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DOCUMENT RESUME 



ED 367 327 



IR 054 858 



AUTHOR 
TITLE 

PUB DATE 
NOTE 

PUB TYPE 



Getrost, Christina D. 

A History of the Kent Free Library, Kent, Ohio 

1958-1992. 

Aug 93 

88p.; M.L.S. Research Paper, Kent State 
University. 

Dissertations/Theses - Masters Theses (042) — 
Historical Materials (060) 



EDRS PRICE 
DESCRIPTORS 



IDENTIFIERS 



MF01/PC04 Plus Postage. 

Library Circulation; Library Collections; *Library 
Development; ^Library Facilities; Library Personnel; 
Library Services ; *Public Libraries 
Historical Background; *Library History; *Ohio 
(Kent) 



ABSTRACT 

The Kent Free Library (Ohio) evolved from the Great 
Atlantic and Western Railroad Reading Room of 1875, into a municipal 
Carnegie library, and then grew to be a medium-sized public school 
district library, in the city of Kent, Ohio. Its original building 
has been enlarged through three separate expansion campaigns, in 
order to have space to house its ever-increasing collection, to 
provide meeting rooms for community groups, and to best serve its 
increasing numbers of users, both citizens and university students. 
This study chronicles the many changes that have occurred in the 
library's collection, budget, staff, services, and physical facility 
from 1958 to 1992. (Contains 9 references.) (Author) 



A * A A A * A A A A A * * A A A * A A A A AAAA A A AAA A A A A A A A A A A A A A A AAA A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A 

* Reproductions supplied by EDRS are the best that can be made * 

* from the original document. * 

A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A 



™ U -?-'* , **"«NT OF EDUCATION Q 
0«m:« q4 educational Research and Improvement i \ 

eoucational^resourc^^information 

□ This document hss been reproduced tz 
received from the person or orgsn.zstion 
ongtnetrng it 

□ Minor chenges htve been made to improve 
reproduction quality 

• Point* ot v*w or opinion* stated m tma docu- 
ment do not necessarily represent oHrciel 
OERI position or policy 



to 



Q A HISTORY OF THE KENT FREE LIBRARY, 

a KENT, OHIO 1958-1992 



A Master's Research Paper submitted to the 
Kent State University School of Library and Information Science 
in partial fulfillment of the requirements 
for the degree Master of Library Science 



by 



o 

ERIC 



BEST 6iir 



if kin**. 



Christina D. Getrost 
August, 1993 



2 



"PERMISSION TO REPRODUCE THIS 
MATERIAL HAS BEEN GRANTED BY 

Christina Getrost 



TO THE EDUCATIONAL RESOURCES 
INFORMATION CENTER (ERIC)." 



ABSTRACT 



The Kent Free Library evolved from the Great Atlantic and 
Western Railroad Reading Room of 1875, into a municipal Carnegie 
library, and then grew to be a medium-sized public school 
district library in the city of Kent, Ohio, Its original 
building has been enlarged through three separate expansion 
campaigns, in order to have space to house its ever-increasing 
collection, to provide meeting rooms for community groups, and to 
best serve its increasing numbers of users, both citizens and 
university students • This study chronicles the many changes that 
have occurred in the library's collection, budget, staff, 
services and physical facility from 1958 to 1992. 



ERLC 



3 



TABLE OF CONTENTS 

CHAPTER 

I . Introduction 2 

II. Review of the Literature 4 

III . Methodology 6 

IV. Founding and Early History to 1957 « 7 

V. Crowded Conditions: 1958-1960 13 

VI. First Expansion: 1961 19 

VII. The Slow But Steady Sixties: 1961-1970 27 

VIII. New Leadership and New Space: 1971-1980 34 

IX. The Booming Eighties: 1981-1990 47 

X. Automation and the Future: 1991-1992 63 

Sources Consulted 69 

Notes 70 



iii 

4 

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LIST OF TABLES 

Collection and Circulation Figures, 1958-1992 Table A-l 

Graph: Kent Free Library Circulation, Selected Years . Table A-2 

Budget Figures, 1958-1992 Table A- 3 

Audiovisual Collection and Circulation, 1958-1992 . . . Table A-4 
Portage County Per Capita Tax Income, 1970-1992 . . . . Table A-5 
Kent Free Library Registered Borrowers, 1958-1992 . . . Table A-6 



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CHAPTER I. 
INTRODUCTION 

The Kent Free Library has been serving the citizens of the 
city of Kent, Ohio for 90 years, and it has undergone many 
changes since 1902 in order to keep pace with an expanding 
population and increased need for its many services. There has 
only been a partial history written of the Kent Free Library, 
however, up to the year 1957. The purpose of this study is to 
continue the story of the Kent Free Library to the present day, 
tracing the development, in ten-year periods, of the following 
areas: physical facility, collection size, staff, cix-culation, 
budget, and services offered (including cooperative networking 
and use of new technologies), between the years 1958 and 1992, 
and examining implications for future trends. This study's 
objective is to organize and synthesize the existing records 
covering this period in the library's history, so that one 
comprehensive document exists for patrons and library staff to 
utilize in learning about the growth of the Kent Free Library . 



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LOCATION OF KENT FREE LIBRARY 




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Ejf uc ' vu, t i'u i ts ;J* w JC 



CHAPTER II. 
REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE 



Contemporary databases, the local newspaper Ravenna Record- 
Courier P and local historical sources were searched for 
references to the Kent Free Library* Karl Grismer' s 1932 book 
History of Kent, Historical *and Biographical contains a brief 
chapter on the beginnings of the library as the Atlantic and 
Great Western Railroad employee Reading Room, housed in the Kent 
train depot, and its establishment as a Free public library in a 
building constructed with funds from Andrew Carnegie. Portage 
Heritage: History of an Ohio County, 1807-1957 contains a one- 
page section on the same, as well as library statistics 
(collection size, etc.) for 1957. A 1950 Western Reserve 
University master's thesis by Barbara Mac Campbell covers the 
early history of the library in detail, based on Grismer, and 
briefly describes trends up to 1950 to show the further direction 
of the library and the need," expressed already in that year by 
the head librarian, for expansion of the library's facility. 

The most recent comprehensive Kent Free Library history is 
the 1957 Kent State University master's thesis by Rosemary D. 
Harrick. Harrick also summarizes Grismer 1 s information, but her 
study deals primarily with the library 1 s services and collection 
from 1945 through 1956. At this time the collection was 
practically overflowing the library's walls, and there was 

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inadequate space for meetings and children's programs. It was 
her purpose to show to the community the severity of the need for 
expansion of the library building; this was accomplished five 
years later, in 1961. 

Beyond the 1950 f s, the 1967 League of Women Voters 1 
publication This Is Portage County gives concise 1967 Kent Free 
Library statistics, and their 1976 booklet This Is Kent has a 
paragraph for that year's figures, but neither contain historical 
information past the founding of the library. Since 1961, the 
library's facilities have been expanded twice, as the collection 
size and circulation figures increased apace, and this history 
will close the gap in Kent Free Library historical documents by 
chronicling the additions and increases of the next three 
decades, not only in physical facility but in other areas as 
well. 



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CHAPTER III. 
METHODOLOGY 



The historical methodology was used for this paper. The 
majority of the sources used are primary in nature: eyewitness or 
firsthand accounts. These include past issues of the local 
newspaper, the Ravenna Record-Courier , Kent Free Library Board of 
Trustees minutes of monthly meetings, annual reports, 
correspondence, and library scrapbooks and notebooks of public 
relations materials and clippings. 

A great deal of primary and secondary information was 
obtained through personal interviews with Carmen Z. Celigoj , the 
current library director; Pamela Simones, current Assistant 
Director; and Martha Vasbinder, former staff member (1956-1962) . 



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CHAPTER IV. 
FOUNDING AND EARLY HISTORY TO 1957 

The Kent Free Library began as a reading room for employees 
of the Atlantic and Great Western Railroad in 1875. Located in 
the railroad depot on Franklin Avenue (which now houses the Kent 
Historical Society's Rowe Museum and the Pufferbelly Restaurant), 
the Reading Room was the only library in the town, and was a 
subscription library , for members only. Railroad employees paid 
annual dues of one dollar in order to join the Atlantic and Great 
Western Railroad Reading Room Association and be able to borrow 
books, one book at a time for three weeks. The money collected 
from members was only enough to maintain the collection, so 
after nine years of steady use but declining membership, the 
library closed in 1884. 1 

In the next eight years citizens made it known that they 
wanted a library for the public 1 s use; the three short-lived 
library associations which came to Kent and quickly vanished were 
proof of the demand and need for reading material. 2 Finally in 
1892 the village of Kent saw the opening of a Kent Public Library 
and Reading Room in a rented room above a business on Water 
Street. This new library, also referred to as the Free Public 
Library, became possible with the creation of a new Ohio state 
law drafted by Scott T. Williams, attorney, and George E. Hinds, 
secretary and treasurer of the Railroad Reading Room, that 
enabled towns with populations under 5,000 to tax their citizens 

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to provide for a public library. Kent, whose 1892 population was 
about 3,30c), 3 was the first town in the state to take advantage 
of the law to pass a levy for this purpose, and to appoint a 
library board of trustees to administer the newly created 
library. The railroad company donated its defunct reading room's 
collection, totaling 620 books and several magazines and 
newspapers, to form the core of the Free Library's collection. 

This library, with one move to a different downtown 
building, was popular with Kent citizens in the waning years of 
the century. Its collection increased to 2,842 volumes in 1901, 
which circulated 19,876 time's. 4 In 1903, after months of 
negotiation with Pittsburgh industrialist and philanthropist 
Andrew Carnegie and a year of construction, the library moved 
into a brand-new building built by $11,500 donated by Carnegie. 
George Hinds, the former secretary who was now president of the 
library board, was instrumental in obtaining Carnegie's support. 
With the backing of the town council he was able to meet 
Carnegie's conditions for the gift: provide the site, and supply 
annual maintenance income of 10% of the cost of the building. 
The new permanent home of the library was a two-story brick and 
stone building with 3,154 sq. ft. of interior space, built on a 
130 x 100ft. plot of land at the corner of West Main Street and 
River Street given to the library by leading citizen Marvin Kent 
(who had brought the first railroad to Kent and for whom the town 
was subsequently named), (see map, p. 9) 

During the first 50 years of its existence, the primary 




- Kent Free Library 



10 

change in the Kent Free Library was in regard to its system of 
governance and means of funding. It began as a municipal library 
under the governance of the city council and was allocated monies 
from a five-tenths mill on property taxes, but in 1922 the 
council deeded the library over to the Kent Board of Education as 
a result of the passage of the Ohio General Assembly's 1921 
Bender law. This law gave the Board of Education jurisdiction to 
appoint members of the library board of trustees and approve the 
library's annual budget. At this time the Roosevelt High School 
library was made a branch of the Kent Free Library and its budget 
combined with that of the Kent Free. It remained so until 
September 1948 when the Board of Education was able to take over 
direct control of the school library. The original library 
budget of $1,114 grew to $7,500 in 1924 with a new, seven-tenths 
mill tax levy. During the Depression budgets were slashed 
severely, but were rescued by the 1933 Senate Bill 30, which 
switched libraries 1 funding "from real property taxes to taxes on 
intangible personal property such as investments and dividends on 
stocks. This law was amended in 1951 to allow budget commissions 
to allocate the intangibles money based on need. 5 This means of 
funding remained in place for the next 35 years (see chapter IX, 
p.52-) . 

