WEST LAFAYETTE This month will mark a special passage in time for the West Lafayette Branch Library. It was 75 years ago (Oct. 10, 1936) that the library first opened its doors to the community.
The library is a branch of the Coshocton Public Library and was formed through a joint effort of the Coshocton Public Library Board and the citizens of West Lafayette.
The West Lafayette Branch Librarys inception was in a small corner room in the basement of the old West Lafayette School building on Main Street (demolished in 1965 and now the site of the Dairy Hut and several private residences). The basement room was secured by Mrs. W.L. Richards, the president of the West Lafayette PTA. The furniture for the library was obtained through a formed library committee and the West Lafayette High School industrial arts class built the book shelves to hold the librarys book collection.
The library was open to the community every week night and two afternoons each week, and was completely managed by the various local womens clubs that were in existence at that time. Each club would take turns staffing the library each night.
Willis Moore was the school building custodian for many years. His daughter, Nellie Guilliams was a longtime employee of the library.
In August 1946, the library moved from the school building into what was known as the Rehard building (the former Dale Gress Real Estate was later located in the building. The building was demolished in later years and is now a parking lot). The library remained there until October 1975 when they moved across the street (the building is now part of an apartment duplex) in search of more space. By 1975, the library had a collection of 7,000 books, and had also begun circulating cassette tapes and VHS videos that were just becoming popular around that time.
By 1990, the library began to see a need for even more space and was servicing many more patrons each day. The library was now a full-time operation, six days a week. Parking along Main Street was also an issue and it was evident the library needed its own parking lot.
On July 15, 1991, after some renovations the library moved into its new home at the corner of east Main Street and Plainfield Road (Route 93). The building had formerly housed the Pennzoil Gas Station for many years and eventually closed leaving a vacancy and an opportunity for the library to find a new home with its own parking lot.
Today, the West Lafayette Branch Library has grown beyond its walls as it participates in the SEO Library Consortium which covers 176 libraries in southeastern Ohio. The library offers over 6.7 million items to its patrons. The circulation rate for 2010 shows 54,268 items were utilized by the community.
The West Lafayette Rotary also helped the library to grow outside its walls, literally! The Rotary donated materials and labor for the library shelter (located behind the library) that is used for additional programs for area teens, as well as for adult patrons to enjoy during the spring, summer, and fall months.
There are currently five employees at the library. Andrea Schweitzer serves as branch manager, and is assisted by Margaret Reveal, Lori Jones, Ann Bickle, and Cindy Baker.
The library will have a special open house ceremony on Oct. 10 at 4:30 p.m.