Sunday, May 17, 2015

325 Conneaut, Ohio Public Library

Usually I have my travels planned well in advance, so this stop was a surprise. I was headed up northeast Ohio, on my way to Erie, PA and Niagara Falls, NY. Erie had already been dropped from this year's itinerary because of time. But I needed a snack (which often means three chocolate chip cookies and a soda from Micky-D's, I'm sorry to say), and the car needed gas, so I exited the highway at Conneaut. When I found the promised MacD's, surprise! a Carnegie library building was right across the street. A sad Carnegie that appeared to be in some disrepair, clearly not a working library. But there was a universal library sign nearby, so I started hunting and found the new building just a couple of blocks away. This was not going to help my travel schedule, but here I was, so...

This attractive building has two wings, adult areas to the left, kids to the right. I started with adults, because some stained-glass panels caught my eye. Later in my visit I learned that the pictures in these panels are of scenes special to the family who donated them. The family was quite religious, which explains some of the scenes shown. It probably also explains the fairly large section of Christian Fiction shelved nearby. I admit to an inner chuckle when I noticed that the next shelves held the Sci-Fi and Fantasy collections!

The Barker Local History Room holds archives, and there is a Passport Services office, something I haven't come across before in my library visits.

In the non-fiction collection I noticed many books that are quite old, like Essentials of American History by Hart, 1905. Wow! The presence of these old books didn't quite square with the "overstock book sale" going on in the lobby. I should have asked about that when I talked to the man staffing a desk in this side of the library.

There are eight public computers. An area called The Read Room provides self-serve coffee and a chalkboard on which patrons have been answering the question "What are you reading?" Someone in Conneaut is or was reading Shades of Gray.

In the children's area there are many (more than usual) kid-sized tables and chairs. Windows high and low make the area very bright. One corner houses the story hour room. A display of dolls is on top of one shelf. A young adult area has a booth and tables. There are more stained glass windows here; these have fairy tale themes and each has been donated--two by the children's librarian I talked to!

The heart of the children's area is not things but rather the staff. I met the librarian and her new assistant, and was blown away by the description of preparations that are being made for the summer reading program. Special surprises each week, decorations, what have you. The theme this year (in many libraries) is Superheroes, and it sounds as if the Conneaut kids will be transported (via phone booth!) to Gotham City. It is no wonder the SRP serves about 250 kids in this small town!

This visit impacted my schedule for the rest of the day, but I'm very glad I stopped.

For more about this library and its programs, visit and see them on Facebook at

I got a few books here that I will give out at Halloween,
but I didn't make more than a very tiny dent in the display of books for sale!

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