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Library celebrating two anniversaries with party

9/4/2014 - West Side Leader
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By Sean Patrick

Shown is the second-floor lounge of the Main Library in 1969.
Photo courtesy of the Akron-Summit County Public Library
DOWNTOWN AKRON — On Sept. 13, the Akron-Summit County Main Library will host a party celebrating not one, but two separate anniversaries.

“In addition to celebrating the 10th anniversary of the renovated and beautiful Main Library, this event to celebrate 140 years of service to the community offers an opportunity to reflect on the timeless value of public library service,” said library system Deputy Director Pam Hickson-Stevenson. “I doubt that the trustees who assembled for the first library board meeting in 1874 could have ever dreamed that today’s Akron-Summit County Public Library would be providing the incredible variety of items and services that customers use every day. This is a testament to the durability, value and willingness to innovate that the library demonstrates year in and year out.”

To observe the anniversaries, the public is invited to attend an open house at the library, located at 60 S. High St., Sept. 13 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

According to Carla Davis, marketing communications director of the Akron-Summit County Public Library, the event will feature entertainment from Pointe West Performances, the New Horizons Band of Summit and Stark Counties and the Cuyahoga Valley Frackers.

“Activities include cookie decorating for the first 140 children in the Children’s Library, and photo opportunities in the photo booth with library mascot Paws and mascots Webster and Orbit from the Akron RubberDucks,” she said.

The event also will include the Mind, Body & Sole summer reading program grand-prize drawing, a Friends of the Main Library mini book sale and a make-it-and-take it “chalkboard tote bags” craft for teens.

There is no cost to attend the celebration, Davis said.

“All events and programs are free and open to the public,” she noted. “Attendees can enjoy free light refreshments or purchase lunch or snacks from the Coffee Pot Café, Stone Pelican Rolling Café food truck or Popsmith gourmet ice pops.”

Attendees also will have an opportunity to view a special gallery titled “Through the Years in Photographs,” which will include images from the library’s history. The historical exhibits also will be displayed at the other branches in the library system throughout the remainder of this year, Davis said.

“From September through December, each branch library will feature a display of historic images of the Akron-Summit County Public Library through the years,” she stated. “Be sure to visit Summit Memory, www.SummitMemory.org, our digital scrapbook of Summit County history, to see many more fascinating and nostalgic photos of Main Library and our branches.”

Davis said the library has an interesting history.

“In 1869, the Ohio legislature gave cities the ability to create free libraries and to maintain them through taxation. In January 1874, the Akron City Council passed an ordinance to create a free public library for the city, and the existing Akron Library Association immediately donated all books and property to the city,” she said. “On Feb. 27, 1874, the Board of Trustees of the newly formed Akron Public Library met for the first time, with John R. Buchtel the first board president. The Akron Public Library officially opened to the public in a building at the corner of Mill and Howard streets on March 1, 1874. A century later, in 1974, the library became the Akron-Summit County Public Library, incorporating suburban branch libraries into its system.”

The library is continuing to evolve, Davis said.

“The library now has a mobile app. It is fantastic. You can manage your library account, search the catalog and access e-books and e-magazines with ease. The Akron Library Mobile App is available for download in your device’s app store. Visit Akron.boopsie.com for more information,” she said. “We also recently launched mobile printing, which allows you to print from your laptop or mobile device at any library location.”

In 2013, Davis said, the library had 2.8 million visitors.

“Program attendance was 280,850 — with 5.7 million items borrowed and 777,542 log-ins to library computers,” she said. “Today, our service area consists of two-thirds of Summit County, with 285,000 cardholders and 18 library locations.”

For more information about the Akron-Summit County Public Library or the anniversary celebration scheduled for Sept. 13, visit www.akronlibrary.org.

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