History of the Library

The Hubbard Public Library: A History

(Hubbard, Ohio Arlene E. Rohrer  May, 1993)

The Hubbard Public Library owes its origin to twelve determined women who persevered eight years to attain their goal. Choosing to call themselves "The Colloquial Forum", the women drafted a formal constitution stating that Colloquial Forum was organized "expressly to secure a Library". Pledging their efforts were charter members Mrs. H.G. Boren, Mrs. R.C. Bowers, Mrs. William Davis, Miss Ethel Lyons, Miss Claire McKelvy, Mrs. Scott Moore, Mrs. Dana Reeder, Mrs. L. A. Sprague, Mrs. L.M. Stewart, Miss Vera Toy, Miss Ruth Watson, and Miss Elvira Wright.

In the September 27, 1929 issue of The Hubbard News a column titled "Colloquial Cauldron" appeared, introducing The Colloquial Forum and its singular purpose. Every week thereafter until May 25th, 1933, The Hubbard News editorial page carried the "Cauldron", its content always dealing with literary interests and the encouragement of reading. "Wouldn’t it be fine if Hubbard had a public library where you could always find worthwhile books to read?" was the lead-in for the second week’s column. A Newseditorial of November 8, 1929 praised and encouraged the efforts of Colloquial Forum. The final line of every "Cauldron" column was the slogan in capital letters "A PUBLIC LIBRARY FOR HUBBARD!"

To promote further interest Colloquial Forum gave monthly book reviews in the village council room, with members taking turns presenting reviews. Although these programs ceased in 1933, the club remained active in pursuit of its goal. Leading the organization from its inception were Mrs. Ethel Bowers; Hubbard High School Librarian, Miss Claire McKelvey; and Mrs. Grace Boren.

In 1934 a traveling library made books available to Hubbard residents. Mrs. W.O. Stiver and daughter Myrtle (Mrs. Richard Gray) transported books from the Girard Free Library every two months. The books were circulated from Cramer’s Pharmacy on North Main Street.

Continuing their venture, the Forum ladies made a careful study of Ohio library laws and enlisted the help of village officials and civic organizations. In April, 1936, a community meeting led to a decision to establish a school district library, with trustees to be appointed by the Hubbard Board of Education.

On the night of April 13, 1937, about 75 interested persons met at the Grace Lutheran Church and requested the appointment of a Library Board of Trustees. Colloquial Forum inaugurated a book drive, headed by Miss Vera Toy and Mrs. Donald Stough. Plans were to canvass every home for donations of books. The largest single individual collection given was that of Harry Allen. D.O. Tylee of Pittsburgh, son of the late Charles Tylee, whose family was among the first settlers, sent a part of his father’s library with the wish that the books be placed there in memory of the late Mr. Tylee. About 2000 books were donated.

An Open House on June 3, 1938, was the highlight of that year. Attendance was unusually large. Floral gifts from the Hubbard Garden Club and the Garden Quest Club added to the success of the occasion. In 1938 a total of 27,828 books and magazines were circulated.

In February, 1940, the library moved to two rooms and a small office in the Roosevelt school building, which was then the high school. Fifty dollars per month was paid to the Board of Education for heat, light and general maintenance.

In 1949 Miss Florence Hamill became librarian, succeeding Mrs.Adele LaVoo, who had served since 1938.

In 1954 overdue fines were raised from 2 cents to 5 cents.

On August 6, 1958, the Library Board, because the library’s present facilities were inadequate, and because the school rooms were needed for classrooms, requested the Board of Education to grant permission for construction of a new library on land owned by the school district on West Liberty Street. On August 23, 1958, C.H. Anderson, Prosecuting Attorney of Trumbull County, gave his opinion that such a gift would be legal.

On January 18, 1962, plans for construction of the new library were begun with Leonard Friedman, architect, together with Trustees Dr. B.M. Schneider, Chairman of the Building Committee, and Mrs. A.J. Wheeler acting as Building Committee Secretary. All members of the Board of Trustees composed the Building Committee as a whole.

