Northwest Akron library celebrating milestone year
|The Northwest Akron Branch Library is celebrating its 80th year — and 10th year at its current location — this year. Shown above are interior and exterior looks at the library when it opened on Shatto Avenue in August 2002. Prior to that it was known as the Ayres Branch Library.|
|File photos/Ken Crisafi|
This year, the library at 1720 Shatto Ave. is marking a decade in its building, which is attached to the Northwest Family Recreation Center (NFRC).
Ryan Labay, of Fairlawn, who is a public service assistant II at the library, is the library staff member planning events to tie in with the history.
“I knew our 10th anniversary was coming up, so I started going through our archives and noticed our first location opened in 1932,” Labay said. “I thought 80 years sounds more exciting than 10, so we decided to focus on that.”
Labay said the branch of the Akron-Summit County Public Library was opened in 1932 as the Fairlawn Sub-Branch in the old schoolhouse at White Pond Drive and West Market Street. That building has been restored by the Preservation Alliance of Greater Akron and is now called Preservation House. The small library still managed to have about 6,000 books and hosted events like film nights, Labay said.
The branch moved in 1958 to West Market Street and was renamed the Ayres Branch after the building in which it was located. Dr. Fred Ayres left most of his estate and his home to the library in 1953. After litigation with his family and some years of remodeling, the new site opened to the public on Jan. 19, 1958. An addition that doubled the floor space in the library was added in 1965.
The library moved into the Shatto site in August 2002. The branch was built using funds approved by voters in 1997 as a bond issue to rebuild or renovate all the library system’s buildings.
The branch last year circulated more than 225,000 items, Labay said, making it the fifth in the library system in terms of circulation.
To celebrate the anniversary, Labay decided to ask library patrons as well as published authors to take part in the “Share Your Memories” project. Those who participate write down a favorite memory from their library experiences.
Labay said he got the idea for this when he ran into author Debbie Macomber at a library expo a couple of years ago. She saw that he worked for a library and proceeded to tell him her “library story,” he said.
“At a very young age, a librarian handed her a book, and from that moment on, she was in love with libraries,” Labay said. “And the librarian was Beverly Cleary.”
So far, the library has received written memories from several patrons as well as authors Macomber, Laura Bush, Sue Grafton and Brad Meltzer, Labay said.
To further celebrate, the branch is pairing up with its neighbor NFRC to host a party to commemorate the 10 years in their new buildings. It will take place Aug. 11 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and will feature food, storytelling, crafts, a Friends of the Library Book Sale, a performance by the Calypso Gypsies and a trolley tour of the branch’s previous locations.
Other programs scheduled to mark the anniversary are:
• In June, former Ayres staff members are returning for a series of craft programs. Betsy Dumigan will lead a beaded jewelry class in three sessions, June 12 at 6:30 p.m. for adults and June 18 and 25 at 2 p.m. for teens. Judith Campbell will share her quilting expertise and knowledge in a June 26 program at 7 p.m.
• The “Northwest Rocks!” Summer Concert Series will take place on the NFRC patio June 19 at 7 p.m. with the rockabilly sounds of the King Dapper Combo; July 3 at 8 p.m. with the jazz-infused, progressive blues of Dave Hammer’s Power Supply; and July 17 at 7 p.m. with the Akron Big Band.
• Cleveland author Les Roberts will make an appearance Aug. 15 at 1 p.m. for a book talk and signing.
For more information on the activities, call 330-836-1031 or go to www.akronlibrary.org.
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