From 1903 to 1957, as the city of Kent flourished, so did 
the city's public library. From a village with a population of 
about 5,000 at the turn of the century, Kent grew into a thriving 
city of roughly 15,000 in 1957, 6 a 200% increase in population. 



14 



During that time span, the Kent Normal School, a teacher's 
college founded in 1910, evolved into Kent State University, 
whose students came to rely on the public library for needs not 
met by the university library. The Kent Free Library enlarged 
its collection to keep up with this increased use, as evidenced 
by rising circulation figures. The collection in 1903 numbered 
2,700 volumes; circulation for the first nine months in the new 
building, June 1903 to August 1904, was 15,433, with 936 
registered borrowers. (As is usual in all public libraries, many 
more people visited and made use of the library than actually 
took books home; in those same nine months, library turnstiles 
recorded 21,886 visitors.) 7 In 1957 the library's collection 
had grown to 16,826 books (in addition to films, records and 
magazines); that year's total circulation was 103, 489 8 , a 400% 
increase in 50 years, or double the population growth. In 1957 
7,308 people were registered borrowers, which amounts to about 
50% of the population of the city of Kent, plus several hundred 
Kent State University students. 9 This proportion of citizens 
making use of the library was extremely high, and in the coming 
decades it dropped to 38% but usually remained around 40-50%. 

The early years of the Kent Free Library were ones of 
tremendous growth, as the library expanded its collection and 
services to meet those citizens' needs. This growth symbolizes 
the history of the library, and nearly every year to come would 
see higher and higher use by the public. 



12 




Kent Free Library Board hopes to build an addition on property recently 
purchased on the west side of the present structure . . . Library Board will 
continue to rent apartments in the house until funds are collected for the 
addition. 



ERIC 



BEST COPY AVAILABLE 

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CHAPTER V. 
CROWDED CONDITIONS: 1958-1960 

During the late 1950' s the Kent Free Library staff consisted 
of three fulltime workers and an average of 12 people total, 
adding in parttime student help. As it was a small staff there 
was not a great hierarchy or set division of labor; everyone had 
to do a little of everything. Margaret Zearley was head 
librarian; she had come to the Kent Free Library in September 
1952 from the Tiffin (Ohio) Public Library. Raised in Uniontown, 
Pennsylvania, she was educated at Allegheny College, Meadville, 
Pa. and Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. She did 
most of the cataloging of new material, and public service. As 
head librarian, she represented the Kent Free Library in the 
community; she was always accessible to the public, answering 
questions or giving talks to groups. Other staff included Winona 
Schindler, children's librarian, hired the same year as Zearley; 
Rosemary Harrick, who had begun work at the library as a parttime 
page in 1946, 10 and by the late fifties was working fulltime at 
the desk; and Martha Vasbinder, hired parttime in 1956, 11 doing 
primarily circulation tasks. There was no separate reference 
librarian or reference desk,' only the circulation/reference desk 
located in the center of the first floor of the building, 
directly across from the entrance. (see photo, p. 26) Whoever 
was working at the main desk was responsible for answering all 
phone calls, whether circulation-related or reference inquiries, 

13 



14 

as well as helping patrons coming to the desk. Most reference 
questions were referred to Miss Zearley, according to 
Vasbinder. 12 

In October 1957, Zearley left Kent on an exchange program 
with another area librarian to operate the post library at 
Chaumont Air Base in France and tour various European countries. 
Rosemary Harrick served as acting librarian until Zearley 's 
return in January 1959, at which point Harrick was officially 
titled the assistant librarian. 13 Harrick continued to work at 
Kent Free until August of I960, when she accepted a job at the 
Kent State University Library. Vasbinder then became fulltime 
assistant librarian. 

Library staff had the continual task of trying to provide 
modern levels of service in an outdated space. To understand the 
incredible overcrowding being experienced by the library at the 
time this study begins (1958) , it is helpful to look at the rates 
of growth for the entire decade, starting with circulation. In 
the ten years from 1951 to 1960, total circulation rose by 65%™ 
from 77,070 to 127,123. Broken down by category, juvenile 
circulation nearly doubled, registering a 94% rise from 31,939 to 
61,995, while adult book circulation had only a modest gain of 
17%, from 45,131 to 52,668. (see Table A-l) The largest annual 
gain occurred between 1957 and 1958, when total circulation rose 
by 15% or 15,776 items. 14 The percentages are even higher when 
in-house use is considered, which was considerable. 
Unfortunately no records of this were kept. 



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The collection was enlarged during the fifties to help meet 
demand, but shelving limitations and budget constraints severely 
restricted the extent of new purchases. The size of the 1951 
collection, including books, periodicals, and records, is 
estimated to have been 13,900 15 . (In addition, since 1948 the 
library was a member of a film circuit and received up to 38 
educational and recreational 16mm films each month, which it 
rented to the public for a small fee. Kent was the first 
institution in Portage County to lend films. The library did not 
have its own film collection until the late 60 ! s.) By I960, the 
library owned 19,454 volumes (including filmstrips, added in 
1954) ; yet this collection was housed in a library building that 
had been built with an original shelving capacity of 5,000 
volumes 16 . The library had increased its collection size by 40% 
in ten years, while the square footage housing it remained the 
same, (see Table A-l) 

Library users browsing or studying were extremely cramped in 
the Carnegie building; on most days, according to former staff 
member Vasbinder, there were never empty seats available. 17 In 
1960, 48% of the Kent population held library cards at the Kent 
Free Library. That amounted to 7,405 adults and children, and 
1,195 Kent State University students (see Table A-6) . Over 
81,000 adults and 6,000 children came to the library in i960 to 
view movies and filmstrips 18 m (see Table A-4) ; they usually 
filled the viewing area to overflowing. The children's room, 
located in the east half of the lower level, was furnished to 



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comfortably seat 25 children; however, each Monday and 
Wednesday's programs had over 50 in attendance, and had as many 
as 75 during a 1958 program. Vasbinder remembers large numbers 
of elementary school children also used the library for homework 
assignments, due to the few school libraries in existence at the 
time. The other half of the bottom floor, optimistically called 
the conference room, also had to serve as the film library, 
technical processing area, and janitorial room. 19 

The library's total income during the fifties grew by 53%; 
the major portion, the intangibles tax allotment, increased by 
43%, from $25,485 to $36,476 (see Table A-3) . The rest of the 
library's means of support came from interest on investments, 
gifts and memorial donations, and overdue fines collected from 
patrons. The latter were raised in February 1960, to try to 
discourage overdues and cut down on the immense amount of time 
and postage costs involved in sending reminders. Fines went up 
from 2 to 3 cents per book, per day, raised for the first time 
since the library opened in 1903. Along with overdues, the 
library began to charge patrons for reminder notices sent out: 5 
cents for the first notice, 10 cents for the second. After items 
were overdue three and four weeks, library staff personally 
called patrons to remind them. At this time the library averaged 
60-70 overdue books a week, sometimes up to 100, and consequently 
an inordinate amount of time and money had to be spent attending 
to them. 20 

During these busy years, the library provided a variety of 



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educational and recreational programs for the public ♦ For 
children, there were story hours and films as mentioned above, 
but also puppet shows, summer reading club, in which readers gave 
brief oral "reports" to volunteer listeners to show that they had 
read their books, and received prizes and a party (32 children 
completed the 1958 program; 60 participated) , poster contests, 
and in 1956 some new and unusual items to check out: baby dolls, 
donated by the Kent Woman f s -Club. 21 

For adult patrons, there were coffee hours and speakers 
during every National Library Week, in addition to other special 
programs. The library held a six-week creative writing class one 
year, and a monthly book discussion group met downstairs. 
Librarian Zearley gave talks and book reviews to local groups. 
Staff members compiled bibliographies on many different topics; a 
sample from the period lists books on the Communist threat and 
patriotism. A Friends of the Library group was organized October 
30, 1951, to "spread an interest in the library and its services 
to other people." 22 The group conducted annual Book Auctions, 
selling discarded library books and items donated by the public. 
The auction's proceeds were earmarked for different library needs 
each year; in 1954 the money was used to start a filmstrip 
collection, complete with screen and projector, 23 and in 1958 
the auction provided for LP records. The group suffered 
membership declines in the 1960 f s, however, and became defunct. 
Local artists and craftsmen were invited to display their works 
at the library, and women's groups provided annual holiday 



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decorations • 

Every year saw record numbers of people come to the Kent 
Free Library to use its services in the same small Carnegie 
building it had occupied for nearly 60 years* (see Table A~l) It 
was time for the board of trustees and the citizens of Kent to 
permit the building to catch up to, and then grow along with, its 
collection and services* 



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CHAPTER VI. 
FIRST EXPANSION: 1961 



Staff and the public had been aware for many years of the 
need for an addition to the Kent Free Library, or for the 
erection of an entirely new building, in order to improve service 
and relieve the library's overcrowding. In April 1956, 11% of 
the library patrons responding to a general survey of services 
had commented on the lack of space at the library and wanted to 
see the building enlarged. 24 - It took many years, however, 
until enough money was on hand to make such plans feasible. Since 
1903, the board of trustees had been saving money to improve the 
building, through book fines, contributions, and careful 
management of its annual operating funds. They had managed to add 
about $5,000 annually in recent years. In January of 1954, when 
a total of about $30,000 had been accumulated, the Board of 
Trustees conferred with architect Joseph F. Morbito, head of Kent 
State University's School of Architecture, and authorized him to 
prepare preliminary plans for an addition. 

