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2006 State Librarian Visits

Former State Librarian Jo Budler visited the following libraries in 2006.


Guernsey County District Public Libraries Crossroads Branch Library

Caldwell Public Library

Trumbull County Library Visits

Huron County Library Visits


Shaker Heights Public Library

Mansfield/Richland County Public Library and Marvin Memorial (Shelby) Library Visits


Darke County Library


Huron Public Library and Ida Rupp Library


Ashtabula County Libraries

Cleveland Heights-University Heights Library

Dayton Metro Library Miami Township Branch


Fulton County Libraries


Public Library Association in Boston - March 22-25, 2006

I attended Public Library Association in Boston, March 22nd through March 25th. Sessions were interesting, like “How to make sure meetings were effective.” But the best part is always the networking that takes place.

Here I am, pre-conference, with the ducklings from Ohio children’s author, Robert McCloskey’s Make Way for Ducklings. (Imagine this: many Bostonians did not realize that Mr. McCloskey was actually an Ohioan by birth!)

Jo and ducks

Guernsey County District Public Libraries Crossroads Branch Library - June 1, 2006

It was quite a thrill to get a tour of this facility before it was officially open to the public. The openness and warm colors make this a very inviting library – one I am sure that the library community will embrace enthusiastically.   

Thank you to Guernsey County District Library Director Carla Hutchins for allowing us to have a “preview.”



Caldwell Public Library - June 4, 2006

The open and bright children’s area is not the only change I noticed at the Caldwell Public Library when I attended their open house on Sunday, June 4, 2006. Library Director Pat Danford and her staff have moved stacks, added signage, opened up the entry area and added new color – this all adds up to a brand new look that was commented upon proudly by the library community in attendance at the open house.



Trumbull County Library Visits - June 14 - 15, 2006

Kinsman Public Library

This community clearly understands the value of moving forward without forgetting the importance or losing the beauty of the past.  When one walks in the front door of the library, one steps into a bright welcoming space where the front of the Carnegie building has been preserved, complete with light posts. 

The additions to this library have been done in such a way that the building flows forth. The past, present and future intermingle effortlessly and it is clear that the community members love this library. 

I was fortunate to arrive shortly after story time and many of the 60 attendees were still checking out books. I met a young man who told me all about his pet rock (his mother confided that he had built a jet plane out of Legos for this "pet"). Another young man was certainly a baseball fan. His shirt proclaimed this as did the armload of books he was carrying. I enjoyed conversing with him, even after hearing that we didn't share a favorite team -- in fact, he hated the Yankees!

A big thank you goes to Cheryl Bugnone for allowing me to participate in some of the fun during my visit. Cheryl, I think you just might be right when you say you have the best job in the world!

McKinley Memorial Library

When I walked up to this library, I found it difficult to leave the courtyard with its Greek columns, statues and busts. The crowning touch was the flower bed where the name of our state was "written" in red begonias. 

Here, again, I was lucky to be able to watch some of the summer program activities in the spacious auditorium. So nice to see the kids enjoying themselves!

I always enjoy browsing through the stacks -- so hard to resist not taking down the books -- and I especially liked being in the stacks of McKinley Memorial Library where the glass floors reminded me of my times in the library at Syracuse University.   

My thanks go to Patrick Finan for the tour of this facility and the museum of the Presdent McKinley's childhood home. 

Warren-Trumbull County Library

I am so impressed with the versatility of the libraries in Trumbull County. I know how hard it is to meet the varied needs of a community, but Bob Briel and his staff certainly seem to have done so with the offerings they have for their library users. 

Once again, I found it hard not to linger longer than the time allotted! 

I could not help but to eavesdrop at the circulation desk where the children's librarian was opening up the prize drawer for one of the summer reading participants. She took her time in choosing her prize but left proudly with her book in hand -- quite anxious, then, to leave to begin her read.  

And congratulations to all on the passage of the mill levy and the subsequent acquisiton of the new bookmobile! 

Girard Public Library

I enjoyed my visit with Rose Anne Lubert and her staff at the Girard Public Library before I attended the meeting of the Trumbull County librarians. This library is one of those buildings that is beautiful from the outside but truly surprises one when one walks through.  It is quite spacious and so bright and cheerful. 

Again, it is clear that this library is well-loved by its community -- even though it was early in the morning, there were already many customers. Rose Anne told me that each year there is a fundraising event which entails dinner in the stacks. This is such a popular event that she has to turn folks away! 

I want to give a big thank you to Rose Anne and her staff for their hospitality and their enthusiasm.

