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A Brief History of the Kingsville Public Library    
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    The earliest record of a Kingsville Library is dated 1885; however, a small library existed in the Kingsville Academy prior to that date and in the Centralized High School beginning in 1872.  After the Civil War, a small library was maintained in a home on Priest Street with books purchased with the remaining funds collected to help widows and orphans of soldiers lost in the Civil War. 
 
 

 

 

 
 
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The Linnean Literary Society of Kingsville established the first reading room of what was to become our present library.  The Society met in 1885 to change its name to the Kingsville Library Association, form a board of directors and establish the library bylaws.  The Association  was incorporated by August, 1886.  Grant Blodgett was the Association member taking the first turn as librarian.  With his leadership over the next ten years, funds were raised for the library by holding lectures, ice cream socials and events in the park. 

By 1894, enough donations had been received to build the first library building on the north side of West Main Street on a lot donated by Mrs. F. M. Parrish.  The new "Kingsville Free Reading Room" was opened to the public in September, 1894.  This original building is still in use as the meeting room of the present library.  The unique onion dome window is reported to have been designed from a sketch of a New England building drawn by Miss Bonita Himrod, an Academy student and the daughter of a Kingsville physician.


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Because of financial problems, the Library Association made the decision to lease the library to the school board in 1911, establishing the library as a School District Library by state law, thus qualifying the library to receive state funds.  Seven trustees were appointed by the school board to be the governing body of the library.

With school board approval granted in 1918, the library was moved to its present Academy Street location on a lot next door to the brick Kingsville Centralized School.   When the school building was destroyed by fire in 1927, the old school lot to the north of the library was purchased by citizens and donated to the library for its future growth.


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Operating funds have always been hard to come by for Kingsville Library.  In the best of times, the library was open during the morning for a few hours, then closed for a few hours, opening again in the later afternoon.  During the War Years, the library could be open only a few afternoons a week and was forced to reduce those meager hours during the winter when coal was in short supply and the room could not be heated.

As the township population continued to increase, the library increased in importance.  Space for books and library tasks was always at a premium.  With the help of town citizens who furnished materials and labor at reduced cost, the library built a back room and attic on the east end of the building and remodeled the interior, enlarging the reading room by removing a partition that had created a small back work room for the librarian.  The new addition was soon used to hold books as the collection increased.


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The next addition was added in 1965, a narrow extension on the north side of the building which eliminated the windows and door on that side of the original building.  This small addition was immediately filled to capacity and books were again shelved in the back room and up in the attic.  It took another 15 years to collect the funds needed for an addition because once a plan was selected and bid, the cost had inflated to such an extent that new plans had to be drawn and more funds secured.  After three revisions, a large 40 ft. by 40 ft. addition was added in 1985 to the north side. The contribution of a large estate permitted the addition of another 26 ft. by 44 ft. room in 1990, the present size of the library today. 

The library still has need for space for the growing and changing collection and to allow staff and task areas for the services the library provides to the entire school district.  The library was automated in 1996 and now maintains computers for public use in a building that certainly was not designed for technology or staff work stations. 

 

 


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Funds continue to fluctuate, although being funded by the state local library and government fund since 1986, rather than the county intangibles tax, has certainly increased library revenues.  State budget cuts that have occurred each year since July, 2001 have mandated cutbacks in hours, materials, staff and the delivery service.  Patrons have enthusiastically endorsed the opportunity to see the actual catalog holdings of five other libraries in the county and now over one hundred libraries in the state, all available to every patron upon request.  

 

 

 

 
         
    Today, the library consists of approximately 2,945 sq. ft. devoted to public use, holds approximately 40,000 titles, augmented by the collections at most of the libraries in this state, as well as from other state, and continues to serve as a school district library for the Buckeye Local School District.  The legal service area includes the entire Kingsville Township, approximately half of Sheffield and Plymouth Townships plus an eastern portion of Monroe Township (those portions in the Buckeye School District), and all of North Kingsville Village.   The library staff is renowned for being friendly and helpful.  The little library on the park is still an historical landmark and community center, faithfully serving its patrons with a smile.

 


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