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The word “community” is constantly with us, a word used so loosely that linguists question its effectiveness as part of the lexicon. But when we say community, we are using it in the original, narrower sense of the word: a geographically centered group of people whose lives are enriched, enhanced, improved even, by the shared experiences of the ‘community’ at large, a place defined not by city limits but by access to communal activities, a place where we share a sense of togetherness, though we may not talk or even know each other’s names. Such a place is our local public library.
The Dover Public Library has long served as the center of its community’s intellectual life. Even if you do not live in the city itself, the library is committed to the support of life-long learning, information, and opportunities for personal enrichment and to people of all ages and from all backgrounds in Dover and throughout the Tuscarawas Valley. For many years, in fact, programming for all ages has been an essential part of the Library’s mission. Infants, toddlers, and preschool children participate in story and craft times; senior citizens have access to free computer and technology training; and teens, a group that is often overlooked, have weekly YA Crew meetings, after-hour lock-ins, summer reading challenges, and community service projects. The library’s Books on Wheels program delivers materials to senior care facilities and homebound individuals in the Dover area. The Roots Cellar, a local history and genealogy room located in the library basement, helps the community by providing research materials and programming to help people “connect with their roots.” Fifteen computers with Internet access are available to patrons and the library’s online presence through its website allows patrons to reserve and renew materials, do research, and check out digital content 24 hours a day.
Founded in 1902 by the American Sheet and Tin Plate Company for its employees and the public, the first library was located at the corner of Front and Factory Streets (Tuscarawas Avenue) and contained over 2,000 books. Today, the library has grown to nearly 100,000 books, magazines, DVDs, CDs, video games and over 40,000 eBooks.
People of all ages and backgrounds visit the library on a daily basis to meet, learn, and discover. In fact, the Dover Public Library has over 20,000 registered library users despite the city itself having a population under 13,000. Over 140,000 patrons entered the library in 2015 and circulated over 414,000 items—a new library record. The library also presented 427 programs for over 12,000 people—from babies to seniors.
With success and expanded use, however, have come new needs, specifically for the library facility. The current building at 525 N. Walnut Street opened in 1954. Designed to serve a community of the 1950’s, it has become evident that the age and dated furnishings have pushed the Adult Department beyond its limits. The demands of advanced technology and expanded services are affecting the library’s ability to adequately serve its patrons’ needs:
- The building’s wiring can no longer support the increased electrical and technology demands.
- A growing teen population needs a defined space where the collection can be housed and targeted programming can occur.
- Aisles are too narrow for many disabled users and materials are shelved at unacceptable levels according to ADA standards.
- The shelving and furnishings themselves date largely from the 1950’s and need to be replaced.
- Community groups in need of meeting space often find themselves on a waiting list.
- Office and work space is inadequate for an evolving library staff. The staff has grown with the increase in added services (modern technology, home delivery, expanded programming, and so on).
Located as it is across from Dover High School and two blocks from downtown, the library will maintain its standard of excellence in customer service, innovative programming, and quality circulating materials. Special areas of focus will include teen services, Books on Wheels, and local history and genealogy. The highly experienced and well-trained staff will provide whatever assistance is needed in use of the print and electronic resources.
The remodeled Adult Department will be user-oriented with a focus on emerging technology. Varied seating options will range from spaces for quiet, casual reading and individual study to group seating, and room for classroom instruction. Spaces will be adaptable to integrate changing use patterns and future growth.
The Dover Public Library board, staff, and volunteers have begun planning a remodel with the following goals:
Develop the library as a magnet for community educational and cultural activities by:
- Remodeling the Community Room so that the library and local non-profit groups can use the space free of charge.
- Creating new meeting spaces for the community, including a new conference room for local organizations.
Better meet the educational needs of the community by:
- Creating a new technology center that will increase the number of public computer stations and locate technology services in one place: computer access, photocopying, faxing, digital downloading, eBook assistance, and future technologies.
- Making areas available where adult literacy and other tutoring can be carried out with discretion and privacy.
Enhance the efficiency and ambience of the library facility itself by improving and offering:
- Quiet study areas no longer integrated with noisy personal computers.
- A genealogy/local history room in the basement.
- Modernized restroom facilities including a special family restroom for younger library patrons.
- Larger aisles and mid-range shelving for easier accessibility to materials.