Hubbard Public Library

The Hubbard Public Library was brimming with activity in all departments -- computers were nearly all occupied, when we arrived a reading group was waiting to be admitted to the library's beautiful meeting room, children were signing up to participate in the Summer reading program, and the stacks were full of people browsing. 

This library is certainly a meeting place for its community. Library customers are very active participants here as was evident even at the circulation desk. Here the staff has a full wall display that they change periodically. The display they put up for Memorial Day included memorabilia from community members. The display kept growing until they were unable to add anything more. 

Thank you to Lorraine Atwood  and her staff for allowing me to get a glimpse into their community and the library service they provide.   


Huron County Library Visits - June 28 - 29, 2006

Monroeville Library

Here library consultant Jan Haines and I were greeted by Director Janet Santana, Board Members, and Friend of the Library Barbara Landon. Janet told us Wednesdays are quiet, but we saw a steady stream of users. I could see that the Summer Reading Program (replete with very cool prizes) makes the library a very popular place.

Janet told me of one young girl who has not been doing well in school and who “just didn’t want to read.” Mom brought her into the library and while Mom checked out material, the girl checked out the summer reading prizes. She left with an armload of books, intent on reading them in order to enter the competition for prizes. Gotta give ‘em incentives!

Way to go, Janet and staff, and thanks for the visit.

Bellevue Public Library

The second visit of the day was to Bellevue Public Library. Here, Jan Haines and I met with Molly Carver for a tour of the library and to meet with the staff. Once again I was impressed with the light and the spaciousness of the library building – how welcoming our libraries are!

The summer reading program is in full swing. While we were there, the “Butterfly Man” came to do a program for the kids. It goes without saying that a good time was had by all!

I love the reading programs I have come across at various libraries: here the teens volunteer as “book buddies” to listen to younger children read.

I had lunch with Molly and library directors Mary Anne Culbertson (Birchard Public Library) and Vicki Balemian (Clyde Public Library). State Library Board member David Miller joined us. Good food and great ideas were abundant including ways to facilitate communication between the State Library and public library directors and the suggestion of a conference to allow librarians to help the State Library chart a course for the future.

Norwalk Public Library

Norwalk Public Library, where I first met with Assistant Director Sarah Conteras, staff members and trustees, gave me an opportunity not only to tour the library but also to answer some questions from the staff and trustees about services of the State Library. Fortunately Director Martin Haffey (who had been in Columbus to attend a workshop at OSU) joined us midway into the question and answer session.

One does not want to miss a beautiful painting by Charles Courtney Curran entitled, "Portrait of Frank Edward Cripps" when visiting this library.

Outstanding partnerships: This library has an excellent partnership with the Firelands Historical Society and with Fisher Titus Memorial Hospital (who makes a 150 seat classroom and videoconference center available for use by the Norwalk Public Library and neighboring public libraries). This conference center came in handy when viewing Lynda Murray’s videoconferences on the TEL amendment and library funding issues.

Thanks to Martin, Sarah and staff for giving so much time to our visit. It was a pleasure to be with you and to see your facility and your community. Special thanks also goes to Wendy Harper, newly appointed director of Milan Public Library for joining us for dinner. Congratulations and best of luck in your new position!

Seneca East Public Library

First stop of the day was Seneca East Public Library in Attica. Director Vicki Eckenrod showed off her beautiful library which is connected to the historical society. We enjoyed a private tour of the historical collection. I had too many favorites to mention them all, but must mention the quilt with the presidential campaign flyers worked into it.

One would never guess that this library has been added onto by expanding into the building next door. The floor plan flows so nicely and again it is so sunny and open. The children’s area always is a draw for me – and this library has certainly created a welcoming place for its children and their parents.

The book displays always tempt me and as always, I left with a list of “must reads.”

Thanks to Vicki and her staff for the tour, the wonderful visit, and especially for sharing the scrapbooks of pictures of the library fire. It was hard to look at the pictures of all the books spread out on tables, drying, after the fire but what a wonderful story: the library community members volunteered to turn the books several times a day to ensure that they dried out properly. (And thanks for telling me about the Oakridge Festival – you can bet you will see me there!)

Willard Memorial Library

I must first thank Cinda Bretz Wallace for arranging for my two days’ visit. This was a wonderful learning experience for me and I appreciate all the work that went into making the arrangements.

