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Library History & Timeline

1887
Fifty women, lead by Mrs. E.O. Huggins, Mary B. Mitchell and Helen Purdy Weaver meet at Mrs. Weaver’s home to make plans for a free public library for Mansfield.
1889
The Mansfield Memorial Library Association begins operations in the Soldiers and Sailors’ Memorial Building on September 3.
1892
First tax levied for library service in Mansfield.
1902
$5,000 trust fund left to the Memorial Library Association by John C. Larwill.
1903
Head Librarian Martha Mercer travels to New York and is granted $35,000 from Andrew Carnegie for the purpose of constructing a library in Mansfield.
1904
Mary Sherman McCallum donates 700 volumes from Senator John Sherman’s personal library to the public library.
1905
The library board is given the deed to Grace Episcopal Church, 43 West Third Street. Architect Vernon Redding is chosen to design the new library. First Children’s story hour held in library rooms of the Memorial Building.
1908
New Carnegie building is dedicated on December 19.
1912
First tax levied for county library service marks the beginning of extension work.
1914
Helen Fox becomes Head Librarian.
1915
Gas light fixtures converted to electricity. First telephone installed in the library building.
1924
City Council transfers the library to the Mansfield City School District Public Library Board.
1927
Helen Keating Ott is hired as the system’s first Children’s Librarian.
1929
A branch library is established at John Simpson Junior High School.
1931
Mildred Sandhoe becomes head librarian after Helen Fox’s death. The library board purchases a bookmobile to serve outlying areas of the county.
1933
The 25 year-old Carnegie Building is renovated and thoroughly cleaned by crews from the Civil Work Administration.
1937
Lois MacKellar is hired as head librarian.
1945
Voters approved an $80,000 bond issue for expansion of the Main Library.
1948
Voters approve an additional $50,000 bond issue.
1951
Building project completed.
1963
The second floor of the building is remodeled—double-layered “steel stacks” added. Arthur T. Dickinson Jr. named Director.
1967
First photocopy machine and payphone added.
1977
The library abandons the “school district library” designation—becomes Mansfield/Richland County Public Library.
1978
Jeffrey Krull hired as Library Director after the sudden death of A.T. Dickinson.
1982
The library joins the computer age by purchasing TRS 80 microcomputers for public use. Videocassettes are also introduced into the collection.
1986
A new Plymouth Branch opens, due largely to the generosity of 100 year old Plymouth resident Rhea Stambaugh. Edward M. Kieczykowski becomes Director when J.R. Krull resigns to take a job in Ft. Wayne, Indiana. On the third try, a levy passes that will lead to a new main library as well as new and/or expanded branches.
1987
New or renovated branches are dedicated in Lexington, Bellville and Butler.
1989
Renovated Main Library reopens February 12th with ceremonies that include a speech by author George Plimpton. New Madison branch dedicated.
1990
Lucas Branch library opens.
1991
Joseph Palmer becomes Library Director.
1992
First Black History Month celebration held. Library begins “Literacy Connection,” an adult literacy program.
1994
MRCPL joins forces with Richland County Jobs and Family Services to sponsor “Information Line,” an information and referral service.
1996
The library offers public access to the Internet.
2000
Renovated and expanded Bellville Branch dedicated. The library goes live on the internet with MRCPL.ORG.
2001
A new Ontario Branch is opened.
2006
Crestview Branch opens.
2009
The State of Ohio cuts library funding during an economic recession—hours and staff are cut.
2017
Joseph Palmer retires and Chris May takes over as director of MRCPL.
2021
A new MRCPL Bookmobile begins bringing library materials and services to the community.

Library History: