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Director's Column

PLSJC Director Alan Hall writes a weekly column discussing library and community news, history, and other interesting subjects.

Dillonvale-Mt. Pleasant Library - 20 years

By Alan Hall, Director, PLSJ
Publish Date - Sunday, March 12, 2017

This week our Dillonvale-Mt. Pleasant Branch Library is celebrating the 20th anniversary of their “new location.”

 

I thought someone had performed the incorrect math until I subtracted from March 10, 1997 which indeed revealed that 20 years had passed since opening day.

 

The Dillonvale Library was opened as part of the WPA Library Program (Works Progress Administration of FDR) in 1941 as our library system expanded to provide county-wide library services.

 

That had been approved in 1936 by the State Library of Ohio, making the city-operated Carnegie Library into a county system.

 

From its early days, the Dillonvale Library was located in village spaces, as well as the Dillonvale High School, with its own outside entrance.

 

When I arrived in 1983, the library was on the second floor of the village hall in the midst of offices and meeting spaces over the Fire Department.

 

If the fire engines went on a call, the library closed until the fumes cleared the room.

 

In 1985, the local pharmacy had relocated to a new building and the library was able to relocate to their former site, which provided a street-level location.

 

Unfortunately, in 1990 Dillonvale suffered through the Short Creek flood and the library had 11 inches of water on the floor; minor in comparison to the rest of the village.

 

By the time I arrived on-scene, the flood water had receded leaving a muddy oily film of moisture and debris everywhere.

 

Every book on the bottom shelf was destroyed, and the Nancy Drew/Hardy Boys series had collapsed into the water when their shelving unit collapsed.  Approximately 30 percent of the library collection was ruined.

 

In true librarian style, I peeled the bar codes from all the books destroyed and helped box up the remaining books to go to storage.

 

FEMA aided the library system in drying the space, and paying the costs of cleaning making the space available to reopen in 6 weeks.

 

A year later, the library system purchased a building lot near the Post Office and began planning for a new building.

 

It happens to sit on the site of the former Devonshire Brick Co., and the defective bricks were used to raise the building a foot higher than planned.

 

The new library opened in 1997 to patient users and experienced a dramatic increase in usage serving much of the southern end of Jefferson County.

 

It is a warm and cozy little library that is linked by fiber optic to the world of technology and the 92 other library systems in the network.

 

It receives delivery service 4 times a week bringing anything that the public requests through the system.

 

Several years ago, I received an email from a woman in NW Ohio who had received a book from the Dillonvale Library via Interlibrary Loan and she was delighted!

 

She was born and raised in Dillonvale and could not imagine received the book she requested from the library in her hometown.

 

Public Libraries today are “part of the bigger picture” linked together so that collections shared back and forth to meet people’s requests.

 

I wonder of the 1941 WPA Librarian would have any concept of the 2017 Dillonvale Library?