Going into the new year is a little more exciting for the Portsmouth Public Library system, which is changing its name to the Scioto County Public Library starting January 3.
The change is a better reflection of the library’s overall county-wide mission and presence and the staff members are excited to give full credit to the county population for their expansive network of six library locations.
“The Scioto County Public Library will be the umbrella organization that holds the branches,” Scioto County Public Library’s Katie Williams said. “Our libraries will still retain their branch names, however, when we are doing events and functions at all of our locations, under the umbrella, we will be operating as the Scioto County Public Library.”
The Portsmouth Public Library was established in 1879 in downtown Portsmouth, just on the corner of Court and Fifth Streets. The library moved to its current location in 1906, after a three-year build on the Carnegie Building, which was made possible thanks to a donation from Andrew Carnegie.
County services didn’t begin until 1938, when the Bookmobile was formed. New Boston then opened its branch in 1941 and they’ve since added branches in South Webster, Wheelersburg, and Lucasville. The Bookmobile has also continued services throughout the entire county.
The library has served the community for nearly 150 years, not only through book, magazine, and newspaper resources, but through classes, technology use, historical research departments, and more. The library has evolved dramatically to fit the needs of the community in many ways through its diverse services.
“I think our library services are very important. I don’t think we have any commercial bookstores here any longer and we still have people in this area of the community who cannot get service as far as internet. We not only have service as far as internet and computers, but, we have Wi-Fi hotspots that people can check out and take with them for homework help and job searching,” Paige Williams explained. “I just think our services are incredibly important, and, again, with our history going back to the 1930’s, with wanting to serve the community, people always saw a real need in the county, too.”
The library continued business as usual as the Portsmouth Public Library, with its various branch locations, until 2009, when the library petitioned the State Library of Ohio to officially recognize them as a County District Library, rather than a municipal one. The petition was approved in 2010 and the library began receiving county tax dollars in 2011 to further their programming.
“We’re very excited. Going back since 1938, this library has been serving this county, and, in fact, we were one of the first libraries in the state to serve the county level,” Scioto County Public Library’s Paige Williams said. “That has always been a goal of our library since then. It took a while to be an official county library, but this library system is here to serve the county and they support us, also. So, we wanted a better name to reflect how we are here for the entire county and not just the city.”
The library has also unveiled a new logo for the Scioto County Public Library division that pays tribute to its history.
“While the design is new, we wanted to incorporate our rich history,” the library stated in a release. “The colors used in the design are pulled from our original stained-glass dome located in our Portsmouth location.”
Reach Joseph Pratt at (740) 353-3101, by email at [email protected], © 2022 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved