All About Richland

Downtown Library Getting A New Front Door: For Cars, That Is

21 Jul , 2019  

In an announcement on its website, the Mansfield/Richland County Public Library recently shared news of a change in the way that patrons access the building’s parking garage.

Consistent with the original 1989 plan which was changed before construction, the Board of Trustees voted to move the entrance “around the corner,” as it were, placing it on Third Street. Preparation work has begun on the project. During construction, the parking garage will remain open.

The announcement shared that Purdy Construction has begun work on the Third Street sidewalk.

On December 19, 1908, the Carnegie Library opened to the public. Electric lights went from “floor to dome,” reports shared. Potted plants and cut flowers were on display, and music from the Aeolian Orchestra floated through the air. Library trustees acted as receptionists.

Originally, the first floor featured reading rooms, reference rooms, a fiction room, a children’s room, and head librarian Martha Mercer’s office. The second floor had the Trustee’s Room, Map Room, Sherman Memorial Room, and the Ladies’ Club Room. All furniture in the Sherman Room was donated by John Sherman’s daughter, Mary. Some 15,000 books lined the shelves.

Since 1908, there have been a handful of renovation and expansion projects.  In 1933, the library was renovated and thoroughly cleaned in a federal project. A rear addition was added in 1951.

When replacement was proposed in the 1980s, two bond issues failed in large part because the Carnegie Building would be demolished in the process. When a renovation and expansion project was then proposed, the issue passed, and the east and west wings were added.

The facility acquired its present name, the Mansfield/Richland County Public Library, in 1977.

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