In June of 1955, an official library Memorial Building Fund 
Committee was established, t;o be administered by the head 
librarian of the Kent Free, Margaret Zearley (serving as 
chairperson and treasurer) , and consisting of the superintendent 
of the Kent Public Schools, Lewis L. Burkhart, the president of 
the Kent Free Library Board, Cecil Bumphrey, the president of the 
Kent Board of Education, and the president of the Friends of the 

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Library group, Dr. Hal lock F. Raup, who appointed Frances Goodwin 
as Friends representative. The Committee 0 s purpose was to collect 
and allocate all money received for construction of either a new 
public library or an addition to the one standing, and to promote 
the donation of money to the Fund. 25 The Kent City Board of 
Education served as the depository for the actual money, as per 
the Bender law. At the end of 1955, the total in the Fund stood 
at $32,207.20, part of which was in U.S. Savings Bonds held by 
the library. 26 The first outside money put into it was a $100 
donation from the Kent Rotary Club, in memory of Fred M. Fuller, 
former Rotarian and former president of the Kent Free Library 
board of trustees. 27 In 1956 an additional $10,000 was added, 
and the library board reviewed architect Morbito's first sketches 
for a 3,400 sq.ft. two story addition of concrete block that 
would extend out from the west side of the Carnegie building. 28 

A major step forward to expansion was accomplished in June 
of 1957 when Dr. Frank F. Fanelly sold the library board his 
property immediately west of the Carnegie building for 
$27, 500. 29 The two-story house on the 60 x 140ft. area would 
continue to be rented out by the board to students and citizens 
until enough funds could be secured to build. Th< library took 
possession July 1, 1957 and subsequently earned about $240.00 
each month in rent on the three rooms. 30 

The board had considered using the services of a library 
consultant to assist them in designing and constructing an 
entirely new building. During March 1959 they corresponded with 



Dr. Ralph A* Ulveling, a library consultant in Detroit, as there 
were no members of this relatively new profession in the Kent 
area. But after learning of the size of his fee and the fact 
that he was booked for several months, they shelved the 
decision. 31 At about this time the board also learned that they 
would not be able to purchase the property at the rear of the 
library facing South River Street, between the library and the 
American Legion post, as it was not for sale and the owners did 
not foresee putting it on the market any time soon (although they 
agreed to keep the library in mind should they do so) . 32 
Extending the library's property had been a necessary part of the 
plan for erecting a new and larger building, because the current 
lot simply had no room left for expansion. 

The board of trustees did not give up yet on a new 
building, however. In November 1959, board member Steve Harbourt 
met with Walter Brahm, state librarian of Ohio, and reported the 
results to the board. Brahm recommended razing the Carnegie 
building and erecting a new one; he agreed that it was entirely 
inadequate for present needs. However, Brahm judged this would 
cost the library $275,000. The Board investigated the 
possibility of seeking a bond issue to raise the many thousands 
of dollars needed for such a project; the prospects were dim. 
The schools' bonded indebtedness at that time was near the 9% 
limit allowed by law, so the system was in need of a new levy for 
its own use, quite likely as soon as the next year. Thus a 
library bond issue was out of the question. 33 



Remodeling the existing building was calculated to cost the 
same as would a completely new building. 34 In September 1959 
trustee Dick Donaghy, after a conference with Morbito, told the 
board that the architect's tentative estimate of the cost of his 
proposed addition was $30, 000. 35 So it was decided to consult 
further with Morbito about plans for an addition to the west side 
of the Carnegie building. Librarian Zearley was asked to 
coordinate closely the desired functions of the new space with 
those of the existing building, so that together they would work 
effectively. She suggested to the board some features it should 
have, such as delivery entrance to the side, a book drop with 
sliding receiving doors, a lift for books, and a parking area . 36 
Morbito 1 s preliminary sketch in January 1960 showed the top floor 
to be used for reading room, circulation desk, and magazine, book 
and record storage, with a workroom in rear. The bottom floor, 
below ground, was entirely devoted to the juvenile collection and 
programming areas. 37 

After transferring some more general fund money into the 
building fund, and receiving a gift of $1,000 from a resident of 
Kent, Mrs. John Parsons, the building fund totaled $51,958 in 
March I960. 33 In special session that month the board of 
trustees analyzed the addition plans to make specific decisions 
on locations of work areas, and agreed to pay Morbito 6% for 
complete plans and specifications. 39 They decided to deduct the 
electric book lift from costs, but left in place the shaft and 
wiring to install one later. On the 19th of August the board 



23 

accepted bids for construction totaling $55, 601. 40 

Construction on the addition began in October I960, with the 
razing of the house on the former Fanelly property/ 1 It 
continued until spring of the next year. The library remained 
open its customary hours of business throughout, except for a few 
days in March 1961 when the west wall was broken through to 
connect the two halves, and wiring and other work was attended 
to. 42 The Men's Garden Club of Kent landscaped the grounds 
around the addition on its own time and at much of its own 
expense, as a memorial project to deceased club members. Their 
work resulted in a pebble and rock garden, with retaining wall, 
in front of the library. 

The funds collected by the board of trustees for expansion 
were only enough to finance the construction of the addition; 
additional money was needed in order to provide shelving, tables, 
chairs and other items for furnishing the new wing. Therefore in 
November 1960 a Furnish the Library Committee was formed, to 
appeal directly to the citirens of Kent for contributions to this 
end. 43 Evangeline Smith, vice president of the board of 
trustees, was appointed chairperson of the committee, and Robert 
Dix, publisher of the local newspaper, the Kent Courier Tribune, 
was asked to handle the publicity concerning the fund-raising 
campaign. 44 On November 10th, the start of National Book Week, 
letters were mailed to the entire community — to all library 
borrowers, professional and business people, and industrial 
firms — describing the library f s need for the money and giving the 



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total amount of the request and what items were to be purchased 
with it. 45 

The total need determined by the committee was $18,768.75, 
to be used for chairs, tables, display racks, files, shelving, 
office equipment and drapes. These would be used to furnish both 
the adult reading room and the children's room. 46 The library 
was optimistic that enough money would be raised, since no 
previous requests for donations had ever been made to the 
community, and the building's cost was already paid. 

The Furnishings Fund grew rapidly, thanks to contributions 
from such groups as the Thenus Society, the Home Arts Department 
of the Kent Woman's Club, and the Kent Lions Club; the latter 
gave $1,080 from their annual Pancake Festival proceeds to enable 
the library to purchase a new circulation desk for the 
addition. 47 Donations ranged from an anonymous $5,000 trust 
fund gift to the $8.70 earned by Mrs. Caroline Pierson's 4th and 
5th grades at Kent Longcoy School through sales of their school 
newspaper. 48 

By April of 1961 the furnishings fund drive had collected 
$10,000, and was only $8,500 short of its goal. The library sent 
out printed "S.O.S." fliers to Kent households, asking for help 
in raising the last few dollars needed. Local CampFire Girls and 
Bluebirds helped to deliver the circulars in various 
neighborhoods . 

During this time, early 1961, shelving and tables were being 
ordered as money became available in the fund, so that they would 



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25 

arrive in time to be installed before the opening. Some 
equipment was acquired secondhand; an electric checkout machine, 
the library's first, was purchased for $80 from the Steubenville 
Public Library and installed in March. 49 

On June 28th, 1961 staff and volunteers, including a group 
of Boy Scouts, moved books and materials into the new addition, 
and the formal opening s was held on June 29. 50 Finally , after 
years .of planning, saving, and enduring cramped quarters, the 
Kent Free Library had its much-needed enlargement. 




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26 




0 

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..to the left, in 
the old building. 



01 D BUILDING - The oid addition. Still in use. the sec- in architecture since the early 
S JTSt Free Ubrary tion dramaUcally shows the 1900's when the Kent Free U- 
is a sharp contrast to the new changes that have .been made brary was bu.lt. 



BEST ten m^U&LE 



CHAPTER VII. 
THE SLOW BUT STEADY SIXTIES: 1961-1970 



The library board, flush with success over the completion of 
the library's new addition, nevertheless began to think of the 
possibility of future expansion, realizing that the library's 
collection and circulation would not stay at their current size 
and rate* At the start of 1962 they decided to start saving up 
money again, mainly to be able to acquire more land as it became 
available. (A likely prospect was the Andrews' small house and 
lot behind the library on South River Street, which had been 
considered previously.) In March, the board put away $1,500 for 
this purpose. 51 

A few cosmetic changes remained to be made to the newly 
expanded library to best serve its patrons. The old front 
entrance, up the steps into the Carnegie building, was closed 
when the addition was opened, and patrons now used the new doors 
at the west end of the new wing. All automobile access to the 
library was through the driveway on Main Street, which resulted 
in occasional long lines of traffic coming and going. To help 
alleviate this inconvenience to patrons, the library purchased a^ 
90 ft. by 18 ft. strip of lafid from the American Legion, which 
owned the adjoining property south of the library, to make an 
alternate driveway that opened onto River Street. The price was 
$1,500, obtained from the Furnishings Fund, which had $2,301 
still in it at the time. 52 The driveway was heavily used, 

27 



28 

despite the fact that it was only dirt and gravel, and in severe 
weather it was difficult to navigate. In November 1962, 
therefore, a "Help Pave Our JDrive" book sale was held in the 
library, to obtain money for improving the driveway's 
condition. 53 Two years later, in October 1964, the River St. 
driveway was finally blacktopped. 54 

The Carnegie's limestone front steps were not removed until 
November 1963, after over a "year of discussion about when and how 
to get rid of them and what to put in their plaoe. The library 
utilized the help of the city and Kent State University for 
equipment and labor, and gave the steps to Kent State 
University. 55 Joseph Morbito redesigned the entrance, adding 
new glass, enclosing the pillars and installing an ornamental 
iron railing at the edge of the balcony created by the removal of 
the steps. The foyer area was turned into a workroom/office/book 
processing room around this time, helping to relieve congestion 
down in the conference room* 

An oil painting of the Atlantic and Great Western railroad 
depot, site of the Reading Room that evolved into the Kent Free 
Library, was donated to the library in the early sixties by Mrs. 
Jessie H. Spelman and Miss Carrie Hinds, the daughters of Charles 
E. Hinds, founder of the Reading Room. This painting, created by 
Professor Elmer Novotny of Kent State University, is still 
displayed behind the present circulation desk. 

The library's circulation increased only slightly during the 
sixties: the total percentage increase over the period 1961-1970 



29 

was 5% (see Table A-l) . The city's population, however, had 
risen by 58% (17,836 to 28,183). An interesting difference; boom 
times for the city, but slow growth for the library. A possible 
reason for this might have been the influx of armed forces 
veterans attending Kent State University on the GI bill after the 
Korean conflict of the fifties; many were married with children 
and chose to settle in Kent, but may have only used the 
university library, not the public library. Television may also 
have negatively affected use of the library. The number of 
registered borrowers of the Kent Free for which there are 
statistics available show a 22% increase from 7,830 in 1961 to 
9,541 in 1966 (see Table A-6) ; 41% of the average 1966 population 
held library cards. The library's yearly film audiences had 
dropped 64% by 1965; the number of film showings (an average of 
1,000 each year) had only decreased by 38% (see Table A-4) . The 
increasing popularity of television and other societal changes 
might have had an effect on "this program. But by 1969, the 
audience count had gone back up by 141%, as the library increased 
its number of film showings by 100%. The difference in 
attendance was 47,000 more people in 1969 than in 1961, a 64% 
increase, (see Table A-4) In March 1967, 8mm entertainment and 
educational films were added to the circulating collection, 56 
but these were not shown in the library. 

From 1961 through 1970, the Kent Free's total collection was 
enlarged by 12,744 volumes, or 62% (see Table A-l). Average 
number of volumes added was 2,462. (The author was unable to 



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30 

locate an adult/ juvenile breakdown for enough years of this 
period to accurately measure the corresponding percentages,) 

Circulation was slowly increasing and there was need for a 
bigger budget every year, but the library f s intangibles tax 
income increased by a gradual 69% from 1961 to 1970, The average 
annual rate of increase in tax in the sixties was only 7.4% (see 
Table A-3). The library's budget was buoyed by a 20% increase in 
tax in the first year, 1961, and a 17% raise from 1966 to 1967, 
but the rest of the decade 1 growth was sluggish, and in two 
separate years the library actually received less money from the 
Portage County Budget Commission than it had the year previous. 

