EARLY BEGINNINGS – 1840s
The Clark County Public Library had its first real beginnings around the year 1841 with what was then known as the Springfield Lyceum. Various short-lived Library Associations followed and the library found a more permanent home on the second floor of Black’s Opera House. The library housed 3,300 volumes when it opened to the public at this location in 1872. As patronage and the collection expanded, the need for yet another move set in and the library relocated in 1877 to the second floor of the Union Hall Building, which was situated on what is today Fountain Avenue.
A GIFT TO THE COMMUNITY – 1890
Local entrepreneur Benjamin Warder gave the library a new location on the southwest corner of East High and South Spring Streets in 1890 with a building constructed in memory of his parents, and dedicated to the people of Springfield. This location now houses the Warder Literacy Center. Library service continued to expand and grow at this new location. The year 1936 saw the first Bookmobile service to the area, with a homemade trailer that could carry 500 books. The 1950’s and 1960’s brought about the expansion of the library in the form of branches at Park Shopping Center, Southern Village Shopping Center, and in the villages of Enon and South Charleston.
THE LIBRARY SYSTEM GROWS – 1989 AND BEYOND
The Main Library moved to its new state-of-the-art facility on Fountain Avenue in 1989. Since moving to this new location, the breadth of our services and programs has increased to better serve the needs of the community. In 2016-2017, a renovation and expansion of the main entrances took place to provide more space for community meetings, programming, reading and study.
All of our 5 locations have recently been updated with renovations or new buildings. Each facility now has community meeting spaces, WiFi access, public computers, dedicated children’s and teen areas, expanded reading and study areas, and expanded collections available for checkout that include books/audiobooks, music, movies, video games, eBooks, digital magazines, digital collections like Hoopla and Kanopy, framed art (Main Library) and more!
Our bookmobile sprinter van (2017) and full-size bookmobile cover numerous community stops (schools, daycare centers, nursing homes, etc.).
The broad spectrum of locations allows our materials and services to be more accessible to all Clark County residents. For all of your resource needs the Clark County Public Library is “The Information Place.”
LENSKI CHILDREN’S CENTER
Why is our children’s area called the Lenski Children’s Center?
Lois Lenski was born October 14, 1893 in Springfield, Ohio. Her father was a Lutheran minister. The family moved from Springfield to Anna, Ohio in 1899.
Lois graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in education from the Ohio State University. While a student at Ohio State, she was chosen as art editor of the yearbook. After graduating from college, she attended the Art Students League in New York City and the Westminster School of Art in London, England.
Encouraged by others to write her own stories to accompany her drawings, Skipping Village, her first book, was published in 1927. In 1946, she was awarded the Newbery Medal for Strawberry Girl, one of the regional American series. Lois Lenski not only wrote and illustrated almost 100 books of her own, but also illustrated 57 children’s books by others.
The Children’s Room of the Warder Public Library was named the Lenski Room in honor of her sixtieth birthday in October 1953. She attended the ceremony and donated many of her works to the library. In the new Clark County Public Library, the Lenski Children’s Center displays these items, including works that have been translated into other languages. We also have books in our circulating collection written and illustrated by Lois Lenski. If you are interested in reading further about Lois Lenski, her autobiography, Journey Into Childhood, is an excellent resource and demonstrates her talent as a writer as well as her love of writing and drawing for children.