Here, I toured the newly renovated library and met with staff. As at other libraries across the state, I found this library to be a vital place where community members want to be. Our tour took us into the children’s department where, again, summer reading is in full swing. Here the librarians had a variety of pets waiting to be discovered as well as a fundraising giraffe, a large cage with life-sized stuffed animals, and a barn where one can “read till the cows come home.”

I enjoyed the lunch in a near-by church with community members and staff. I always enjoy talking about libraries, what they mean to the vitality of a community, and how we can keep them well staffed and well funded. It was especially nice to see confirmation of my words right before my eyes – a well-supported, well-used library being well-loved by its community!






New London Public Library

It was so nice to meet with Toni Whitney, Director of New London Public Library. What a perfect way to end this series of visits.

This library is right on Main Street, in its proper place of prominence. Across the street is a very impressive-looking home which Toni informed me was the New London hospital at one time.

The computers in the New London Public Library were in constant use while I was there, and there were plenty of people milling about, browsing through the stacks and checking out material. Toni is to be congratulated for her flexibility and dedication: her staff tells me that when the library was flooded the week before my visit, it was Toni who did the bulk of the cleanup and drying out of the children’s department.


Shaker Heights Public Library Visit - July 11, 2006

When Missy Lodge and I entered the Shaker Heights Public Library, we were immediately greeted by a volunteer who directed us to the Information Desk (I think it was because we were gaping at the open space, remarking on the welcoming feeling of the place -- and we may have appeared lost!).   While we waited for our tour to begin, we visited the new book area where I found two more titles to add to my ever-growing list of “must-reads.”  We were not alone in browsing the collection – once again we saw evidence of how well-used our public libraries are in Ohio. 

The children’s area was a-buzz with activity – and we found ourselves in the good company of kids of all ages and all sorts of underground critters – even bats were hanging from the cave entrance to this area. 

I was pleased to learn that Playaway books were in the process of being added to the collection of the Shaker Heights Library.  At my talk later to the Friends of the Library, I was to mention these books when I talked about what Benjamin Franklin would think of today’s library services (and how different these services are from those offered by The Library Company which he founded in 1731).    

Thanks to Director Luren Dickenson and Deputy Director Ike Pulver for giving us a tour, introducing us to your staff, and allowing me to participate in your Friends’ program. 


Mansfield/Richland County Public Library and Marvin Memorial (Shelby) Library Visits - July 18, 2006

Mansfield/Richland County Public Library

Our tour of the Mansfield/Richland County Public Library began in the communications department.  This team of five produces all of the library’s promotion and marketing material including a newsletter, radio spots, and a variety of print materials.  Very impressive!

Other highlights of our visit include:

The John Sherman Room which houses a local history collection.   Here we also saw the megalethoscope.  If you ever visit this room, you must ask to see this!  It is quite rare and I understand that the officials at the Smithsonian in D.C. want to lay claim to it.  (Don’t give it up!  It is just too wonderful!)

A friendly welcoming children’s area (complete with a rainforest)

The Richland County’s Information and Referral Service, a shared library and ODJFS service which is housed at the library.   

Our thanks go to Director Joe Palmer and Deputy Director Gayle Patton for showing us the library and introducing us to the staff who truly love their jobs at a library of which they are very proud. 

Marvin Memorial Library (Shelby)

First a special thank you to the Mayor, staff and trustees of the Marvin Memorial Library for a wonderful reception.  Rebecca Felkner, consultant here at the State Library, attended this with me and she is still raving about how tasty the punch was.  Don’t be surprised if she asks for the recipe!

More than 650 kids signed up and participated in the Summer Reading Program.  That is fantastic!  And congratulations to Director Ann Bavin.  She tells me that because of the summer reading program, 2 more J titles circulated than did DVDs in the last month.

Darke County Library Visits - August 30-31, 2006

New Madison Public Library

What a beautiful, airy library – with friendly customer service oriented staff. This is exactly what every library user wants. New Madison not only has an inviting atmosphere but also offers many periodical titles one doesn’t often find in a library.

The puppet collection is irresistible (see Missy caught red-handed playing with one of them!)

We also took a walking tour of the city and found the former sites of the New Madison Library as well as the Tri-Community Schools.

New Madison plans to join SEO – and I am certain will be a welcome addition to that consortium.

Special thank you goes to Ann Riegle-Coursey, Director of New Madison Public Library for organizing the visits to the libraries in Darke County as well as arranging for our stay at the Inn at Versailles and a sumptuous dinner there with library directors, trustees and spouses.

Bradford Public Library

We had a wonderful visit with Bradford Public Library Director Norma Petkus and trustee Judith Bardo. We also met with a newspaper reporter who interview all of us (and Ann Riegle-Coursey) and the article – complete with pictures – made front page news in the Piqua Daily Call.

