Fayette library observes 40th 9.26

Written by David Green.

Fayette’s Normal Memorial Library passed a milestone in 2007: More than half of its existence has been spent in the building on Eagle Street.

The building is now 40 years old and an open house is planned Saturday in celebration.

From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. during the Fall Festival, the library will welcome guests to stop in for refreshments and commemorative gifts during a birthday celebration.

A library was started in 1931 as a memorial to the former college, Fayette Normal University. Alumni of the school donated $2,000 to buy books and Normal Memorial Library was formed.

 It first operated as a “free association library,” meaning there was no connection with any governmental unit. That lasted for a few years, but uncertain finances led the board to align the organization with the state library system and receive funds through tax receipts.

At that time—the early 1940s—the library became a school district public library, a designation the facility still has today. From its inception, the library was housed inside the school.

In 1964, Fayette citizens endorsed a plan to build a library separate from the school. Voters approved a five-year 1.25-mill levy to raise $50,000 for a new structure. An individual pledged $10,000 and planning began. In May 1965,  the library board learned that a federal grant of nearly $37,000 was approved, enabling a larger design costing $84,000.

The Eagle Street property just down the street from the school was purchased from Franklin Roosa and construction got underway for a facility that would include a main reading room, a work room, a community room and a small kitchen facility.

The facility was dedicated Jan. 8, 1967.

The first major change to the building came after about 20 years, said library director Sue Schaffner. The community room proved popular with residents, but the library was experiencing growth.

“As usage grew, we needed more room,” she said.

The timing was right to convert the community room into a children’s library because the Fayette Opera House had recently been restored and space was available there for community events.

This paved the way for the start of story hour and special programs for youngsters, both after school, in the evenings and during the summer.

The next big change for library operations came in 1996 when the circulation process switched from stamping cards in the back of books to an automated system.

Other service changes include delivery of materials to homebound residents, alignment with the State Library of Ohio’s Know It Now homework assistance program, and the availability of video, audio and DVD materials.

Registered patrons number 1,688 adults and 1,200 juveniles. Circulation reached about 67,000 last year.

  • Play Practice
    DRAMA—Fayette schools, in conjunction with the Opera House Theater program, will present two plays Friday night at the Fayette Opera House. From the left is Autumn Black, Wyatt Mitchell, Elizabeth Myers, Jonah Perdue, Sam Myers (in the back) and Lauren Dale. Other cast members are Brynn Balmer, Mason Maginn, Ashtyn Dominique, Stephanie Munguia and Sierra Munguia. Jason Stuckey serves as the technician and Trinity Leady is the backstage manager. The plays will be performed during the day Friday for students and for the public at 7 p.m. Friday.
  • Front.F.school
    PROGRESS continues on the agriculture classroom addition at Fayette High School. The project will add 2,900 square feet of space and include an overhead door that would allow equipment to be driven inside. The building should be ready for the start of school in August. Work on ball fields and a running track is also underway.
  • Front.rover
    CLEARING THE WAY—Road crossings in the area on the construction route of the Rover natural gas pipeline are marked with poles and flags as preliminary work nears. Ditches and field entry points are covered with thick planks in many areas to support equipment for tree clearing operations. Actual pipeline construction is progressing across Ohio toward a collecting station near Defiance. That segment of the project is expected to wrap up in July. The 42-inch line through Michigan and into Ontario is scheduled for completion in November. The line is projected to transport 3.25 billion cubic feet of natural gas every day.
  • Front.geese
    ON THE MOVE—Six goslings head out on manuevers with their parents in an area lake. Baby waterfowl are showing up in lakes and ponds throughout the area.
  • Accident
    FAYETTE resident Patricia Stambaugh, 64, was declared dead on the scene of a single-vehicle accident Friday morning south of Morenci. Rescue units were called around 9 a.m., but as of Tuesday, law enforcement officers had not yet determined the time of the accident. According to Ohio State Highway Patrol, Stambaugh was driving west on U.S. 20 when her Chevrolet Malibu traveled off the north side of the road and down a steep embankment, coming to rest in Bean Creek (Tiffin River).
  • Front.teacher Leading
    PRESCHOOL MUSIC—Fayette band director Jeffrey Dunford spends the last half hour of the day leading the full-day preschool class in musical activities. Additional photos are on page 7 of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.
  • Face Paint
    FUN NIGHT FUN—Savanna Miles sits patiently while Abbie White works on a face paint design Friday during the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Gracie Snead watches the progress after having spent time in the chair. Abbie was one of several volunteer painters, each creating their own unique look. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.

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