Groundbreaking for the new facility took place in May, 1962. On December 5, 1962, the new Hubbard Public Library opened its doors and began operation. In the 25 years since its founding in 1937, the library had grown to 20,000 volumes and had moved into a new modern building debt free. On May 5, 1968, the interior of the lower level of the building was finished, providing space for the Juvenile Department, made possible by a donation from Pauline Powers in memory of Rose Weitz Powers.

In September, 1977, thirty-six interested people appeared for a meeting to discuss the possibility of starting a Friends of the Library, a state organization whose purpose was to raise money for much-needed books, emphasize advantages of reading and explain the library’s true function to the community. Two representatives from the Youngstown Public Library were present to offer information and guidance. The idea was enthusiastically accepted, and shortly afterward plans were underway. Named co-chairmen were Mrs. Richard Stevens and Mrs. Thomas Culcasi. Mrs. John McBride and Mrs. Richard Stiver were chosen co-chairmen of membership; Henry Garono, head of ways and means; Mrs. Charles Rohrer, publicity chairman; and Mrs. Carl Morrell, the service committee chairman.

A membership drive soon followed, and weekly publicity appeared in the local newspaper in the form of brief book reviews and news of library activities. The Friends conducted their first book sale May 5 and 6 in 1972. Later that month they voted to donate $500 to the library, over $300 of which was realized from their first book sale.

Spring and fall book sales continue to be successful projects of the Friends, along with, in succeeding years, such fundraisers as style shows, teas, and luncheons. Resulting funds are always donated toward library needs. A recent gift was the placing in January, 1991, of an all-weather book return at the lower end of the entrance driveway, enabling patrons to return books without leaving their cars.

Another purpose of the Friends is sponsoring cultural projects for the benefit and enjoyment of the community. Since 1972, display cases contain a variety of exhibits reflecting the talents and interests of Hubbard citizens. Such displays might be students’ artwork, individual collections of historical or handicraft items, or exhibits relating to a community club or organization.

In the fall of 1972 the Hubbard Library became a member of NOLA (Northeastern Ohio Library Association), whose primary objective was to improve reference service in the five-county area of Ashtabula, Columbiana, Geauga, Mahoning and Trumbull Counties. If a Hubbard patron wanted a book not available in the local library his request would be relayed by telephone to other libraries in the NOLA network and the book obtained without cost.

In 1975 the Board of Trustees purchased the lot and house adjoining the east side of the library in order to enlarge the driveway and parking area. The house was moved September 30, 1975. During the following two years the vacated land fronting the east side of the driveway was landscaped with brick walkways, shrubs and benches. Joseph Jendrasiak of Duncan Landscaping donated a design and acted as consultant for the project. Work began in June, 1977. Local organizations contributed funds. Members of the Hubbard Kiwanis Club and the Hubbard Men’s Garden Club did the physical work. Trees and shrubs were donated by the Hubbard Recycling Center, under the direction of Carl Brant. Brickwork and curbing costs were paid with library funds.

To further beautify the same area, ladies of the Garden Quest Club in June, 1978, planted geraniums along the walkways. Several years later the Hubbard Men’s Garden Club assumed the planting and maintenance of the flower borders, although the Garden Quest Club continues to donate plants. Marigolds are now interspersed with geraniums, thus providing an attractive appearance to the building every summer.

The year 1976 brought the Bicentennial of the United States, an occasion marked by celebrations throughout the nation. In Hubbard the library presented a series of monthly programs entitled "Programs to Celebrate America’s Bicentennial," beginning in February. They were free and open to the public, sponsored by the Library Board of Trustees and the Friends of the Library in cooperation with the Youngstown State University Bicentennial Committee. Speakers included Dr. Hugh Earnhart, Professor of History, Art Professor Dr. Al Bright and Professor of English , Dr. Carol Gay. On May 11 the Dana Faculty Quartet presented a program of early American music.

An exciting end to the local celebration took place at noon on Saturday,

June 19, when a red, white and blue Time Capsule was buried in front of the library building, with the expectation of uncovering it fifty years hence. Contents of the capsule included a history of the library, photographs of the Boards of Trustees of 1962 and 1976; a photograph of the 1976 library staff; the 1975 annual report; pictures and information relating to the property purchases next door; and a photograph of the "library bookworm", plus two posters. In addition were pictures, letters and historic items donated by individuals.