Every library I visit catches me up in the services it offers to its residents. Included in the Bradford Public Library:
Here we found ourselves mesmerized by the software available on the children’s computers.
The collection of Christian Fiction has outgrown its current shelving but is in such a familiar and popular location, director Norma is reluctant to move it to more adequate shelving.
This Historical Collection is quite extensive in this library (see accompanying picture!).
Norma is considering purchasing quilt displays so that she can properly show off the many quilts donated or lent to her library.

Congratulations to Norma on her first year anniversary.  I am certain that her energy and enthusiasm will serve her, her staff and her community well in the upcoming years.

Worch Memorial Public Library

Next stop: Worch Memorial Public Library where Missy and I were greeted by Director Gail Benesh. Here is another gorgeous building which has windows everywhere. Gail told us that when it snows, it is a lot like being in a snow globe. Standing with her at the circulation desk, I could well imagine!

This library is close to a Health Care Home and a retirement village so folks can easily walk over and attend library programs. The walk is lined with lovely garden beds which were donated to the library by the city garden club members. I have never seen so many beautiful butterfly bushes.

I love the names that Gail has for her young people's reading programs: Wee Read (for the youngest who are usually sitting in a lap), Storytime (for the toddlers and preschoolers), and, my personal favorite, the Mighty Readers (grades 2-4). Mighty readers even have their own pledge:

I will do my best to read each day
And to always be a good library citizen.

Perfect! Thank you, Gail, for the extensive tour and the introductions to your staff.

Arcanum Public Library

Our first stop on Thursday, August 31st was Arcanum Public Library. As we turned the corner onto North Street, I saw a very large, brick home to our right and said to Missy, "Look at that beautiful building there." We both saw the sign in front of it at the same time: Arcanum Public Library.

This home was built in the late 1700's and was donated to the Library in 1963. Here you will find a period room furnished as it may have been when the house was built.

It appears that the Public Library has always been involved in partnerships. In the late 50's the Arcanum Public Library shared space with the city's museum. This is quite forward-thinking as now we are finding ourselves looking at the similarities between museums and libraries and building those partnerships anew.

Director Marilyn Walden tells me that she is always learning and bringing home ideas of how to improve their services and the library space. She attended a conference talk at OLC on year and realized that she needed to move the YA section to the open area near a window – which she and her staff promptly did! She is also planning on making many changes to the Children's department adding fun furniture and new shelving to make this space even more inviting.

Thanks, Marilyn and trustee Jill Fisher, for taking time out of your busy schedules to meet with us and show us your wonderful home.

Greenville Public Library

Director John Vehre and his staff were in training on their new automation system when we came to visit. While staff busily checked material out on the new system, John and Assistant Director Susi Halley showed us the architectural design for the addition. While keeping with the design of the original Carnegie building, this addition will allow the many services and abundance of materilas to be better utilized. This addition will include a large, comfortable community/conference room, new computer lab (which will double the current number of computers), more reading material for all, a children's wing an a quiet study area. To see the plans for this exciting project, go to

Our tour included the attic area (where John says he put his foot through the ceiling in the reading room below when he attempted to remedy a leaking roof) as well the more traditional areas (work, study, children's). John gets the "good sport" award for going to lunch with us at the Maid-Rite (and admitting that the food tasted pretty good, after all).

Thanks, John and Susi, for fitting our visit in and around your training on the new automation system. I look forward to coming back to see the transformation once your addition is all complete.

New Madison Puppets

New Madison staff

New Madison Circulation Desk

Software at Bradford Public Library

Bradford Local History Room




Worch Memorial Teen Zone

Worch Memorial Children's Area





Arcanum Founders Room

Arcanum Children's Area Plans

Arcanum Public Library


Greenville staff

Greenville expansion plans

Greenville Public Library

Huron Public Library and Ida Rupp Public Library Visits - September 20-21, 2006

Huron Public Library

Library director Anne Hinton is to be commended for the strong partnerships which have been developed under her leadership. The After School program for middle school students is a result of the partnership between the school, the library, and the Boys and Girls Club. It is a wonderful service: Keeps the kids safe and busy in constructive activity.

While in Huron, we also visited the McClintock Middle School media center and took a tour of all the school buildings in the city. It was a pleasure to meet the Board members of Huron Public Library: Cathy Buckingham, Gene Wright, Saundra Dolbeer, Alea Dahnke, John Halter, and Teri Bettcher, and Huron City Schools Superintendent Fred Fox. All are to be commended for their strong commitment to providing excellent library service to all members of this community.

