The Newcomerstown Public Library has been serving its patrons for 80 years now. Books, book topics, and the format of reading (Kindle, I-Pads, audio books) have changed greatly. The library has evolved and adapted to these changes and trends in the past 80 years.
The Newcomerstown Library opened its doors to the community on June 1, 1935, being located on the second level of what was then known as the Kaden building, located on the corner of Main and Bridge streets. The Baltimore Clothing Company occupied the first level.
The idea for a public library in Newcomerstown originated in March 1935 when an organization known as the Newcomerstown Women's Club discussed the idea with officials at the Heller Tool Company. At that time, Heller Tool had a small, private library on the premises for their employees to use. The Heller officials informed the Women's Club members that they too were interested in the possibility of a public library being available for the entire community to enjoy.
The Newcomerstown Women's Club and Heller Tool Company began their mission soon after that initial conversation by starting a library fund. The community's enthusiasm for a public library was shown by their obvious support with the outpouring of monetary donations, something rare at that time. The nation was still reeling from the earlier Great Depression which had set everyone back financially and created a scarcity of any extra money. Obtaining the funds to open a public library was not an easy task, but never the less the citizens of Newcomerstown persevered and were successful in their endeavor. The community of Newcomerstown has been a faithful supporter of the public library ever since.
Contributions to the library fund were made by many local individuals, industries, merchants, civil and social organizations. The proceeds from several fund raisers and an allotment of $800 from county tax funds was added to the library fund.
As soon as enough money was obtained, the upstairs rooms of the Kaden building were rented, decorated and furnished. Donations of books were received from the community, and from the public libraries in Dover and New Philadelphia. By the time the library opened it's doors, there were nearly two thousand books sitting on the shelves awaiting circulation.
The first Board of Trustees consisted of the following citizens: William E. Thomas, president; Mrs. Manuel Yingling, vice president; Miss Christina MacMillen, secretary; Rev. D.A. Morris, treasurer; and Mrs. C.B. Vogenitz, Charles Edwards, and Warren Prosser, members.
The Newcomerstown Public Library remained in the Kaden building until October 1938 when it was re-located to the second level of the Ortt building, located on Main Street across from the Newcomerstown News office.
In 1960, the library Board of Trustees purchased the former First National Bank building from the Reeves Banking & Trust Company (that replaced the Former First National Bank) for $10,000. The building was located on the eastern corner of Main and Bridge Street, and is now known as the Library Annex.
At that time the Newcomerstown Public Library Board of Trustees consisted of: Dale Johnson, president; Doris Ross, Edith Lee, Ralph Robinson, Florence Julien, Chester Best, Reverend Edwin Eshelman. Christina MacMillen served as librarian, and Vernon Lee served as the Board of Trustee's attorney. The library was relocated with the generous help of many volunteers such as the students from Newcomerstown High School, and the school's NHS Library Club, Junior Chamber of Commerce, Jaycee Wives, Girl Scouts, as well as many local citizens that were eager to see the library moved into it's new location. Baskets were loaned from Hackenbracht's Apple Orchards. A truck and conveyor was loaned from Walter Fenton.
On April 15, 1961, the library held an open house with 900 persons attending, and touring the new public library.
At that time, Aileen Glazer was employed as librarian, and Edith Freetage as assistant librarian.
In February 2001, the Newcomerstown Public Library was once again moved, but this time into a newly built, and much larger structure. The library move was just a short distance, next door! It's location had been the site of former Zimmer Lumber Company that had been in Newcomerstown for many years.
The Newcomerstown Public Library recently held on open house on July 7, 2015, to celebrate its 80 year anniversary.
A new library director,Cody Addy was recently hired, replacing former library director, Greg Romer, who had relocated to another area with his family.
(Edtior's Note: Read next week's Newcomerstown News for a profile on the new Newcomerstown Public Library Director Cody Addy.)