Despite this slow trend, however, the amount of money the 
library spent on salaries and personnel-related expenses such as 
retirement increased by 100%' in this decade. This was due partly 
to an 85% increase in the library's non-tax income over the 
decade, and to the fact that the board increased the proportion 
of the total budget used each year for salaries from 41% to 
51.7%. The materials budget, on the other hand, stayed between 
15% and 17% during this period. 

The library's fulltime staff remained at three during these 
years; total staff increased to 15 by the end of the decade. In 
the mid-sixties, the staff briefly included a Norwegian visiting 
librarian. In October 1965, "library trainee" Berit Sembsmoen 
arrived in Kent from Tonsberg, Norway to begin work at the Kent 
Free Library. She was placed by the American Scandinavian 
Foundation in order to gain familiarity with American library 



34 



operations. Fluent in English, she had 8 years of public library 
experience in her native country, including work as an assistant 
librarian. Upon her arrival the library gave an Open House for 
her, as well as for new teachers in the community. She worked at 
the library for one year, leaving in October 1966. 57 

Several staff changes during this period occurred in the 
children's room. In April 1963 Winona Schindler resigned, having 
held the position since 1952, and two more children's librarians 
came and went in the next five years. In May 1968 Suzanna Edgar 
was hired. Mrs. Edgar had a library degree from Michigan, and 
had most recently been the librarian at Field School in Kent. 
She was hired jointly by the Kent Free Library and Portage County 
District Library in Hiram, to work four days a week at Kent and 
one day a week at Hiram. 58 

In adult services, Jenny Gillis came on board in September 
1962 to replace Martha Vasbinder as second librarian, when 
Vasbinder left for a job with the Kent city schools. 59 In that 
capacity Vasbinder helped both the schools and the public 
library, for she was instrumental in developing the libraries at 
the two new elementary schools soon built in Kent, Walls and 
Holden, and the expanded library in Longcoy Elementary; with 
better school libraries, which are primarily curriculum-oriented 
in nature, the Kent Free Library's children's staff could 
concentrate more on providing for children's recreational needs. 

A longtime member of the board of trustees, A. L. 
Lauderbaugh, resigned in March 1964; he had been appointed a 



32 

trustee in 1937 and twice served as president, Leland Keller took 
his position on the board, and this proved to be an important 
appointment, for in his 20 years as a board member, including 
several terms as president, Mr. Keller served with distinction 
and provided invaluable input during two library expansion 
programs. When he died in 1986, he bequeathed $80,000 to the 
Kent Free Library. 60 (see Chapter IX) 

The Kent Free Library provided a diverse assortment of 
programming and services throughout the sixties. For children, 
there was the annual Summer Reading Club; 125 children read ten 
or more books each in 1965. The Book Critic, Jr. program enabled 
children to vote for their favorite book of all time, as well as 
write brief reviews and recommendations of books for other 
children. Children's nonfiction author CM. Colby, a popular 
boys' writer of the times, spoke to school and library audiences 
about his work. 

For the rest of the family, the library started showing 
travel films and slides as a regular program for the public in 
September 1965. There were Open House affairs with displays of 
new books, refreshments, and film showings, during National 
Library Week and special Spring Book Festivals; these were 
usually well-attended, in the hundreds. They were shown Fridays 
at 8:30 pm. A travel series of one kind or another, film or 
slides, has been a popular program at Kent Free for decades, and 
continues to be well-attended. Since this was the Vietnam era, 
the thoughts of many of Kent's residents were on their loved ones 



33 

in the armed forces; in 1967 a display was set up in the library 
of photographs of Kent servicemen and women. A new service 
instituted during this period that also gave the library an 
additional source of income was the acquisition of a photocopier 
for patron use in 1966; copies have remained the same low price 
of 10 cents for over 25 years. 61 

Throughout its history the Kent Free Library, like all 
libraries, has had occasional difficulties in recovering long 
overdue books. A frequently used tactic in the sixties was to 
advertise "free days," when patrons were permitted to return any 
overdue books for free, with no questions asked and no fines 
charged. The library was thus able to reacquire some materials 
long held, that probably would otherwise never have been 
returned; in 1966 uncollected fines from the last 7 years 
totalled $3,000. National Library Week in April was the usual 
time chosen. In order to be successful, however, free days must 
not be scheduled in a regular fashion or people will come to 
expect them and purposely hold on to long overdue books in 
expectation of amnesty. This seems to have occurred at the Kent 
Free in the sixties, because there were numerous free days, but 
they were not very successful in achieving a high number of 
returned books and so the practice was dropped. 62 



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37 



CHAPTER VIII. 
NEW LEADERSHIP *AND NEW SPACE: 1971-1980 



Shortly after the start of a new decade, an era came to an 
end at the Kent Free Library: in December 1972, librarian 
Margaret Zearley retired. She had worked at the library for 
twenty years, with an additional 15 years of librarianship prior 
to taking the job in Kent. The new head librarian was Clare 
Gearhart, from Novelty, Ohio. Having obtained both her 
Bachelor's and Master 1 s degrees from Case Western Reserve 
University in Cleveland, she had six years of experience as a 
librarian, the two most recent at the May field Regional Library 
of the Cuyahoga County PublLc Library system. 63 Gearhart came 
with new ideas for improving the library's services and 
collection. Under her direction a cooperative book buying and 
processing system was begun with Akron Public Library, whereby 
Kent got discounted purchase prices and Akron cataloged the books 
selected for Kent; and Kent Free increased the size of its 
current adult fiction collection by renting books through the 
McNaughton system, an inexpensive way to satisfy heavy demand and 
save shelf space (since the books are sent back after use 
declines) 

Gearhart ! s tenure at the Kent Free Library was very short, 
however, as a combination of professional and personal factors 
led to her resignation in April of 1974. A public controversy 
developed over Gearhart ! s spring 1973 dismissal of a children's 

34 



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33 



librarian who had come to the position in 1972. (The librarian 
had been working in the library f s children f s room for a year 
previous to her promotion, while finishing her Master's 
degree. 65 ) Dozens of Kent citizens attended that year f s Kent 
Free Library board meetings, to express their concern over the 
decision and their interest in the library's various aspects of 
operation. Janet Stavole, with a Bachelor's degree from Kent 
State and working on her library degree there, succeeded as 
children's librarian in September 1973. 66 

It was during this episode that Carmen Z. Celigoj , a 
graduate of Kent State University's School of Library Science who 
had worked three years at the Cleveland Museum of Art library, 
was hired as adult services librarian. When Gearhart took a 
combined maternity leave and leave of absence in November 1973, 
Celigoj was appointed as acting head librarian by the board. 
Five months later Gearhart resigned, and, in June 1974, Celigoj 
became the Kent Free Library's new director. 

Celigoj immediately faced shortages in library space and 
staffing. There was no room for an office for the head 
librarian , so she had to conduct all of her business from the 
reference desk. Although there were seven fulltime staff, not 
all were qualified to provide reference help so she could 
concentrate on administrative tasks and representing the library 
in the community. To try to alleviate this problem, an 
internship program was set up with the Kent State University 
Library School, which enabled graduate students in reference 



36 

classes to work the Kent Free reference desk on a volunteer 
basis, for credit. Finally in August 1975, Celigoj was able to 
hire a fulltime adult services/reference librarian, as well as a 
parttime children's librarian and an audiovisual materials 
specialist, Harry Brecha. Brecha was hired through CETA — a 
federally funded program that put qualified unemployed persons to 
work. He contributed greatly to the library; through his 
photography and other media -experience and contacts, he helped to 
establish a more professional public relations department for the 
library, when before there had been next to none. 67 During the 
Bicentennial year he produced a slide show of the history of the 
city of Kent that had over 200 people in attendance, and became a 
perennial favorite. It was even designed to be available for 
circulation to those interested in showing it themselves. 

Circulation for the decade 1971-1980 increased by 74%, an 
average of 6.7% per year (see Table A-l) . The population of 
Kent, however, dropped 7% between the 1970 and 1980 censuses, so 
the same numbers of people were checking out an increasing number 
of materials during this time. Adult book circulation jumped 75% 
but juvenile circ only gained 21%. In May, 1976, daily 
circulation broke the 1000 mark. 68 In 1976 there were 11,539 
registered borrowers, or an estimated 38% of the Kent population; 
this was an increase of 13% from 10,244 cardholders in 1971 (see 
Table A-6) . 

New to the circulating collection in the seventies: framed 
art reproductions were acquired in 1975 and circulated for six 



40 



37 

weeks for a small fee. Also in 1975 the record collection was 
expanded to include popular music and movie themes, and a new 
format was added in 1977: audiocassettes of rock, classical and 
popular music. 69 The total collection was increased from 35,390 
volumes to 61,559 volumes in this decade, or 74% (see Table A-6) • 
The adult collection doubled, whereas the juvenile collection 
gained approximately 65%. Average number of volumes added yearly 
was 4,128. 

Kent Free*s allotment of intangibles tax money made a 
whopping 173% increase in this decade: from $84,705 in 1971 to 
$232,029 in 1980 (see Table A-3) . The main reason was the 30% 
jump between 1S74 and 1975, the first year of Celigoj f s tenure as 
director. The average annual increase was only 11%, with the 
decade ending with a mere 1% increase over 1979. The personnel 
portion of each year*s budget rose 206%, double that of the 
1960 f s (some of the salary amounts used in calculations excluded 
PERS expenses, however, so percentage is not entirely 
consistent) . Percentage of total income spent on personnel 
averaged 48%, ranging from 39% in 1977 to a high of 52% in both 
1973 and 1974. Percentage spent on materials stayed level at 16- 
18% until 1978, when it was increased to 24% of total budget; 
this was to accommodate the additional audiocassette purchases. 
Also, money was being set aside annually for capital improvements 
whenever at all possible, so this is another reason for the 
variations. 

During the seventies, representatives from the boards of the 



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38 

three Portage County libraries — Reed Memorial in Ravenna, Portage 
County District Library (headquartered in Garrettsville) , and 
Kent Free — held regular meetings to discuss the possibilities of 
cooperating in some fashion. An analysis of the county's public 
library services had been published in 1970 by Kent State 
University's Center for Urban Regionalism (see bibliography). 
The "Joint Board," later called the Portage County Library 
Council, discussed this and their ideas for mutual assistance, 
such as adopting one library card good at all libraries, daily 
delivery of books, and non-^uplicative collection development. 70 

Some of these goals were accomplished in 1976 when all three 
libraries joined NO LA: originally the Northeastern Ohio Library 
Association Reference and Information Services, now shortened to 
NOLA Regional Library System. It was formed in 1972 to provide a 
reference and interloan network, supplemental rotating 
collections, consultation services and continuing education for 
librarians. Administered by the Youngstown Public Library (which 
serves as the system's resource library due to its sizeable 
collection) , NOLA in 1976 consisted of 25 public, academic, 
special, and school libraries in seven counties. 71 The Kent 
Free Library utilized NOLA's rotating film and books on audiotape 
collections, as well as its reference and interlibrary loan 
services and workshops, and continues to be a member of NOLA into 
the 1990 's. 