Inspired by the Bicentennial capsules, the Alpha Omega Chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma Society International decided to preserve some of the major contributions public education had made to Trumbull County development. The Society, an honorary teachers’ association, compiled historical facts about each of the twenty-one school districts of Trumbull County. The Warren Historical Society was interested in having the information recorded on tapes, to be stored for use in its activities. Funded by grants, tapes were given for circulation to seven county public libraries, including Hubbard, and several other resource agencies. Society members did all the research and writing. Arlene Rohrer wrote an account of an early Hubbard Township school.

Through the efforts of the Friends of the Library another improvement to the building was achieved in 1978. A comfortable lounge for library staff was furnished on the ground level. The room was made possible through $1600 raised by the Friends via book sales, memberships and book bags, together with a $1000 gift from the Hubbard Kiwanis Club.

In 1984 an accessibility renovation was enabled by an LSCA grant. A ramp, elevator and restrooms for the handicapped were installed. Realizing the necessity for more space, the Library Board of Trustees in June, 1985, purchased two lots adjoining the west side of the property for future parking and expansion. Work began with the demolition of two houses on the west side and gradually continued as the building was enlarged. Added was a community room to accommodate up to 200 persons, along with an expanded workroom for staff and more stack area in the adult section. Persons interested in periodicals and newspapers could enjoy a convenient reading and study area.

The generosity of Dr. Pauline Powers provided an auditorium on the first floor of the library. Dr. Powers, who had served many years as a library trustee wished to benefit the community by bringing the world of books and culture to the people of Hubbard through her bequest.

Sunday, February 15, 1987, witnessed another milestone in Hubbard Library history. It was a double celebration, marking the 50th year of the library’s existence and the official dedication of the expanded facility.

In July, 1987, Mrs. Wanda Malin retired after a 30-year career with the Hubbard Library, having started as a part-time desk assistant under the supervision of Miss Florence Hamill, when the library was located in two rooms of Roosevelt School. In 1970 she became Head Librarian and continued in that post until her retirement. She was honored in a number of ways for her dedication and capable management. During her tenure, 1970 to 1987, annual circulation grew from 72,000 to 160,000.

In 1988 the library joined the state LOAN Program (Libraries of Ohio Access Network). Under this plan, any Ohio resident may register for a free Hubbard Library borrower’s card. Registered patrons are granted free borrowing privileges of the Hubbard Library’s full range of circulating materials.

That same year Dr. Leonard Caccomo, a retired cardiologist, donated an IBM compatible microcomputer for use by patrons free of charge. An IBM Selectric typewriter was also available for use.

In February, 1989, the library undertook another service for the public, that of offering income tax forms and at no charge, assistance in filing tax returns for elderly and low-income persons. Trained tax preparers volunteered their services. This service continues to the present time.

In January, 1991, the library began offering computer literacy classes for children four years old through third grade. Classes ran for six weeks. Programs are free.

As of this writing, May 1993, fresh challenges face the Hubbard Public Library. By 1995 the building must be in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. Among maintenance needs are roof replacement and heating and electrical repairs. Improved security requires a materials security system and the combining of multiple entrances and exits into one entrance/exit. To handle the public’s increasing use of the facility, additional storage and study space is essential. Also desirable is a local history area.

Obtaining funds to cover the $3,000,000 cost of these improvements is the problem at hand. State aid is decreasing while voter resistance to taxes grows steadily stronger. Voters in the May 4 Primary Election defeated a 1.9 mill bond issue and a 1 mill operating levy, the first proposed levies in the history of the library.

If the Hubbard Public Library is to continue its current offerings of materials and services, library officials will be obliged to confront difficult choices.

At the same time, however, it should be remembered that challenges may be formidable but they are not insurmountable. The twelve women of Colloquial Forum proved that.

