Columbiana Public Library is one of the seven independent public libraries in Columbiana County. The library is designated as a School District Library which means that our service area is determined by the school district and our Board of Trustees is appointed by the Board of Education, which also serves as our taxing authority.
Library service began in 1933 when a PTA committee received an allotment of books from the State Library of Ohio. Village Council agreed to all use of a city-owned building on West Friend Street for a public library. On August 11, the first library materials were circulated from that building with Mrs. Helen Maurer, the first librarian.
In 1935, after passage of the Ohio Intangibles Tax Law, the local Board of Education made a resolution to establish a public library. This enabled the local library to share in the intangibles tax funding as a school district library. Mrs. Jean Weaver, PTA committee member, was hired as Library Director and seven Trustees were appointed.
In 1937, with assistance of the Public Works Administration, and a design from Architect Frank Smith, construction was begun at 111 South Elm Street. On September 9, 1939, the library was officially opened. An addition was added to the building in 1962 to bring the total of usable space 4,400 square feet. The Children’s Department was expanded in the basement of the building in 1950.
When the funding source was changed from the Intangibles Tax to the Library and Local Government Support Fund in 1986, the additional funds enabled the Board of Trustees to expand the building fund. The present site was purchased in March of 1986. Two attempts to pass a bond issue in 1985 and 1986 were not successful. On May 8, 1990 a 1.1. million, ten year bond issue was approved by the voters. This amount, along with the already existing fund of $500,000, provided the means to build the new library at 332 North Middle Street. Additional property to the east of the site was purchased from the estate of Clara Reeves in April of 1991.
The new building was designed by John Richman of Smith and Associates, Inc. It had a square footage of 11,970. The Groundbreaking Ceremony was held October 28, 1990. The Grand Opening of the new building was celebrated on August 25, 1991.
As technology changed the world, it was also no stranger to the world of libraries. The library’s first automation system was Gaylord’s Galaxy. The public access computer, circulation, and cataloging systems were purchased and changed many of the library’s operating procedures. Automation systems continue to expand their capabilities and patrons can now search the catalog, renew materials, and place reserves through the Internet.
The Ohio Public Library Information Network (OPLIN) was established to maintain network connection between Ohio’s 250 public library systems, provide access to electronic reference and information resources, and support for public library users. By December 1996, OPLIN was available for public use.
The library continues to grow in collection size and number of patrons served. With the growth in the book collection, audio cassettes, compact disks, videos, DVDs, CDs, and computer, the trustees decided it was time to expand the present facilities. A million-dollar bond issue was passed in May 2001. Tom Ziska of Tom Ziska Architects and Associates was chosen to design the additional areas we needed.
Parking was a high priority and the library was able to purchase four lots on West Salem Street across the alley to add additional parking spaces. The Capital Projects Fund made this possible through the monies saved over the past ten years.
The library construction began in October 2002 and completed in September 2003. Additions to the adult department, children’s department, and community room increased our floor space by 5,785 square feet. Highlighting the children’s department is a story time tree, shadow boxes for the children to curl up in and read, and an aquarium. The young adult area had booths and a media bar added. A computer room was added for public computer use and classes. The refurbished mantelpiece from the library on Elm Street is located above the new fireplace that is the focal point of the adult reading area and a cafe is located near the newspapers and books on CD.