Anther program the libraries cooperated in was Project 
Visual Library, a 1975 $30,000 LSCA-funded project to provide 



39 

service to the elderly and homebound, and large print books to 
the visually impaired ♦ 72 They were also able to adopt one 
patron card that worked in all county libraries by switching to a 
different charging machine* 

All along, the individual libraries found it difficult to 
put mutual concerns ahead of their own library* s problems, 
especially in the case of Kent Free where space was again 
becoming a major concern* The Kent Free Library board supported 
the idea of further close cooperation, but had to see to its 
immediate needs first. The three continued striving to 
coordinate policies and fee structures, keeping an eye towards 
the eventual use of automation. 

During the seventies, in order to provide better service and 
accommodate its ever-increasing number of patrons, the Kent Free 
Library increased its hours of operation. In 1974 the library 
ended its longheld custom of closing on selected slow Saturdays 
during the hottest months of the summer, and two years later it 
began opening on Spring and Fall Sunday afternoons from 1 to 5pm. 
When over 85% of the 200 patrons surveyed in May 1976 responded 
in favor of the new hours, the library added 25 weeks of seasonal 
Sunday openings to its regularly scheduled hours of business the 
next year, 73 and has continued them ever since. 

Change was a big part of programming at the Kent Free in the 
seventies. Many longstanding and popular programs had their 
beginnings in this period. There were still preschool story 
hours each week, plus a toddler program for two year-olds that 



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40 

was a new idea only Kent and a few area libraries had begun to 
implement at this time. In 1978 children's librarian Linda 
Dragoo created an annual Preschool Information Fair, held in 
conjunction with local preschool and day care providers. Parents 
attending were presented with a wealth of information on various 
preschools in the area, could talk with representatives, and take 
home tips and information on how to share books with their 
children — while their children were entertained by a program of 
their own. These fairs continued throughout the early eighties. 

Children in grades 4-7 could join the library's Children's 
Theater and Puppet Club, started by a local mother of two. 74 In 
1979, the very popular "Holiday Helpers" program began: 2-hour 
programs for children 6 months to 12 years, to give parents time 
to do holiday errands. Activities included movies, games, 
stories, songs, and snacks; in 1992 Holiday Helpers still were in 
high demand. The library created circulating "S.O.S." kits in 
1979, also: these were boxes^ of books, puzzles, records, and 
other items as requested for parents to take home on extended 
loan to sick or homebound children. 75 

There were also craft sessions for kids; annual Halloween 
parties; an Akron Children's Zoo program that brought snakes and 
other reptiles to kids at the library (along with their keeperl); 
a chalk party for budding sidewalk artists; and regular Swap 
Meets to trade baseball cards, comic books, and so forth. There 
were 105 children in the 1974 summer reading program, but by 1980 
200 children took part. 76 Movies were shown every Wednesday 



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41 

evening^ and on Saturday mornings as well, to packed houses: 
average yearly attendance was 61,4811 At the close of the 
decade, the 1980 Presidential election year, Kent children 
participated in a mock election at the library, complete with 
polling booths; the program was intended to generate children's 
and parents' interest in the presidential race in particular and 
in becoming responsible citizens in general. 

New and unique programs and services were created for adults 
as well during the seventies. Director Celigoj is a firm 
believer in "hooks," or any unusual program or material that can 
serve to "reel in" a non-library user and get him or her to start 
coming to the library, first for the unique item, then later for 
books or inf ormation. 77 Some "hooks" of the seventies included 
a clothing pattern exchange between patrons, and a "plant 
exchange day," whereby patrons bringing in cuttings of their 
favorite house plants could trade for cuttings of new and 
different plants. Needlepoint classes offered at Kent Free 
proved to be so popular they continued for many years and spawned 
an annual needlework exhibit in 1980, judged by local experts and 
still held in the 1990' s. The 1978 National Library Week 
programs included a presentation on rare books by Kent State 
University's head of Special Collections Dean Keller, a workshop 
on book repair, and a talk by noted children's book illustrator 
Barbara Morrow. 

The library board purchased Dr. Andrews' house and property 
in 1972 78 and it was immediately put to use as storage space for 



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materials, and to help conduct the library's services to the 
homebound and elderly, including Project Visual Library, 
coordinated by Mrs* Gillis. 

In the mid-seventies Kent Free stopped charging overdue 
fines to senior citizens; all they needed was to show a card 
proving registration in a discount plan for seniors (i.e. 
medicare) or other dated identification. 79 Unfortunately, 
however, due to increasing costs, in December 1977 overdue fines 
for all other patron had to be increased to 5 cents per day, and 
notice fees went up also* For the first time, the library found 
it had to charge patrons a service charge for postage on 
interlibrary loaned materials, and other miscellaneous charges 
were instituted due to rising operating costs, such as fees for 
lost library cards or lost date due cards. 80 (This did result 
in an increase in the amount of fine money collected, in 1978 
over 1976, but how much of an increase due to the fine raise is 
difficult to determine due to unavailable 1977 figures for 
fines.) The library was still having problems collecting long 
overdue itexc ", and using much staff time in the process, so in 
1975 the library turned over its outstanding fines (totalling 
over $6,000) to a collection agency. It was decided by the board 
that it was the necessary step to take in order to insure that 
every patron had an equal opportunity to utilize the library's 
materials, and it was successful in its goals. 81 

Turning to the physical facility, in 1976 Kent Free 
announced a $200,000 addition would be built onto the south side 



43 

of the present building. The frugal management of annual 

operating funds and additional income from family bequests made 

expansion possible — nearly $150,000 was now at the board's 

disposal for capital improvement. The remaining funds were 

raised by the time construction was completed. In the Fall of 

* 

1974, faced with constantly rising circulation and increasing 
demands on the library's facilities, the board of trustees 
engaged two library consultants from the University of 
Pittsburgh, Keith Doms (Director of the Philadelphia Free Library 
and former president of the American Library Association) , and 
Frank B. Sessa (professor of library science and former ALA 
treasurer) to study the library's current space problems and 
future needs. In April 1975, Doms and Sessa recommended a 12,000 
sq. ft. addition to the current 6,554 sq. ft. would be needed in 
order to meet the ALA's minimum requirements. The library was 
far from able to meet the $708,000 cost of such a project, 
however, so it was decided to implement the first phase of the 
recommendation — a 4,800 sq. ft. addition. Plans and 
specifications were drawn up by the Kent architectural firm of 
McWilliams, Martyniuk, and Schidlowski. 82 

Construction started in September, 1976, with the razing of 
the Andrews house on South River Street. The new wing added areas 
for circulation, study, and book stacks on the main floor; an 
elevator and entrance ramps for disabled patrons and staff use; 
and on the lower level, it brought together formerly scattered 
administrative offices into the Carnegie building, provided a 



47 



44 

public meeting room and restrooms, and additional space in the 
children's room including a carpeted story pit area for programs. 
The meeting room was named after former board of trustees member 
Dick Donaghy, who had died in 1975, and furnished through 
contributions made to the library in his memory. Donaghy had 
been a trustee for 20 years, retiring in 1971. 83 

Because a public library cannot carry a debt from year to 
year, when the Kent Free board members needed to borrow money for 
the addition in 1977, they formed the Kent Free Library 
Foundation, a nonprofit organization incorporated to benefit the 
library. It can solicit donations to be used for things public 
money cannot, such as parties for summer reading club. The 
Foundation, therefore, borrowed money to purchase the property of 
Mrs. Bartsche, immediately west of the 1961-added building 
boundary, (see map) The Foundation paved the Bartsche property 
and then leased the property to the library to use as a parking 
lot; the library paid rent every year until the property was paid 
off, and then paid for maintenance costs. The Foundation also 
provided matching funds so that the library could receive $8,500 
from Kent City Council in Federal revenue sharing funds to 
purchase equipment for the 1977 addition. 

The majority of the addition was finished enough to be in 
use in March 1977, except for some furniture and shelving. The 
outside of the 1961 wing was refaced to match the new part of the 
building. 84 An Open House was held on November 20, 1977 to show 
off the addition. 85 The library received a 1978 Immy Award, 



43 



45 

public structure category, from the Kent Chamber of Commerce for 
the addition's "imaginative appearance and compatibility with 
existing library facilities." The Immys are given annually to 
firms whose development, expansion, or renovation projects make a 
significant contribution to the improvement of the community. 86 

Also receiving a well-earned award in 1978 was Director 
Carmen Celigoj , who was given the Ohio Library Association's 
Diana Vescelius Memorial Award. Named for a 1965 Kent State 
University School of Library Science graduate who died at the 
start of her professional career, the award honors librarians 
under 35 or with less than 5 years professional experience who 
contribute outstanding library service in social responsibility 
and intellectual freedom. 87 Under Celigoj 1 s direction the Kent 
Free Library had made great strides, in terms of increased 
staffing, increased programming, and increased square footage. 
Despite financial difficulties, the library moved forward. 



49 



46 




CHAPTER IX. 
THE BOOMING EIGHTIES : 1981-1990 



Library patronage, circulation, and collection size 
continued to increase as the 1980 f s began. Throughout the 
decade, around 50% of Kent residents held Kent Free Library 
cards, an unusually high figure for a small public library, 88 
(see Table A-6) In 1981, total circulation had been 208,159; by 
1990 it was 53% higher, 318,839 (see Table A-l) . The average 
annual rate of increase in circulation for the 1980's was 5,2%, 
Adult book circulation increased by 86%, and juvenile circulation 
by 87%. By contrast, the population of Kent rose only 10% from 
1980 to 1990. (It must be noted, however, that because the Kent 
Free Library is a school district library, its service area 
includes the Kent School District. This equalled the city of 
Kent until 1959 when Franklin Township and Brady Lake were 
transferred to the Kent School District, and 1972 when Sugar Bush 
Knolls was also included. The service area for the library was 
formally adjusted on January 18, 1983 • So, for the most accurate 
descriptions of the library's service population, one should 
include roughly 25% more in the total population, over and above 
the city total. For the purposes of this study, census figures 
of the city proper were used in all chapters, to maintain 
consistency between decades when one or the other new areas were 
not included yet.) 

During the 1980' s, the library's collection was enlarged by 

47 



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51 



48 

4 0%, from 68,720 volumes to "96,094 volumes . (see Table A-l) Of 
the three decades under study, this was the lowest percentage 
increase in collection size. Adult collection increased 36%; 
juvenile collection increased by 52% however* This trend is the 
opposite of what occurred in the 1970' s, when the adult 
collection registered the larger increase* The average number 
of volumes added annually was 8,056. Comparing decades, the 
library doubled the number of volumes added every ten years. 