- New carpet, furniture, and other furnishings to make the library more comfortable and inviting.
- A café for patrons offering local baked goods and a variety of beverages.
Add facilities for teens that will allow them to have:
- More space for reading material.
- Computers dedicated for teen use.
- A comfortable and safe place to “hang out” and enjoy reading, video games, and so on.
- Dedicated space for teen programs.
The Dover Public Library remodeling plans begin with a $475,000 fundraising campaign for the renovation of the Adult Department. The Library has committed $100,000 towards this project and has received a $20,000 funding request from the Kimble Foundation. A lead gift from the Reeves Foundation would help make the Library’s fundraising campaign a reality. The Library will announce a public campaign in the fall of 2016. Support from the Friends of the Library and other community and civic organizations will be vital. It is the hope of the Library to fundraise in 2016 and to begin the project in 2017.
Working with Library Design Associates, Ohio’s leading library planning and design company, the Dover Public Library is excited to imagine what a remodeled facility can look like. This new space will be both enduring and practical, embodying both the tradition of the classic public library and a modern sense of wonder, expectation, and discovery. The Library will both encourage and reflect the richness and diversity of the community’s public, cultural, and intellectual life. View the Library Design Plans Updated 11/16/2016.
The staff and volunteers of the library seek the invaluable input of community leaders to give life to this dream. The continued growth of the Library is in the hands of the community, and the vision that led twentieth century community leaders to recognize the importance of a library in Dover can be enhanced by those of the twenty-first. We hope that you will support and contribute to the fiscal needs that are a prerequisite for needed renovation, continued growth, and excellent service.
The Dover Public Library gets about 61% of its funding from the State of Ohio and their Public Library Fund. Locally, the Library receives about $295,000 annually from a 1.0 mil operating levy that was passed in March of 2016 with 77% of the vote—the highest winning percentage of any public library in Ohio. Attached is the current operating budget and revenue sources.
State Funding (Public Library Fund): $625,4309
Levy Funding: $294,853
TOTAL REVENUE 2015: $1,031,067
Library Design: $466,760
TOTAL REMODEL BUDGET: $524,945
Capital Campaign Committee:
- Jim Gill – Director
- Jamie Rieger – Fiscal Officer
- Robert Gerber – President, Board of Trustees
- Julie Warther – Vice President, Board of Trustees
- Dan Fuller – Board of Trustees
- Paula Fritz – Secretary, Board of Trustees
- John Hooplingarner – Board of Trustees
- Sarah Lehman – Board of Trustees
- Bob Scanlon – Board of Trustees
- Gretchen VanSickle – President, Friends of the Library
To honor and pay tribute to both living loved ones as well as those who have passed on, the Board of Trustees has established several recognition programs for the Library Renovation Campaign. These programs demonstrate that you, your family, your organization, or your business are dedicated to building a better future for the children and families of our community. Every gift to the Renovation Campaign is tax-deductible. Your investment in the Dover Public Library is recognized and appreciated. Those who would like to give may use this Pledge Form.
Dedication and Memorial Opportunities Program
Commonly known as “Commemorative Gifts,” the Dedication and Memorial Opportunity Program will consist of plaques with donor wording affixed to rooms, departments, and facilities in the renovated and enhanced Dover Public Library. The Library Board of Trustees considers the naming of a room in honor or memory of a living or deceased individual, corporation, foundation or organization to be one of the highest distinctions it can bestow. The Dover Public Library seeks to recognize persons who have supported the Library through substantial financial contributions by naming facilities in their honor.
Your Gift of… Naming and Gift Recognition Opportunity
$25,000 and greater… Children’s Room, Teen Room, Community Room, Local History/Genealogy Room
$10,000 and greater Adult Services Desk… Technology Center, Periodical Shelving, Reading Garden, Board Room
$1,000 and greater Shelving Ranges… Coffee Corner, New Book Area, Audio/Visual Shelving, Shelving Ranges, Periodical Shelving Range
Permanent Donor Wall Recognition
Gifts of $100 and greater will be prominently displayed on a donor wall in a highly visible area within the Library. A commemorative bookplate will also be placed in the front of a new book that recognizes your contribution.
Gifts of $5,000 and greater: Founder
Gifts of $1,000 and greater: Benefactor
Gifts of $500 and greater: Sustainer
Gifts of $100 and greater: Friend