conservation and wartime restrictions on travel, the library offers to mail books to patrons
  • 1948 Bookmobile was purchased.  
Bookmobile from the 1940's
  • 1960 Lodi Community Library opened in the Lodi Advertiser’s office
  • 1961 Brunswick Community Library opened
  • 1961 Seville Community Library opened, built with local donations by local hands
  • 1965 Hinckley Community Library opened in the town hall
  • 1965 Brunswick Library moves to the Brunswick Shopping Center
  • 1965 Lodi library moved into the American Legion Building 
  • 1972 a 5 year building levy was passed to expand the Franklin Sylvester Library
  • 1974 Hinckley Library moves into the old Stouffer house on Route 303
  • 1976 the Elsie Bennett Wilson addition is opened, doubling the size of the library. She was on the State Library Board of Trustees. 
    Elsie Bennett Wilson - Medina Library
    Board of Trustees
  • 1977 The Lodi Library moves into old Funeral Home on Wooster St.
  • 1980 Brunswick Library moves into new facility on Center Road by the Brunswick High School.
  • 1982 the library system voted to change from a school district to a county system and became the Medina County District Library January 25 1982.
  • 1982 Bookmobile service was suspended when last bookmobile became inoperable.
  • 1983 Hinckley Township Trustees buy the Stouffer building from SOHIO for $45,000 (location of the Hinckley Library.)
  • 1985 Seville Library receives trust from Irene Welday to make an addition.
  • 1987 The first operating levy passes allowing for the operating expenses and the purchase of a new bookmobile. More staff was hired and hours are expanded.
  • 1989 Medina County District Library joined the ClevNet consortium and computerized its holdings
  • 1990 the Law & Commerce (Nichols) Building behind the library is purchased allowing the administrative staff to move into that space
  • 1991 Bookmobile service reinstated.
  • 1992 a second operating levy passes allowing for expansion of library hours and services
  • 1996 Internet access is offered to patrons and the Library web site debuted
  • 1997 10 year operating levy renewed
  • 1998 Medina County District Library wins the Library of the Year Award
    Library Journal 15 June 1998
  • 2003 Mrs. Evelyn Steingass Riggs donates 5.4 acres near the Buckeye High School to the library
  • 2003 building levy was passed in November allowing for expansion of the Medina & Brunswick Branches, whole new Lodi and Hinckley/Highland branches and a brand new branch near the Buckeye school system (thanks to the donation of the land) 
  • 2004 The Lodi and Buckeye branches break ground April 20.
  • 2005 New, larger bookmobile hits the road in September.
  • 2005 The new Buckeye Library opens
  • 2006 The new Lodi Library opens
  • 2007 Renovated Brunswick and Seville Libraries re-open
  • 2007 100th Anniversary of the Medina Franklin Sylvester Library
  • 2007 10 year operating levy renewed.
  • 2008 January 12, the expanded and renovated Medina Library reopened. 
  • 2008 - The new Highland Library opened in March.
  • 2009 - State of Ohio reduced funding to all public libraries in Ohio. MCDL instituted layoffs and cutbacks in hours and services to accommodate the reduction in funding. Fees were instituted for ILL and genealogy requests. Free copies from the computers were reduced from 10 per day to 5.
  • 2009 - MCDL started offering ebooks.
  • 2010-2016 - Over the next several years, some of the state funding was restored, allowing for restoration of hours and some services. 
  • 2017 - Today the library offers many types of emedia: ebooks, e-audio books, magazines, music, and movies accounting for nearly 15% of materials checked-out.

  • Miss Merva Andrews -1891
  • Eva Johnson 1891-1925
  • Irene Hess 1925-1926
  • Kathryn Wilder 1926-1928
  • Edna Eckert 1928-1930
  • Elizabeth Urch (Kraver) 1930-1935
  • Eleanor Brandt 1935 -1943
  • Elizabeth Kraver 1943-1946
  • Cicely Hinton 1946
  • Acting Librarian - Olive Meyer 1946-1947
  • Celeste Whitwell 1947
  • Virginia Wood 1948-1952
  • Elizabeth Kraver 1953-1974
  • Ron Tollafield 1974-1985 (Last who served as director and also worked as a librarian with the public.) (Anne Mathews, Librarian retired 1981 (Deb Ludwig hired, she left in 1989))
  • Bob Smith 1985-1998 (First to be hired as Director only)
  • Interim Director- Mike Harris 1999
  • Barbara Webb 1999-2002
  • Interim Director– Christine Gramm 2002
  • Mike Harris 2002-2007
  • Carole Kowell 2008-20??


Laurie Wolfe said...

I remember the Franklin Sylvester Library fondly, but I had never read a history of the library. Thanks for sharing this.

Wendy said...

Fascinating! I especially like the fact about Children being allowed to take books out overnight for the first time in 1935! I just assumed that would've always been the case.

Kat said...

Yes, Wendy! I was surprised at that also!