Between 1973 and 1985, five children f s librarians were 
hired, four reference librarians, seven administrative 
assistants, and five heads of circulation. 89 In the 198 0's the 
Kent Free Library's staffing turnover rate began to slow. In 1985 
Noreen Bobersky was hired as children's librarian; "Mrs. B" has 
conducted many popular programs for over seven years now. 
Reference staff has changed slightly, but remains at four, which 
includes the Assistant Director, Pam Simones. Her Bachelor 1 s 
degree is from Vassar College, she holds an M.A. from College of 
William and Mary, and her MLS is from Kent State University. 
Simones worked as a reference librarian at Kent Free from 1977 to 
1980, worked at the Akron-Summit County Public Library and then 
returned as Kent Free's Assistant Director in 1989. 

During the fall of 1980 the board of trustees began to 
consider implementing a circulating collection of the latest 
audiovisual format: videocassettes. 90 Through a survey 
published in the Record-Courier and handed out at the circulation 
desk, the public was asked for its input: did patrons want 



videos, and if so which format, VHS or Betamax, and titles would 
they prefer? A listing was displayed of titles available for a 
starter collection. Patrons liked the idea, so for a six-month 
trial period, winter 1981-82, the library circulated 23 VHS 
videos to any patron over 18, for a $1,00 fee per title. The 
response was overwhelmingly positive; in 1982 those 23 tapes were 
checked out 318 times. (In March of 1982 Kent Free added a few 
titles from the NOLA video circuit; separate statistics are not 
available for these,) The collection was tripled in size the next 
year, and circulation also tripled: 61 tapes circulated 1,018 
times. The collection was augmented in leaps and bounds to keep 
pace with demand, with approximately 20 titles every two months 
from NOLA's rotating stock, and new purchases using the rental 
fees collected. By June 1984, the library had boosted the 
collection to 170 of their own titles, which went out 1,308 times 
in those six months — a 100% increase over 1983, 91 The most 
astounding video statistic, however, occurred in 1990, when 
circulation skyrocketed from 8,801 (each video went out 7,1 
times), to 27,440 — an amazing 17,3 circs per video. The number 
of video titles had only been increased by 28%, but circulation 
increased by 212%, There are a couple of reasons for this: (1) 
the $1,00 per video rental fee was dropped in 1989; (2) the limit 
and length of loan were increased: instead of three videos for 
three days, one could take five videos for seven days. 
Subsequently, patrons took out more titles at a time, (3) 
Axitomated circulation meant items were checked back in much more 



50 

quickly, and thus shelved more quickly as well. Still , with no 
changes in policy, video circulation increased by 15% in 1991 and 
by 38% in 1992 (see Table A-4) . The library has found an 
immensely popular item that continues to grow in popularity. 

Compact discs were added to the collection in 1987 92 ; the 
collection now numbers 932 and had a circulation of 9,646 in 
1992. (Table A-4; CDs included in Recordings figures) 

New in 1980 services for children: "Dial-a-Story , " a 
separate phone line set up with 24-hour recordings of children's 
stories and folk tales. Tapes were changed every week or so. It 
was an instant success: over 150 callers a day heard the four- 
minute messages; in the first six months of the service, the line 
received 20,000 calls. Due to the incredibly high demand and the 
fact that only one person could call in at a time, the library 
had to keep publicity low-key, and only give out the number to 
those who asked for it. 93 Dial-a-Story is still operating in 
the 1990 f s, although the volume of callers has decreased. In 
1980, annual calls totalled 42,000, with an average of 1200 calls 
every week. From 1983 to '8-4, the volume of calls decreased by 
85%; by 1990, the most recent statistics available, total yearly 
calls had been 5,901, and an average week's tally was 135. 94 
Dial-a-story was an extremely popular idea when new, but after 
the novelty wore off, use dropped sharply. With the ^xtreme 
popularity of children's videos, which can entertain a child for 
even longer periods of time than a four-minute call, Dial-a-story 
has been outdone. 



In 1984 the library's first annual Spring Bake-Off for 
children was held; the bake-off has been an extremely delicious 
and well-liked program for eight years now. Another offbeat item 
the library obtained for circulating was made possible through a 
1983 program with the Polaroid Corporation and the American 
Library Association. "Sun" instant cameras were made available 
for patrons to check out for free for two weeks. 95 The 
children *s room staff included these in their "Birthday Boxes," 
which were new for 1983: kits with books, tapes, puppets, 
activities and of course a specially shaped cake pan, for hosting 
a child's birthday party. Kent Free Library reference 

librarian and actor James Freeman starred in a staff -written, 
one-man play profiling the life of Andrew Carnegie during this 
period. It was performed on the 150th anniversary of Andrew 
Carnegie's birthday April 20, 1986, at the annual Trustees Tea, 
and twice during National Library Week. 96 

Other programs and services for adults included free income 
tax help; a TravelOhio display of sightseeing brochures every 
June; a newsletter for teachers and numerous bibliographies; free 
Sign Language classes; a guitar ensemble performance; and a very 
successful program on "Public Relations for Clubs," with local 
media representatives sharing publicity tips and t^'ocedures. The 
adult book discussion group continued, as well. 

The library's book auction of the 1950 's evolved into the 
annual book sale, staffed by student or retired citizen 
volunteers. It was held on the lawn in back of the library for 



52 

many years, then in 1980 was held as part of KentFest, the 
downtown fair • 97 The venue and date changed again in the mid- 
eighties, when the library used the garage of the law offices 
across River Street and held" the sale as part of National Library 
Week celebrations in April or in the dog days of August* In the 
fall of 1992 the sale was moved to Kent Roosevelt High School as 
part of their Teddyville celebration; this gave the school a 
share of the profits in return for their help in organizing and 
running the sale, which had grown to be too large for library 
staff to undertake each year. The library's portion of the 
proceeds went to the Kent Free Library Foundation^Dn January 1st, 
1986, a new Ohio law went into effect that had a profound effect 
on the state's public libraries, including the Kent Free, The 
state government repealed the locally-levied intangibles tax law, 
which had become inadequate to support most libraries' budgets, 
and replaced it with the Library and Local Government Support 
Fund (LLGSF) , which came from 6.3% of the state income tax 
revenue* This new means of funding was more equitable, for it 
consisted of a (1) Guaranteed Share of funds given to libraries, 
that would always at least equal the previous year's funds plus 
inflation; and (2) an Equalization Share, which would divide up 
the excess tax money according to a population-based equalization 
formula. Under the new law, Kent Free Library's tax revenue 
increased nearly 12% from 1985 to 1986. The next year, funds 
increased 32%. LLGSF was an immediate improvement over 
intangibles for Kent, within two years- — in no single previous 



56 



year had the library received as great an increase in tax income. 
Because of the way the law was structured, funding looked to be 
improving for many years to come. The average annual tax increase 
received by Kent from 1981-85 was 10.7%, whereas after LLGSF went 
into effect, 1986-1990, Kent Free received an average annual 
increase of 16% (see Table A-3) . 

When it came time to allot Kent Free's budget to salaries 
and to material in 1981-1990, on the average, 47.5% of the budget 
went to salaries, and 21.5% to materials. To accommodate 
videotape acquisitions, the 1982 audiovisual budget was increased 
95% over that of 1981, Only a modest increase was used when 
introducing CDs into the collection, however. 

During the eighties Director Celigoj secured two federally- 
funded grants for new service projects at Kent Free Library. In 
1982 she got the library a $21,938 federal grant, from LSCA Title 
II funds, for Project CAT (Computer Access Today) . The money was 
used to purchase two IBM personal computers for public use, along 
with printers, software packages such as word processing and 
games, books, computer magazine subscriptions, and wages for a 
part-time clerk to teach one-hour computer orientation classes to 
patrons. According to Celigoj, CAT was the first computer 
literacy project done in the Kent area, and it later served as a 
model for several other library programs concerning computers for 
the public. The Project CAT promotional campaign was featured in 
ALA's "Great Library Promotion Ideas 11 booklet, one of 40 ideas 
from around the country. During the project year, over 1,000 



54 

people completed orientation sessions (4% of the population of 
Kent) ; the terminals were used by about a dozen people a day. 
CAT proved to be a timely and successful project; the computers 
remain popular with the public, and the library has continued to 
upgrade and improve its computer hardware and software. 98 

The library already used a computer for cataloging 
materials, called Bibliofile. This, and getting personal 
computers for certain staff functions, was the beginning of the 
Kent Free Library's move into integrated computer technology for 
patrons and staff alike. 

Another grant Celigoj secured for the Kent Free Library 
during this time was a $9,328 LSCA Title I award for Project 
MAZE — Manage A to Z Easily. It ran from July 1985 to June 1986. 
This adult literacy project focused on acquiring materials for 
adults teaching themselves to read or attending reading classes 
taught in the library through the Adult Basic Education program. 
With these funds the library purchased 500 books for adult new 
readers on topics such as car repairs, how to get a driver's 
license, and fiction titles, and materials to promote the 
program. After the successful initial year, the service continued 
to be provided by the library." 

In 1987, the 200th anniversary of the U. S. Constitution, 
the Kent free Library was one of 18 Ohio libraries selected by 
the National Endowment for the Humanities to participate in 
"Bicentennial Bookshelf." This program provided money to 
purchase reference and circulating materials that would form a 



ERLC 



53 



55 

diverse collection pertaining to the history and nature of the 
Constitution. Matching funds were needed locally in order to 
obtain the grant, and again members of the Hinds family showed 
their commitment to the Kent Free Library: Comfort S. Martin, 
granddaughter of George E* Hinds, and Carrie Anne Martin, Hinds' 
great-granddaughter, donated the needed $500 100 . 

The 1977 addition worked well for a few years, but as had 
been projected by the 1975 consultants' report, more space was 
going to be needed soon to alleviate the crowding and keep pace 
with the library's growth. Working conditions for staff were 
becoming intolerable, as they tried to make do with the cramped 
spaces in the old Carnegie building. 

In 1983, phase two of "the consultants' expansion plans was 
implemented. The library planned a 6,000 sq. ft. two story 
addition, to expand the library's south and east sides in an "L M 
shape. The top floor was for added stacks area, more seating for 
patrons, an Ohio History room, and workroom areas for staff. The 
bottom floor would provide increased space for the children's 
department and include a new conference room. An expanded 
parking lot was also part of the plan. 101 This largest 
expansion project yet in the Kent Free Library's history, 
expanding its floor space by 50% of the previous size — to 18,000 
sq. ft., was made possible in part by the largest bequest ever 
received by the library. 

The estate of Dr. and Mrs. Florence Turner, a longtime 
library patron and library board trustee for 21 years, bestowed 



56 

$300,000 upon the library. With this in hand, the library 
applied for and won a $253,094 federal Emergency Jobs 
Bill/Library Service and Construction Act Title II grant, 
administered by the State Library of Ohio, which required an 
equal share of local funds. 102 Kent was one of 18 Ohio 
libraries to received a grant that year, in one of the largest 
amounts awarded. As had happened in the past when the library 
funded expansions, this total of $453,094 was not going to be 
enough to both construct and furnish the addition, so a 
fundraising campaign aimed at clubs and civic organizations was 
undertaken at the same time the plans were announced. The 
campaign's goal was $40,000/ which would cover the costs of not 
only tables, chairs, and steel shelving, but a sorely needed new 
card catalog unit. Two of the many citizens of Kent who 
contributed to the fund were Mary Hinds Bopp and Edith Hinds 
West, granddaughters of George E. Hinds, one of the Kent Free 
Library's most important early founders and a trustee until 1920. 
They donated $1,000 in memory of him. 