Of special note:
When the library board and community expanded the Huron Public Library, three pieces of artwork were specifically designed: the stained glass pieces in the Teen section, the tile art piece depicting sights and nature in Huron, and an oil painting in the Large Print collection room. When you visit this library, be sure to look for these art pieces.

And make sure that you see the special Disney collection in the children's section. It was donated to the library by a library patron in memory of his wife. It will delight adults and children alike (speaks to the child in all of us!).

Thank you, Anne, for arranging this visit, our meeting with your Board, our tour and a delightful luncheon. It was a pleasure to learn about your library and your community.

Ida Rupp Public Library

We started the day perfectly: with coffee and homemade baked goods served on lovely English china. After meeting with several Board members, we were given a tour of this bright and open library. It is wonderful to see how well-used our public libraries are -- and especially nice to see how well partnerships are working between schools and public libraries, as is the case in Port Clinton. The day prior to our visit was filled with class after class visiting the library!

The Summer Reading program at Ida Rupp was a great success with more than 125 young adults and more than 300 children involved in activities. When you visit this library you will not want to miss the children's room where story time takes place. Here you will find yourself surrounded with beach and lake -- complete with seagulls. This mural was painted freehand; it is so detailed you can almost feel the lake breeze!

Other special features of this library:
An outstanding Spanish language collection (developed by staff member Tina Martinez) which is in high demand across the state through ILL;
Beautiful quilts;
A very busy Cargo area where approximately 120 bags of library material come in and go out daily.

Director Jim Crawford has a lot to be proud of in his staff, the library's collection, and in his Board. But his own attitude about resource sharing (Jim will tell you over and over how proud and glad he is to share his library's resources) is also outstanding. Thanks, Jim, for being such a gracious host and especially for arranging such perfect weather. We loved the tour and the trip over to Put-In-Bay where we visited with Muriel Sneller in her public/school library. You can be sure that Missy and I will take you up on your invitation to "come again".

Woodlands Elem

Stained glass

Teen area


Spanish Language

Pointing the way

Erie Islands

Cleveland Heights-University Heights Library October 25, 2006

Perhaps the most striking feature of the newly-renovated Cleveland Heights-University Heights Library is the bridge over Lee Road which connects the library to its community center services. The community center includes an art gallery, computer center, and (in the near future) a community theater.

Inside the library we found a vibrant teen center and multimedia collection. The children's room was most captivating with the walls painted with bigger than life-size covers of favorite children's titles including Good Night Moon and Corduroy. The story room can be used for puppet shows and has built in homework help desks.

Even on a cloudy day, the skylight over the staircase lets in an enormous amount of light. On the second floor, we found study rooms and Internet PCs - all in high demand.

What a great view of the neighborhood from the staff meeting room and the bridge. Thanks to director Steve Wood for giving us a full tour of your renovated library. What a great facility you have!

 Dayton Metro Library Miami Township Branch

The State Library Board held the October meeting at the Dayton Metro Library Miami Township Branch in order to tour the Kids Bookmobile, funded in part by an LSTA grant. Despite the cold and rainy weather, Mimi Morris, Assistant Director for Branch and Extension Services, and her pleasant enthusiasm made State Library staff and Board members feel welcome at the newest branch in the Dayton Metro Library system. The modern facility includes meeting room space, quiet study area, teen area, reference desk, and children's area. The children's area has a miniature front of a house, complete with a cat peeking out the window.

The Kids Bookmobile was quite a treat! It includes a Velcro poetry board, a puppet stage and dry erase board, as well as books and magazines. The Kids Bookmobile service was created to reach underserved populations of children who do not have easy access to a library. Through regularly scheduled stops at preschools, Head Start centers and child care centers, the Bookmobile has provided training and support to teachers, parents, and other caregivers, connected the participating children and their families to branch facilities, and helped to make the library more visible to the entire community.

Also part of the tour was the Dayton Metro Bookmobile that delivers books to senior centers.

Ashtabula County Library Visits
October 30-31, 2006

Harbor-Topky Memorial Library

Missy Lodge and I met with Joe Zappitello, newly appointed Director. Joe took us on a tour of the library, pointing out full shelves. We noted the many creative ways with which the staff has dealt with space limitations and growing collections. Included in the tour was Goldie, the 10 year old goldfish, which may just be the largest dime-store goldfish in captivity!

