During my youth in Andover, Ohio, I often visited the Andover Library. I remember well the two-story building on the southwest corner of the town square. I would step through the door in the front left of the building and see books lined up on shelves all around the main reading room. Over the years, I borrowed and read all kinds of books from the library. An important factor may have been that my mother, Mary Huskonen, was a big supporter of the library.
One of my goals for 2018 is to visit the current Andover Public Library (see photo below) and review all its holdings related to the history of the village of Andover and the surrounding area.
In the minutes of the Andover Mardi Club, a Ladies Literary Club, for October 9, 1934, “It was reported that Mr. Cole has offered free use of a room for use as a library and Mr. Richardson appointed chairman of a Library Committee.”
The Andover Public Library was then organized in June, 1935, as a school district library. Brenda Merrill, Mabel Nagle, and Marjorie Wilder had attended a district library meeting in Ashtabula where they were told if they could operate a library for one year with local funds, they would then be able to apply for state aid. This they were able to do, and subsequently applied to the state for $200 in aid funds.
Others involved in the formation of the library in addition to the three persons mentioned above were N.G. Richardson, Julia K. Orr, Annie C. Ward, Dr. Edward G. Haas, Walter E. Cole, and Dr. Neil Bishop. Richardson, local newspaper editor, was elected President of the Board of Trustees, a position he held until his death in 1938.
The first library was in the upstairs of a village-owned building located on the southwest corner of the Public Square; it had been a fire station. (In 1985 it was the Andover Appliance Center. This building has just recently been demolished.) The downstairs had a dirt floor. The village stored equipment and tools in the downstairs. The upstairs was heated with a potbellied stove. At the start, furniture was on loan from local citizens. Chairs were borrowed from the Opera House.
The first librarian was Mrs. Howard (Mabel) Nagle, who had been trained in the Cleveland Library System. Under her guidance, the books were classified according to the Dewey Decimal System which was unusual at that time for a small library.
The Andover Public Library was successful and in 1942 the library moved to the downstairs after a floor was put in; the upstairs was then used for storage and reference materials. Again in 1959, a change was made, when an addition was added to the south side of the building.
In 1967, the Andover Public Library moved to a new building (2000 square feet built for $35,000.00) on West Main Street, not too far from Public Square. The library building just vacated [was] returned to the village who in turn sold the building.
In 1983, the Board of Trustees applied for and received LSCA Title II Funds to be matched by local funds to add to the 1967 building. A nearly 2000 square foot addition was added to the north side of the building, with work starting in April, 1984. The new addition was formally dedicated in the spring of 1985, and at the same time, the Library celebrated 50 years of service to the community.
In 1990, the Board of Trustees sought and was granted LSCA Title II Funds with local matching funds to build 6431 square feet of additional space plus a remodeling of the existing facility.
This expansion, completed in 1992, has allowed us to offer quiet study rooms, a room for tutoring, and additional space for materials and computer workstations. Also, a room separated from the operating center of the library has been designated for public meetings.Andover Public Library at 142 West Main St., Andover, Ohio. Image from Google Maps.