Akron-Summit County Public Library
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The Akron-Summit County Public Library has over 2,000,000 books and items in its collection. The library also has 335,000 library cardholders, and over 6,000,000 items borrowed. The Akron-Summit County Public Library includes a Main Library, 17 branch libraries and Mobile Services (located in the lower level of the Main Library).
The library’s history dates back to 1874, when the City Council passed an ordinance to provide a free public library for the city of Akron. The library started on the second floor of the Masonic Temple that was located on the corner of South Howard Street and Mill Street. The library then moved to second floor of the Everett Building on the corner of East Market Street and North Main Street in 1898. Due to the library’s rapid growth, it was moved in 1904 to a new Carnegie library building funded by Andrew Carnegie on East Market Street. A growing collection necessitated another move to the former Akron Beacon Journal building on the corner of East Market Street and Summit Street in 1942, until construction of a new Main Library began in 1965; it opened in 1969. Changing technology and the need for more services led to an additional expansion and the complete renovation of the existing 1969 library building which necessitated temporarily relocating Main Library in May 2001 to a former DIY store on East Tallmadge Avenue until the project was completed. On October 10, 2004, the newly expanded and renovated Main Library reopened on South High Street and South Main Street.
Divisions within Main Library include:
- Business Labor & Government
- Children’s Library
- Culture & AV
- Magazines & Newspapers
- Mobile Services
- Science & Technology
- Special Collections
The library’s outreach services began in 1946, with bookmobile service to rural communities. Today, the Mobile Services department continues to extend library services beyond library buildings to children and adults in a number of different settings. Two bookmobiles visit schools, daycare centers, Head Start programs, and neighborhoods during the school year and in the summer. A van serves many senior citizens’ housing facilities and apartments using carts of materials brought inside to residents. Nursing homes and other residential facilities receive monthly deliveries of library materials. Mobile Services supports two libraries at the Summit County Jail and provides regular service to other correctional facilities for both adults and children. The Library Express Delivery Service (LEDS) provides library materials to the homebound via U.S. Postal Service. Postage is paid both ways by the Library.
East Branch Library (now Goodyear Branch) was the first branch library, constructed in 1939. Prior to that, branch libraries were in locations as diverse as the Firestone Tire and Rubber Company’s recreational hall, a department store, a church, and a local school. The system’s branches are Ellet, Fairlawn-Bath, Firestone Park, Goodyear, Green, Highland Square, Kenmore, Maple Valley, Mogadore, Nordonia Hills, North Hill, Northwest Akron, Norton, Odom Boulevard, Portage Lakes, Richfield, and Tallmadge. Most of the branch libraries underwent extensive renovation between 1999 and 2008 to accommodate the growing needs of current residents throughout Summit County.
The library has a history of supporting local artists by acquiring and installing their works at Main Library and all branches. As renovations took place, local artists were commissioned to create works of art that were designed and installed specifically at Main Library and each branch.
Teen Services throughout the system offer study resources, educational support and a wide range of activities for youth. Over the years, a wide variety of children’s programming has emerged throughout the system. Special attention has been paid to developing a Children’s Library at Main, with a Resources for Early Childhood Educators Center. Caregivers and educators make use of a Lab and its equipment, and materials geared to assist in the education of young children. The library also takes a lead role with This City Reads in addressing literacy issues and providing access to technology, computer programs and electronic services while collaborating with school districts and home schooling associations throughout Summit County.
A few of the features of the Akron-Summit County Public Library include:
- A wide variety of computer classes that are free and open to the public
- Access to 535 computers and wireless Internet connections
- Membership in SearchOhio, which provides access to more than 11 million additional items in participating Ohio public libraries
- Summit Memory Project, an online scrapbook of Summit County history
- Designation as a Patent & Trademark Depository Library and a Federal Depository Library
- Nonprofit Resources Center, which offers information and programs on grantseeking and fundraising
- Science Fair Project Index
- Project LEARN (inside Main Library–Lower Level)
The Akron-Summit County Public Library system serves Akron, Ohio and all of Summit County except for Stow & Munroe Falls, Cuyahoga Falls, Hudson, Peninsula, Twinsburg, and Barberton, which have their own libraries.
There are 17 branches in the Akron-Summit County Public Library system:
- Ellet Branch, Akron
- Fairlawn-Bath Branch, Bath Township
- Firestone Park Branch, Akron
- Goodyear Branch, Akron
- Green Branch, Green
- Highland Square Branch, Akron
- Kenmore Branch, Akron
- Maple Valley Branch, Akron
- Mogadore Branch, Mogadore
- Nordonia Hills Branch, Northfield Center Township
- North Hill Branch, Akron
- Northwest Akron Branch, Akron
- Norton Branch, Norton
- Odom Boulevard Branch, Akron
- Portage Lakes Branch, New Franklin
- Richfield Branch, Richfield
- Tallmadge Branch, Tallmadge
- Akron-Summit County Public Library main page
- Library History Digital Exhibit
- Gwathmey Siegel Akron-Summit County Public Library project page