Joe pointed out that circulation has not changed although the school that used to be across the street has moved 2-3 miles away. Joe and his staff are very proud of the fact that they make textbooks available to the college population of the KSU Ashtabula campus.

Joe works at the Grand River Academy boarding school in the evenings and we took a quick tour of the library and campus. This is an all male school, grades 9-12. It attracts students from all across the U.S. and eastern Canada and has a 7-1 student/teacher ratio.

Thanks to Joe for showing us the area and including a tour of the KSU library. Interesting fact about KSU-Ashtabula: this library had a coffee shop long before anyone else.

Ashtabula County District Library

Our second stop was Ashtabula County District Library where we met with Director Bill Tokarczyk and his staff, including Assistant Director Donna Wall, Morgan Paul, Technology Coordinator, Council of Ashtabula County Libraries, Doug Anderson, Reference Coordinator, and Alan Smith, Technical Services Coordinator. We discussed KnowItNow, a valued service according to the 4 KnowItNow contributing librarians, 2 of whom also are “After Dark” operators and the Wiki that has been created by KIN librarians.  This is a nice feature that should prove of value to Ohio residents.  We certainly do not want to lose any part of this resource.   

Other topics of discussion: the need for videoconferencing capability for CE and communication (the State Library has this in its proposed budget); the Georgia PINES project (this project may offer us a partnership opportunity regarding open source ILS); CACL (which now includes 6 public libraries and 10 school libraries sharing a Dynix/Horizon ILS); MORE (I was glad to hear that it is getting less labor intensive.  Folks were glad to hear that there are more enhancements coming soon!)

I was especially pleased to see the plans and pictures of their new bookmobile.  It is absolutely beautiful and very unique with its scenes of Ashtabula County on its sides.  I look forward to another visit when I can visit Geneva and see the bookmobile in “the flesh.”

Kingsville Public Library

At our third stop of the day we were greeted by Director Kathy Pape. Kingsville Public Library is in the process of increasing its outreach activities and is doing a very good job of getting more people into the library. Between 25-60 people show up for movies which the library shows in the building across the street – a donation to the library which is heavily used by the community.

The library is on the edge of the township park which makes this a very convenient location for activities and fund-raisers. The Friends of the Library use this park for their big yard sale event. They sell 10x10 spaces to venders and collect $1 donations from folks who come to visit the venders.

It was especially good to hear from Kathy that she feels that going from NOLA to the new Regional Library System NEO (a combination of 3 RLS) has been smooth. Kathy is a big supporter of Regionals and takes advantage of the CE opportunities offered.

Conneaut Public Library

Our last stop for the day was at the Conneaut Public Library where we met with Director Debbie Zingaro, Associate Director and Reference Librarian Gail Conners, and Trustee Mary Zappitelli.

What a beautiful library! From the minute you approach the library your eyes are drawn upward. It is a spacious and warm building that is most welcoming. The meeting rooms are continually in use as are the YA and children’s areas. And talk about a valued service: there are approximately 12,400 people in town but 17,000 people have library cards from Conneaut Public Library, many of these coming from Pennsylvania to use the services.

In the summer there are even more people using the library: travelers checking email, people coming in with their laptops to use the library’s wireless service. But it is not all about technology. Debbie told us that many seniors use the library heavily but don’t want to necessarily use the computers. In addition, Conneaut also does homebound delivery to folks who cannot get to the library but who want library reading material.

One of the most interesting facts about Conneaut: at a time when many libraries are seeing a drop off in the number of reference requests, Deb tells me that their reference and Interlibrary Loan requests have tripled in the last few years. Great job, Deb and staff! Thanks for not only showing us your wonderful library but special thanks go to Debbie and husband, Joe, for a wonderful homemade dinner and for opening up your summer cabin for our visit.

Rock Creek Public Library

First stop of the day was a visit with Nancy Shinkle, Director of Rock Creek Public Library and Board President Joanne Dzurenko and Board Vice President Sue Davis.

We sat and had a nice “brain-storming session” while we talked about the possibilities for expansion. This is a very well-loved and well-used library which could use additional room for more programming. The school across the road is being vacated when the new school is built in town. One of the possibilities we shared was “What if the library were able to move into that building?” This would allow for the library to create a Senior Center and give the library an auditorium for programs. This might even blossom into a community theater project!

Thanks, Nancy, Joanne and Sue for a wonderful visit and for sharing your dreams and aspirations with us. We will be watching what happens with your school building and should you have the opportunity to expand into that space, we are sure the results will be astounding!

