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WEST LAFAYETT – For 85 years, the West Lafayette branch library has served to connect the village with the main Coshocton library and the world at large.

The milestone anniversary was recognized at a ceremony this week under the reading shelter built by the West Lafayette Rotary Club. It featured a presentation on the history of the branch, a performance by the Ridgewood High School Choir, the flag presentation by Boy Scout Troop 419 and the singing of the national anthem by Keeley Carter. State Senator Jay Hottinger also sent out a proclamation acknowledging the occasion.

Mayor Stephen Bordenkircher said he often uses the library himself and it is an important part of life in West Lafayette and what it has to offer not only long-time citizens but new ones as well. residents. He mentioned that his children attended story time when they were younger and that he listened to books on tapes or CDs when traveling.

“It has meant a lot to me in my life. It’s just a hub for the community and a great place. I hope it will still be here 85 years from now,” he said.

Jennifer Austin, executive director of the library system, said that besides the bookmobile, the West Lafayette exit is the only branch they have. Statistics show that it is used and examination of its history shows how deeply rooted it has become in the village.

“We know how much the community loves the branch library,” Austin said. “We know there is a need in the community. We know that there are young people who will walk here after school who live in the village. They come here to use the Internet and to consult books. branch right here in the village where they can walk is beneficial. ”

The West Lafayette branch library celebrates its 85th anniversary.

Andrea Schweitzer Smith is the current branch manager. She has been part of the library network for 34 years and started working weekends at the branch in her last location. She also did preschool storytelling hours at the branch and has been its manager for over 15 years.

The biggest change she has seen in her time is the way the collection has grown using digital means. Based on different platforms and agreements with other library systems, the amount of material that can be accessed in a small village like West Lafayette is almost limitless.

It was announced at the ceremony that the Hoopla web-based media streaming platform and mobile library allows customers to view 10 articles per month instead of 5. The branch also recently added points of. mobile Wi-Fi access that customers can access and take home. Hotspots don’t slow down and can be checked for two weeks.

“We see people using the library computers to be online, but those stats have changed where we see more WiFi users. They have their own devices, they just don’t have high speed internet. “said Smith.

The history of the subsidiary

The first location of the West Lafayette branch library was in the basement of West Lafayette School.  It opened in 1936.

The branch opened on October 10, 1936 in a vacant room in the basement of the West Lafayette School building on Main Street. The shelves and shelves were built by the industrial arts class at West Lafayette High School. Many individuals and community service organizations donated funds and services to provide books and materials to get started.

Nellie Moore Guilliams and Mary Ellen Moore Powell, among others, were on the volunteer staff until Ms. Jerry Newman was hired as the first librarian. Guilliams later became the librarian and held that position for 42 years, with a total of 64 years of library service to his credit.

In August 1946, the library was moved to the Rehard Building at 117 E. Main St. At the time, it numbered 3,000 volumes. She moved again in October 1975 to 108 E. Main St. At that time, the library had over 7,000 books and began to expand its collection to include books on tape and video.

The second home of the West Lafayette Branch Library in the Rehard Building on Main Street.  He settled there in 1946.

As the collection grew, it was decided that a larger building was needed. Apple’s old Pennzoil Station at the corner of Main Street and Ohio 93 was converted to a new library and opened in July 1991. The new interior was designed by Pamela Maxfield-Ontko and built by Carl Cognion Construction. The West Lafayette Rotary Club, West Lafayette Lions Club and West Lafayette Junior Guild helped transport materials and equipment to their new home.

During this period the collection grew to 15,000 books. It also included subscriptions to three newspapers and 30 magazines, a photocopier and 430 video cassettes.

Ruth Pitts and Nellie Guilliams at the West Lafayette branch library.  Guilliams was a librarian for 42 years and was affiliated with the library system for 64 years.

The West Lafayette Rotary Club donated the outdoor reading shelter in 2005. In 2009, the West Lafayette Janusian Club and the West Lafayette Junior Guild provided patio tables and seating for an outdoor reading garden.

Over the past decade, the branch has used new technologies to expand its offerings with high-speed Internet and access to a large number of documents via digital databases. It also offers mobile printing, digital scanning and Wi-Fi hotspots. As a member of the SEO (Serving Every Ohioan) consortium, West Lafayette Branch library patrons have access to over 8, 1 million physical items from 98 library systems at 258 service points in 49 counties in Ohio.

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