By February 1985 the fundraising committee had completed 
their task, with a $1,000 donation from Ameritech that put the 
fund over $41, 500. 103 For her efforts as chairperson of the 
committee and her overall work on behalf of the library, 
Catherine Dumm, former trustee, received the OLA "Citizen of the 
Year Award" in 1985. 104 

Three houses on West Main Street had been purchased by the 
library in the late seventies (the "Bartsche property," see 

ERLC h[} 



57 

illustration on p. 58) ; their demolition marked the official 
start of construction on the "Turner Addition." The library 
managed to remain open normal hours of business for almost the 
entire period of construction; there were a few closings of a day 
or two for electrical work and carpet installation, and 
occasionally portions of the collection were inaccessible to 
patrons while shelving was installed or moved. Construction was 
completed in August 1984, and the official dedication ceremony 
was held January 13, 1985. 105 - The library received a second Immy 
Award from the city of Kent for the Turner addition. 

In 1988 the Leland Keller Ohio History Room was created, out 
of the small second-story work room that had originally been the 
front entrance foyer of the 1902 Carnegie library. Using a 
$5,000 gift from Kent Rotary, the room was decorated entirely 
with locally obtained materials in a turn of the century style. 
Keller was president of Home Savings and Loan Association and 
past president of Rotary, among other activities during his 
lifetime of service to the community. The Keller Room contains 
the library 1 s collection of history and travel materials on the 
city of Kent, Portage and neighboring counties, and other areas 
in the state of Ohio. The Keller Room was officially dedicated 
on April 16, 1989. 106 



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FLOOR PLAN - LOWER LEVEL 



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FLOOR PLAN - UPPER LEVEL 



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CHAPTER X. 
AUTOMATION AND THE FUTURE: 1991-1992 



As the 1990 's began, the Kent Free Library entered a new era 
in library operations, as it became fully automated in both 
circulation, public catalog, and technical processing, and 
thereby linked with Reed Memorial's and Portage County District 
Library's holdings. (see map, p. 65) The joint boards of 
trustees had been working on making the transition for many 
years; money was the greatest obstacle. The three libraries 
established the Portage County Consortium in order to reduce 
costs to each member library through resource sharing. From this 
time forward the LLGSF tax money received by the county would be 
divided into four parts instead of three, so that a specified 
amount would go directly to the Consortium to pay for the 
continuing costs of automation. All circulation policies had to 
b^ unified as well, so that online, loan periods and fine levels 
would be consistent. After careful study of several online 
systems, the Consortium agreed to select Inlex (produced by 
Hewlitt-Packard) , primarily for its ease of operation for first- 
time computer users. 

In the Spring of 1990, the library staff inventoried its 
entire collection (96,094 volumes); retrospective conversion to 
database and printing of "smart" barcodes (containing 
author/title/call number as well as barcode number) was completed 
by the Fall of 1990. The library then closed to the public for 

63 



o €3 
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64 

the week of December 17-25, 1990 in order for all staff to be 
able to barcode the majority of the collection. (The other 
Portage County libraries also closed during the winter, on a 
staggered schedule.) The week before Christmas is historically 
the Kent Free Library's slowest in terms of circulation and in- 
house use, so closing then inconvenienced the least amount of 
patrons, and with advance advertisement the library was able to 
get a large number of materials returned by this time. From her 
prior experience in automating, Assistant Director Simones had 
found that this was the fastest and most efficient way to barcode 
the greatest number of items with the least amount of errors, 
rather than trying to barcode while conducting normal library 
business. (The only glitch in the whole process was the 
incorrect conversion of the -library's entire audiovisual 
collection; classical music was placed in the biographies, and so 
forth. By the end of 1992, records for videos, compact disks and 
audiocassettes had been corrected and only the record album 
collection remained to be fixed and returned to circulation.) 107 

Planning for the Turner addition of 1985 had included 
provisions for computer installation, so very little additional 
work was needed to the physical facility in order to accommodate 
wiring and terminals, although the fit was not as ideal as it 
would have been with a building built entirely in recent years. 
Circulation and cataloging terminals came online in March 1991, 
after staff had received training on the new system. From 
January, patrons were being reregistered for new cards. The 



70 



PORTAGE COUNTY 




71 



public access catalog terminals came online in May 1991, and at 
the same time the library's card catalog was removed, due to 
space limitations and in order to insure that patrons learned how 
to use the new catalog. 

With the new system Kent Free's patrons now had access to 
all of the county f s holdings: 298,000 items in 1990 (Portage 
County District, with four branches and a bookmobile, has the 
largest individual collection, but it is only about 7% larger 
than that of Kent Free, which was 96,094 in 1990- ). 108 They 
could see instantly if a book was on loan, and via daily delivery 
of reserved books, timely receive a copy from another Portage 
County library, or use their new card in person at any county 
library • The Inlex system greatly aided staff in their jobs, 
allowing easier and more accurate inventories of the collection, 
for example. Staff and patrons alike viewed automation as a 
welcome and long overdue addition to the library. 

Another new technology "brought to the Kent Free Library in 
the 90 f s was the CD-ROM. In 1991, the library began using 
TOMCAT , the catalog of holdings for all NOLA libraries and 
automated inter-library loan system, and obtained Facts On File 
and DiscLit American Authors (Twayne f s U.S. Authors biographies). 
In 1992, Kent obtained the Baker and Taylor Link, which is the 
CD-ROM equivalent of Books In Print plus audiovisual materials, 
and is used in making acquisitions. In the future, according to 
Simones, the library intends to expand its CD-ROM capabilities to 
include many more reference tools now occupying large amounts of 



67 

space in their print form, such as telephone books and other 
multi-volume sets. 109 

Total circulation for 1991 showed an increase of 2 3% over 
1990 circulation: from 318,839 to 391,821 (see Table A-l) . 
Including the 12% increase in 1992 figures (439,276), the rate of 
circulation increase for the three years 90-92 was 38%. Average 
number of items borrowed per patron (total circulation divided by 
total number of registered borrowers) was 24 in 1992. When 
Celigoj started as director , # in 1974, Kent Free Library ranked 
88th out of 250 Ohio public libraries in total annual 
circulation. By 1990 the library had moved up to 73rd. 110 

In terms of its budget, the library experienced a slight 
decrease in LLGSF funding from 1991 to 1992, as a result of the 
1990 freeze on funds from state income taxes. Kent Free received 
8% less tax money in 1992 (see Table A-3) . The percentage of 
money allocated to salaries was 50% in 1992, and 20% went to 
materials. The latter included over $4,000 for CD-ROMs. Staff 
numbers remained stable during this two-year period; the 
library's fulltime equivalent was 21.2 (including four reference 
librarians, two children's librarians, a public relations 
coordinator, an administrative assistant, full and parttime staff 
at circulation and technical processing, and pages) . 

The Kent Free Library is a vital part of the Kent community. 
It has been so since its founding 90 years ago. Kent Free 
provides informational, cultural, and recreational services to 
its community, as well as to all of Portage County. The library 



o 73 
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68 

has been challenged by periods of extremely fast growth in 
circulation and in-house use, which filled the building to 
capacity and beyond, necessitating three expansions to the 
original Carnegie building. Over the 38-year period the library 
has seen many changes, such as increased funding due to the 
adoption of the Library and Local Government Support Fund, a 
staff doubled in size to better serve the larger numbers of 
people using the library, and an improved collection that now 
includes compact disks and videocassettes. Nearing its 100th 
anniversary, the Kent Free Library looks to the future for new 
technologies and services with which to provide the people of 
Kent. 



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74 



SOURCES CONSULTED 

Published Material: 

Akron Beacon Journal articles, 1975-1992 . 

Ohio Directory of Libraries , Columbus, Ohio: Ohio State Library, 
1963-1979. 

Public Library Services in Portage County; An Analysis For 

Planning . Kent, Ohio, Center For Urban Regionalism, Kent 
State University, 1970. 

Kent Courier-Ravenna Evening Record, Ravenna Record-Courier 
articles, 1955-1992. 

Statistics of Ohio Libraries . Columbus, Ohio: Ohio State 
Library, 1980-1992. 

■ 

U.S. Bureau of Census. 1990 Census of the United States . 
Population. 

Unpublished Material: 

Annual reports of the Kent Free Library, 1975-1992. 

Minutes of the Board of Trustees monthly meetings, Kent Free 

Library, 1948-1992, 
Statistical reports kept at the Kent Free Library, 1958-1992. 



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69 



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1. Mac Campbell, pp. 11-15. 

2. Mac Campbell, A History of the Kent (Ohio) Free Library , pp. 15- 
20. 

3. Mac Campbell, p. 22. 

4. Mac Campbell, p. 50. 

5. Harrick, pp. 20-23 . 

6. Based on census figures: 12,418 in 1950 and 17,836 in 1960 

7. Mac Campbell, p. 77. 

8. Trustee's minutes, chart of 1958 figures 

9. Directory of Ohio Libraries 1958. 

10. Trustees minutes, October 2, 1946. 

11. Trustees minutes, December 1956. 

12. Author's telephone interview with Martha Vasbinder, July 11, 
1993. 

13. Trustees minutes, ?October 1957 

14.1951 figures from Harrick, Appendix VIII ; 1957-1960 figures from 
trustees' annual statistical reports. 

15. Exact figures were only found for book collection and magazine 
subscriptions, in Harrick, p. 42. 

16. Campbell, p. 62. 

17. Telephone interview, July 11, 1993. 

18. Trustees' 1960 statistical report. 

19 . Record-Courier , December "24, 1960. 

2 0. Akron Beacon Journal , February 4, 1960. 

2 1 . Record-Courier . October 1, 1956. 

22. Harrick, p. 23. 

23. Harrick, p. 45. 

24. Harrick, p. 88-89. 

70 



6 



25. Board of trustees minutes, June 15, 1955. 

2 6. Board minutes, December 7», 1955. 

27 . Record-Courier . March 2, 1955. 

28. Board minutes, May 9, 1956. 

2 9 . Record-Courier . June 1957. 

3 0. Board minutes, 1957. 

31. Board minutes, March 4, 1959. 

32. Board minutes, May 6, 1959. 

33. Board minutes, November 4, 1959; Record-Courier , 1959. 
34 . ibid. 

3 5. Board minutes, September 2, 1959. 

36. Board minutes, September 2 and November 4, 1959. 

37. Board minutes, January 13 w 1960. 

38. Board minutes, March 2, 1960. 

39. Board minutes, special session March 16, 1960. 

40. Board minutes, special session August 19, 1960. 

4 1 . Record-Courier . December 28, 1960. 