Henderson Memorial Public Library

Next stop: Jefferson, OH for a visit with Henderson Memorial Public Library Director Kathleen Jozwiack. Here again we were impressed with the spaciousness of the library. It is well-used by all ages – while we were visiting the preschoolers came in to trick or treat. What a treat for us to see all the costumed youngest library users!

The population of the village is 3,500; 5,500 includes village and township population. However the library has 6,500 registered patrons. I am finding that this is almost always the case: Ohio libraries are so service oriented that they serve as many people as possible, regardless of where they reside.

The library not only offers Books, DVDs, Videos, DCs, Books on Tape, and databases but also offers wonderful programming for their residents. These programs are cultural (Native American Celebration is to be held on Nov. 7th) as well as practical (on Oct. 25 a speaker form the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio gave advice on how to save on winter heating bills) and of course include reading celebrations (Teen Read Week was filled with events including an “open mike” where teens read poetry, stories or performed songs). Librarians also offer homebound service to those who cannot come to the library.

Special thanks goes to Kathy and Joe Zappitello for making all the arrangements for my visit. I also really appreciated the special luncheon, Kathy, where I was able to meet and talk with not only the directors of the CACL libraries but also several of their trustees.

Grand Valley Public Library

At Grand Valley Public Library, Jan and I met with director Nancy Evans, children and youth services specialist Jenny Williams, and trustee John King. This is another library where the staff is to be congratulated for their creative use of every inch of space to highlight material and to present programs.

We were especially impressed with the organization of the storage room where Jenny has been exceptionally creative using shoe organizers to keep all the supplies in order (see the picture and you will be impressed as well!). These are great ideas that we urged her to share with others. I can see a workshop developing out of this – kind of like Trading Spaces – a Trading of Ideas of how to make the most of your space.

I was amazed at the art work done by the 8th grade students who participated in a Comic Book creation contest. Jenny and Nancy did the preliminary judging and Friends group made the final decision and awarded a prize. I am certainly glad that did not fall on my shoulders – it would have been impossible to choose the best because they were all so good.

Nancy and Jenny are busy building their theme baskets for Christmas, a fundraiser which the Friends help make a success. In the summer they also create baskets. For both events the Friend sell raffle tickets.

It was great to visit with you, Nancy and Jenny. Thanks for making time to show us around and visit with us.

Andover Public Library

Our last stop of the day was at Andover Public Library where we met with director Mary Jo Orahood and her staff.

Andover is one of only two public libraries in Ohio to get two LSCA federal grants to expand the library because of community involvement.  This library has a marvelous mural (created by artist D. Marr) which mixes elements of their community and county and the charm of children’s stories.

This library is certainly the community center of Andover.  Their programming includes the hosting of a quilt show, an open house in December when artists play music all day and the library offers hors d’oeuvres to the community in the evening, and a juried art show is held each September. 80 entries juried down to 30-35.  In addition, this  year they had a children’s art show.  The library does a murder mystery dinner theater during which they offer a catered full-course dinner.

Other highlights included:

  • For kindergarten children the library offers a “Safety Town.”  Teenagers volunteer to teach, each being responsible for 4 children. 
  • Even in the rain, the reading garden was an inviting place. 
  • Adult fiction is the hottest circulating item.
  • Andover also has a fundraiser with “theme” baskets.  Last year they offered up 22 baskets!

It was so warm and cozy at the Andover Public Library that Jan and I were late getting on the road but it is sometimes hard to leave a wonderful library. Thank you, Mary Jo, for spending so much time with us.













Fulton County Library Visits
November 15-16 , 2006

Normal Memorial Library

The Normal Memorial Library is to be congratulated on the success of their programs for children.  They have a contract with the community school to provide library service and programs to the students until the new school building is completed, at which time the students will have a school library.  Director Sue Shaffner told us that the library programs often bring 50-55 students into the library.  Programs with animals are the most popular including the family of 15 rats, the boa constrictors' visit, and the K-9, a German Shepherd, who could find drugs even when they were hidden in a metal cabinet.

But the programming is not limited to children's programming.  Sue's first attempt to introduce a reading club at the library drew 15 members - and the number continues to grow - now there are 18!

What a pleasure it is to visit libraries across Ohio, like Normal Memorial Library, clearly the center of the community and a valued service.  Thanks Sue, for hosting our visit.

Archbold Community Library

Second stop: Archbold Community Library.  Here we were met by Muriel King, Head of Circulation and Reference.  We toured this spacious and open library.  Once again I was impressed with the usage by the community.  The computers were heavily used – and would be even more heavily used later in the day when school let out! 

