Friday, June 20, 2003

Ohio Moments

State Library was first in Northwest Territory

On June 20, 1927, the State Library of Ohio in Columbus closed because of a lack of funding after then-Gov. Vic Donahey vetoed appropriations. It was reopened the following August by a staff of unpaid volunteers led by previous state librarian Charles B. Galbreath. The state officially reopened the library the following year.

Established in 1817 by Gov. Thomas Worthington, the State Library was the first library in the old Northwest Territory. Its original 509 volumes were for the exclusive use of legislators. By 1845, anyone was allowed to read the library's books, although no one could borrow them for home use.

In 1896 it became a circulating library - anyone 21 or older could check out books. The same year, a traveling library was established to provide literature to remote areas of the state.

In 1953, the service operated 53 bookmobiles that circulated more than half a million books in 37 Ohio counties. The program continued until well into the 1970s.

Rebecca Goodman

E-mail or call 768-8361.

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