The Claymont Public Library is a high tech community resource center buzzing with activity and enhancing the lives of its patrons. The main location is at 215 East Third Street in Uhrichsville and the branch is at 15 North Fourth Street in Dennison. The services offered by the library are comprised of traditional book and magazine lending services including outreach programming to seniors and child care centers, summer reading programs for people of all ages, family and children's programming, access to weekly and daily newspapers, quality reference service and a community meeting room. Other services include the use of copiers, scanners, and fax service as well as inclusion of internet connectivity, free access to subscription databases for research, educational computer games for children, and lending of videos, DVD's, music CD's, audio books, and electronic books.
The library system is a member of Southeastern Ohio Regional library consortium. Both libraries linked to SEO ( Serving Every Ohioan ) Library Consortium in August 2001. This provided both libraries the ability to lend and borrow items from 75 library systems in 38 counties with a total of 174 locations. The community's library has indeed grown beyond its own physical location, and is able to offer our customers excellent library service without boundaries and collection limitations.
Public libraries in the Twin Cities had their beginning in the winter of 1899 when the Tourist Club organized the Twin City Public Library at the Uhrich Street School. The club continued to support a library in Uhrichsville until a group of citizens asked the Uhrichsville Board of Education to form a library board. On September 14, 1934 the library moved into the Uhrichsville City building on North Main Street. Mrs. Alma Huggins was the first librarian, and the board of trustees included, Mrs. N.L. Birney, Miss Flora Copeland, Mrs. W. P. Petry, Ross Virtue, G.W. Reed, H.B. Galbraith, and Mrs. Harry Klar.
The other half of the Claymont Public Library began at Dennison High School in June of 1923, under the jurisdiction of the Dennison Board of Education. Mr. O.C. Johnston and Mrs. W.H. Angel were prominent in starting the library. In January 1924, the library came under the jurisdiction of the Library Board. The trustees were E.S. Marshall, G.F. Cooper, J.B. Weekday, Lulu McKee, O.C. Johnston, Mrs. W,H. Angel, and Mrs. J.J. Williams. Miss Maude Porter was hired as the first librarian with the first registered member being Hattie M. Kipp. When the Dennison high school building burned in 1927, the public library was relocated to the Dennison City Building at 302 Grant Street, where it was housed until 1998 when a new building was constructed at its current location.
In 1964 the Uhrichsville and Dennison libraries were consolidated into the Claymont School District Public Library. The Claymont Board of Education appointed one Library Board to govern both locations. The Board members were Helen Reiser, John Milgate, J. Woods Brown, Harry Kinghorn, Bernice Cottrell, Glenna Peoples, and Virginia Mitchell. Co-librarians at the time were Gertrude Dunn in Uhrichsville and Betty Connelly in Dennison. Mrs. Connolly resigned in August 1966, and Geraldine Atkinson was named the librarian at the Dennison location.
The library board purchased the former Harry Wade building on 215 East Third Street in 1970, and the Uhrichsville collection was moved there. When Gertrude Dunn died in 1974, Geraldine Atkinson was named Director of both locations, and the main library was officially designated at the Uhrichsville location until it was relocated back to Dennison in 1979, when Carmella Caputo was appointed Director after Geraldine Atkinson retired. The main library was again reassigned to the Uhrichsville location when Mary Lee Smith was appointed Director in 1990. Debra McCune was appointed as the Branch Manager of the Dennison location.
During the 1990's, the Uhrichsville location acquired property adjacent to its current location, and moved the reference collection, offices, and meeting room into that space. Also in this decade, the Board purchased land on Fourth and Center Street in Dennison where a new branch library was built. It opened in August of 1998. In that same year, Mary Lee Smith resigned, and Karen Miller became the new library Director. Miss Miller was employed until June 2000, when she relocated to central Ohio. Lorrie Wheeler became director in April 2001 and held this position until her retirement in September 2010.
Currently, Donna Moody is the Director of the Claymont Public Library, having been hired in September 2010. Mrs. Moody began working for the library in 1990 and has held many positions such as, Library Aide, Technology Coordinator, and Public Services Manager. The Board of Trustees includes Robert Michels (President), James J. Ong (Vice President), Christine Curtiss (Secretary), Karla Armstrong, Carol Donato, Mary Ellen Kovach, Susan Willard. Employees at the main library in Uhrichsville include the Director Donna Moody, Susan Peters (Fiscal Officer), Rene Koile (Children's Coordinator), Cheyenne Henry and Brooke Scott (Library Associates). Employees at the Dennison Branch include Gail Fondriest and Valerie Willoughby (Library Associates).
Ohio Public Library Funding
The first financial support of public libraries in Ohio began in 1933 when libraries received revenue from the intangible personal property tax. The intangibles tax was levied on individuals holdings of stock and bonds. The revenue was collected in the county of origin and was distributed to libraries based on need.
In 1983, the Ohio General Assembly repealed the intangibles tax and replaced it with the Library and Local Government Support Fund or LLGSF. An amount of the personal income tax equaling 6.3 % of Ohio's personal income tax receipts were earmarked for the LLGSF. This funding was divided using an equalization formula so that underserved areas would receive a guaranteed share.
In 1993, the General Assembly passed legislation reducing the LLGSF from 6.3 percent to 5.7 percent of personal income tax. It remained at that level until the 2002-2003 biennium budget called for the funding to be frozen at the same level as July 2000 through June 2001. This was the beginning of a funding freeze which lasted through December 2007.
Beginning with January 2008 distributions, a new funding source was developed. This fund named the Public Library Fund or PLF is comprised of 2.22 percent of the state's total general tax revenue.
The staff and trustees of the public library strive to provide the highest level of service to all library users through appropriate and usefully organized resources, to provide equitable access, and to provide accurate, unbiased, and courteous responses to all. The Friends of the Claymont Public Library, organized in October 2001, are working together to advocate for the public library and to strengthen the library services, but the cornerstone will continue to be excellent customer service.