The mural in the children’s section was very impressive.  Hand-painted by a high school art class, it is a jungle scene filled with surprises.  In the photograph that we took you can see a fox on the right reading a book.  The illustration in that book (within the mural) is the mural itself.  This mural is sure to delight children (and adults) of all ages. 

It was wonderful to meet the staff including the two who work on Interlibrary Loan.  Here we were met with great enthusiasm when we described the enhancements that the State Library is working on in the MORE system.  These enhancements incorporate the inclusion of NCIP in the SIRSI system (thus eliminating double entry for the participating library on their local system) and solve the multi-media problems currently encountered in the MORE system.

Wauseon Public Library

Our last stop of the day was Wauseon Public Library where we were met by Director Jody Pershing and trustees Mary Behnfeldt and Connie Sperry.  Whenever I am in a Carnegie library, I am impressed with the commitment of Mr. Carnegie to today’s libraries and to the communities served by these libraries.  Wauseon is another well-loved and well-used library of Ohio. 

One of the outstanding features of this library – definitely a must-see when you visit -- is the stained glass window.  Jody told us that every time she looks at it she sees something that she had not noticed before.  I know that I wanted to spend much more time admiring this than we had allotted.  It is truly one of the most beautiful pieces of stained glass art that I have ever seen in a library anywhere. 

There are plans to renovate the lower level of this library to create a children’s services area. It is easy to see why the community is anxious for this plan to be implemented.  The area promises to be bright and open and full of color – certainly an area which will attract children and make all who visit want to stay for an extended period of time. 

Thank you many times over, Jody, for taking time to show us the library and talk with us about your plans and dreams for the future.  It was a special treat to have coffee and sweet goodies with you and your trustees, Connie Sperry, Mary Behnfeldt and Kristy Snyder.

 Delta Public Library

Little did we know that we were going to be greeted at Delta Public Library by a large number of library staff and community members who were in the process of running a Chinese Auction of “Baskets Full of Blessings.”  This was a wonderful way for us to tour the library, meet the members of the community who use and support this library and to also contribute to this effort, all proceeds of which go to support the three Summer Reading Programs. 

Special programs of Delta Public Library include:
*Outreach to preschool aged children through story times delivered to them at their preschool;
*Bingo for seniors in the library as well as programs delivered at the Senior Center;
* the Red Carpet program, home delivery of library material to those who cannot get to the library. 

Thanks, Patricia, for inviting us into your library and community on your special annual fundraiser day and for giving us a chance to change our luck!

Swanton Public Library

Next stop: Swanton where we met with Director Linda Slaninka and her staff.  This library also has an open and airy feel to it – very inviting with several separate areas for various age groups (children and teen areas).  We enjoyed looking at the collections – once again, sorely tempted by all the good reading material – and impressed with the children’s OPAC which is a new addition to this library. 

A must-see at this library is also the art work, most outstanding of which is the marble statue of a young girl reading a book.  This was a donation from a community member and holds a place of honor just outside the Teens area.  The sign itself in the Teens area is quite an art piece itself having been created by the teens themselves, using pieces of old CDs to spell out a sign which can be read from all areas of the library. 

Thank you, Linda, for coordinating my visit to all the libraries in Fulton County and for also arranging for me to speak to the Rotary Club while I was in your community.  I knew when I came to Ohio that this was a paradise for librarians but I did not expect to fall in love with each and every area of the state.  We not only have wonderful libraries but also a varied landscape which continues to surprise and delight me each time I travel to a new area.

Evergreen Community Library

What a wonderful way to complete our travels: at Evergreen Community Library with its two beautiful fireplaces, coffee café, and yet another fabulous mural!  Here we toured the library, met staff, trustees and Director Jane Dominique and had homemade pie and coffee with Jane and other Fulton County Library directors.  (By the way, Jane makes these homemade pies herself.  What makes them so special is a secret that only Jane knows and guards carefully!)

The mural in the children’s area wraps around the room and includes a forest of trees with delightful details one must search to find.  There is even a rock with a critter hiding in its shadow.  You will have to guess what it is doing in this READING room…

Like so many other libraries, Evergreen Community Library is using some of its display area to show the special collections of its community members.  In addition the Library had a display honoring veterans and highlighting the contributions of the residents of Metamora.

Thanks to Jane for her hospitality – not only during our visit but also for sending us on our way with goodies for the road.  It was wonderful to visit Fulton County and see your libraries and get to know each one of you better.  Words cannot tell you how much I appreciate all your kindness.