Throughout the 1980’s and 1990’s

(Hubbard, Ohio Sherry Ault  December, 1998)

Throughout the 1980’s and 1990’s, the library developed a strong program

of service to children, adding toddler storytimes, babytimes, family nights, and school age storytimes to the regular program of preschool storytimes , school visits, and holiday programs. The library’s summer reading program has grown to serve over 400 children each year. As the program expanded, the library sought funding from community businesses and organizations. The Hubbard Community Fund and later the Hubbard Lion’s Club began providing money to the summer program and area businesses donated various incentives such as free pizza, fries, and ice cream.

In the latter 1980’s, several new material formats appeared in the library. A collection of videotapes was started, boosted by a grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation to provide classic PBS programs, such as the Shakespeare Plays on video. A collection of music on compact disc was begun in 1989 and a Books on Tape collection was being developed by 1990. The Children’s Room initiated a collection of novelty cake pans in 1989 and later developed a set of multimedia Kids Kits for circulation.

In July, 1989 the Children’s Room and the technical services area of the library received a complete makeover and the parking lot expansion was also completed that year. The library added a number of computer databases in 1989 and began to utilize computers, not only to provide information to the public, but also to order and catalog new materials. In December, 1989, a Library Services and Construction Act (LSCA) grant provided matching funds to acquire four computers and a library of software for the Children’s Room and to hire an instructor to teach children, ages 3 – 10 to use them. Adult computer classes were added in 1991.

An LSCA matching funds grant in 1991 helped develop a Career Resource Center consisting of print, video, and audio materials. This was later expanded with another LSCA matching funds grant to provide a small business resources, including microcomputers, business information databases, software, and a directory of local businesses.

With the defeat of the 1.9 mill bond issue and the 1 mill operating levy in May of 1993, the Library Board faced the challenge of bringing the library building into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 using the money in the Library’s own savings account. Architects for the project were William D. Koster & Assoc., Inc. of Cleveland. The renovation cost approximately $150,000 and provided a new central staircase, a single circulation area and a single entrance /exit, resulting in better control of library materials and the building. In addition, the library shelving, aisles and restrooms were brought into compliance with the new law. On March 24, 1996, an Open House, sponsored by the Library Board of Trustees and with refreshments provided by the Friends of the Library, celebrated the completion of the renovation project.

Friends of the Library remained active, holding biannual book sales and various other fundraisers to provide needed items for the library. Friends donated the funds to purchase a drive-up Audiovisual Materials Return in 1995.

The library’s new computer catalog was made available to the public in January of 1997 and by March 1, 1997, the library brought its automated circulation system on-line, speeding up the checkout process and the reserving of library materials. With the public access computer catalog, patrons could search for materials by title, author, subject, series, call number or keyword and could also check item availability.

Also in 1997, the library received a matching funds mini-grant through the State Library of Ohio to install a CD-ROM server and a collection of reference tools on CD-ROM for patron use. The Hubbard Rotary Club and the Friends of the Library contributed toward the library’s matching funds share of the project. Another matching funds grant was awarded through the State Library of Ohio in 1997 to install a web server computer and to develop a community web site on the Internet. A Computer/Network Technician was brought on board to facilitate these two projects and to maintain the library’s growing bank of computers. By the end of the year, the library offered more than a dozen public access computers for the purpose of research and Internet access. The library established a presence on the World Wide Web and by 1998, the library’s automated catalog was available via the Internet.

In 1998, the library received a matching funds grant from the State Library of Ohio for the purpose of refining its materials database. With the State funding 75% of the $10,000 project, the library contracted for the conversion of all brief cataloging records to full records and for the addition of other data to make catalog searches more complete and accurate.  In 1998 the Friends of the Library donated money to erect a lighted outdoor sign for the library.  By the end of 1998, a security system had been installed to protect the collection and a Committee, consisting of Library Trustees and staff members had been established to review the library’s role in the community, to gather comments and suggestions from the public, and to prepare a long range plan to take the library into the next century.  The 5-year Long Range Plan which addresses Community Awareness, User services, Early Childhood Services, Resource Management, Technology, and Administrative and Finance goals was adopted by the Library Board of Trustees in September 1998.