42. Board minutes, March 1, 1961. 

4 3 . Record-Courier . November 16, 1960. 

4 4. Board minutes, September 7, 1960. 

45. Board minutes, November 2, 1960. 

4 6 . Record-Courier . November 16, 1960. 

4 7 . Record-Courier . July 21, 1961. 

4 8 . Record-Courier . 1961? 

49. Trustees minutes, November 2, 1960. 

50. Akron Beacon Journal , June 29, 1961. 

71 



77 



51. Trustees minutes, March 7, 1962. 

52. Board minutes, July 11 f 1962. 

53 . Record-Courier , November 16, 1962. 

54. Board minutes, November 4, 1964. 

55. Board minutes, November 6, 1963. 

56 . Record-Courier , March 7, 1967. 

57. October 14, 1965 Record-Courier and Sembsmoen's trainee 
application. 

58. Trustees minutes, May 1, 1968 and December 11, 1968. 

59. Board minutes, September 5, 1962. 

60 . Record-Courier f August 28, 1987 

61. Trustees minutes, December 7, 1966. 

62. Various Record-Courier articles during the period, and trustees 
minutes March 4, 1970. 

63 . Record-Courier , December ? 1972. 

64. Trustees minutes, February 7, 1973 and March 7, 1973. 

65. Trustees minutes, October 6, 1971 and September 6, 1972. 

66. Taken from trustees minutes April 1973 through April 1974, and 
Record-Courier articles on July 2, 1974 and March 20, 1975. 

67. Trustees minutes, November 4, 1973, July 17, 1975 and August 21, 
1975; interview with Carmen Celigoj, April 12, 1993. 

68. Trustees minutes, May 20, 1976. 

69. November 18, 1977 Record-Courier . 

70. Trustees minutes of the Kent Free Library Board, 1960-1970. 

71. NOLA "Application for Charter as a Metropolitan Library System." 

72. Trustees minutes, January 15, 1975. 

7 3. Trustees minutes, March 10, 1976; May 20, 1976; and September 8, 
1977. 

74 . Record-Courier , October 27, 1979. 

72 



° 78 
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75 •Trustees minutes, November 8, 1979. 

7 6 . Record-Courier 8/7/80 

77 . Interviews with Carmen Z. Celigoj. 

78. Trustees minutes, January 12, 1972. 

79. May 29, 1975 Record-Courier 

80 . Record-Courier December 1977. 

81. Flyer, in PR notebook. 

82. July 1977 Record-Courier and "Kent Free Library Addition 1983, 
Library Director f s Program Statement." 

83 . Record-Courier May 20, 1975 

84 . Record-Courier June 22, 1977 

8 5. Trustees minutes, October 13, 1977. 

8 6 . Record-Courier , Fall 1978 

87 . Record-Courier , October 30, 1978. 

88 . Record-Courier July 8, 1983 

89.1985 letter to board of trustees from Celigoj. 

9 0 . Record-Courier . November 18, 1980. 

91. Library document, "Videocassettes — Evaluation of the service at 
the Kent Free Library," 1984. 

92 . Record-Courier , March 23, 1987. 

93 . Record-Courier July 19, 1980 

94. Tally sheets kept by various staff members. 

95. May 1983 Record-Courier 

96 . Record-Courier April 4, 1986 and trustees minutes, March 13, 
1986 

97. June 23, 1980 Record-Courier 

98 . Record-Courier articles , January 14 , 1983 and September 12 , 
1985; 1986 letter to board of trustees from Celigoj. 

73 



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99. Trustees minutes, June 20, 1985; 1986 letter to trustees from 
Celigoj . 

100. Press release, Sept. 21, 1987. 

101. Record-Courier July 8, 1983 

102 . Record-Courier December 14, 1983 and letter to trustees, 1986. 

103 . Record-Courier February 8, 1985 

104. Trustees minutes, September 12, 1985 

10 5. Trustees minutes, February 8, 1985 

106. Record-Courier . April 17, 1989. 

107. Personal interviews with Pam Simones, May 1993. 

108. Portage County Consortium fact sheet, 1990. 
109. Interview with Simones. 

110. Source: Statistics of Ohio Libraries , 1991. 




74 



0 



Table A-l 



Collection and Circulation 





Year 


Adult Volumes Juv. 


Volumes Total 


Volumes 


Adult Circ. 


Juv. Circ. 


Total Circ. 


1 


1958 


— 


— 


17,675 


54,457 


55,691 


119,265 


2 


1959 


— 


— 


18,147 


61 ,552 


— 


125,443 


3 


1960 


12,856 


6,598 


19,454 


52,668 


61 ,995 


127,123 


4 


1961 


13,258 


7,270 


20,528 




— 


125,415 


5 


1962 


— 


— 


22,367 


69,083 


— 


131 ,062 


6 


1963 


— 


— 


23,791 


68,772 


— 


1 13,703 


7 


1964 


— 




24,812 


*58,857 


58,556 


138,425 


8 


1965 


15,615 


9,290 


24,905 


*58,408 


54,498 


133,171 


9 


1966 


13,233 


1 0,106 


26,339 


*59,024 


57,463 


136,342 


1 0 


1967 


— 




28,272 


70,190 


— 


130,801 


1 1 


1 968 


— 


- - - 


30,553 


69,928 


- - - 


136,748 


1 2 


1969 


— 


- - - 


31 ,983 


63,407 


47,313 


134,202 


13 


1970 


- - - 




33,272 


74,780 




131 ,615 


14 


1971 


— 


- . - 


35,390 


69,498 


• • * 


1 1 9,378 


1 5 


1972 






35,057 


74,553 




125,676 


1 6 


1 973 


25,303 


1 2,486 


37,789 


70,931 


64,728 


135,659 


1 7 


1974 


26,753 


13,51 7 


40,270 


82,556 


64,731 


147,287 


18 


1975 


28,247 


14,383 


42,630 


85,944 


56,835 


1 62,766 


19 


1976 


32,214 


14,992 


47,206 


95,504 


60,812 


173,815 


20 


1977 


33,943 


15,123 


49,066 


92,294 


59,958 


163,409 


21 


1978 


38,708 


15,686 


54,394 


1 09,273 


65,625 


198,404 


22 


1979 


41 ,850 


16,253 


58,103 


1 12,140 


63,737 


204,049 


23 


1980 


44,886 


16,673 


61 ,559 


121 ,738 


60,298 


208,159 


24 


1981 


52,646 


1 6,074 


68,720 


1 1 0,287 


60,825 


205,188 


25 


1982 


55,349 


16,832 


72,181 


131 ,779 


66,524 


223,306 


26 


1983 


58,257 


18,995 


77,252 


135,325 


70,601 


233,541 


27 


1984 


63,004 


19,599 


82,603 


122,395 


73,714 


224,030 


28 


1985 


65,301 


18,314 


83,61 5 


138,845 


84,466 


264,128 


29 


1986 


67,393 


19,464 


86,857 


137,638 


84,739 


269,31 9 


30 


1987 


71 ,028 


1 9,662 


90,690 


143,079 


94,137 


280,31 0 


31 


1 988 


69,160 


20,101 


89,261 


136,994 


93,277 


270,890 


32 


1989 






84,868 


175,924 


103,409 


279,431 


33 


1990 


71,640 


24,454 


96,094 


*204,766 


114,073 


318,839 


34 


1991 


TOTAL BOOKS: 


97,030 


1 1 0,868 


*245,550 


146,271 


391,821 


35 


1992 


TOTAL BOOKS: 


104,169 


1 I 4,626 


198,586 


157,820 


439,276 



SI 



ERIC 



Graph A-2 



Kent Free Library Circulation, Selected Years 



800000 



600000 



E 



3 400000 - 



o 
> 



200000 




1958 1963 1968 1973 1978 1983 1988 1992 

Year 



Total Circ. 
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9 

ERIC 



T-WCO^mtDNCOOOT-CMCO^inCDN 



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Table A-IT 



Table A-6 



Portage Cty. Per Capita Tax Registered Borrowers, 1958-1992 



Year 


Per Capita Tax 


Year 


Cardholders 


1970 


2.31 


1958 


7128 


1971 


2.50 


1959 


... 


1972 


2.52 


1960 


7405 


1973 


2.93 


1961 


7830 


1974 


3.15 


1962 


... 


1975 


3.67 


1963 


... 


1976 


4.24 


1964 


... 


1977 


4.56 


1965 


9622 


1978 


4.85 


1966 


9541 


1979 


5.15 


1967 


... 


1980 


5.39 


1968 


... 


1981 


5.90 


1969 


... 


1982 


6.87 


1970 


... 


1983 




1971 


10244 


1984 


7.61 


1972 


— 


1985 


8.98 


1973 


— 


1986 


10.45 


1974 


— 


1987 


13.69 


1975 


11752 


1988 


15.58 


1976 


11539 


1989 


17.65 


1977 


... 


1990 


18.75 


1978 


... 


1991 


18.97 


1979 


12615 


1992 




1980 


12927 






1981 


13067 






1982 


14012 






1983 


14301 






1984 


15886 






1985 


17050 






1986 


17321 






1987 


17537 






1988 


17369 






1989 








1990 








1991 


12936 






1992 


18193 



r,7 

ERIC 



School of Library and Information Science 

(216)672-2782 
Fax 216-672-7965 




P O Box 5190. Kent, Ohio 44242-0001 



CONSENT FORM: A HISTORY OF THE KENT FREE LIBRARY, 1958-1992 

I wish to research the history of the Kent Free Library from 
1958 to 1992. I want to do so because there is no written history 
of the library covering this period, and creating one will provide 
a document for patrons and staff that synthesizes all the existing 
separate records of the period and shows how the library has grown 
and improved in this 30+ year period. I would like you to take 
part in this project. If you decide to do this, you will be asked 
to answer a few factual questions regarding major events and 
policies of the Kent Free Library during the years you have 
been/were connected with it. These interview sessions will last 
approximately one to two hours, during the last weeks of December 
or into January if needed. You will be asked questions regarding 
any matter that cannot be resolved from reading existing records. 

There will be no risk to you other than those encountered in 
everyday life. If you take part in this project you will be 
helping me to complete the story of the Kent Free Library so that 
future patrons and friends of the library can read about its 
development. Taking part in this project is entirely up to you, 
and no one will hold it against you if you decide not to do it. If 
you do take part, you may stop at any time. I will not release any 
information attributed to you without your written consent. 

If you want to know more about this research project, please 
call me at (216) 677-9423, or my adviser Dr. Rick Rubin at (216) 
929-1946. This project has been approved by Kent State University. 
If you have questions about Kent State University's rules for 
research, please call Dr. Adrian de Vries, (216) 672-2070. 

You will get a copy of this consent form. 

sincerely, 

Christina Getrost, Graduate Student, Library Science 
551 Franklin Ave., Kent, OH 44240-3535 



CONSENT STATEMENT: 

I agree to take part in this project. I know what I will have to 
do and that I can stop at any time. 



Signature Date 



13 



ERIC