Connecting the Past with the Future
Trumbull County’s first library
Several efforts were made starting from 1814 to create a library in Trumbull County, however, it wasn’t until 1890 that continuous library service was established.
In 1877, Doctor Julian Harmon began circulating a small collection of books from his office. People who wanted to borrow a book paid a fee of $1.00 and this practice continued for eleven years. In 1888, a meeting took place in Doctor Harmon’s office to consider the establishment of a permanent library for the City of Warren. An agreement was reached and the new library opened with 254 books and was open two afternoons and evenings a week. Lectures and fees provided the money to maintain the library.
On August 8, 1890, The Warren Library Association was incorporated by the state of Ohio and the Warren Library began continuous service.
“The purpose for which said corporation is formed is the formation, establishment, and maintenance of a public library and reading room.”
–Articles of Incorporation of the Warren Library Association
The library had a collection of 1,738 books. In 1897, the library moved to the first floor of the new Court House. This new facility included reference and children’s sections.
A state law in 1898 required the Warren Library to change from a subscription library to a free public library. Free meaning the new Warren Public Library was free to all persons living within the Warren City School District and was supported by a tax levy of 3/10 mill.
In 1901, correspondence was begun with Andrew Carnegie asking him to finance a new library building. In 1903, Carnegie approved the plans for a new library and contributed $28,000 in total for the new building’s construction. The site was a gift from Judge Milton Sutliff. The new library was dedicated on February 5, 1906. The City of Warren contributed $3,000 a year to help support the new library.
Finances were a continuing problem and in 1923, the Warren Public Library changed from an association library to a school district library to insure a more stable source of funding.
By the early 1930s, the Great Depression made funds for library support extremely scarce. To help alleviate this problem, the Ohio General Assembly passed the Intangibles Tax in 1933. This tax was levied on personal property such as stocks and bonds and until 1986 was the major source of funding for the Warren Public Library. In 1986, Ohio’s libraries were funded by 5.7% of the state’s income tax money, called the Library and Local Government Support Fund. In 2008, this funding source changed again. Permanent law was enacted by the Ohio legislature allocating 2.2% of Ohio’s general tax revenue for the support of Ohio’s 251 public libraries. This fund is called the Public Library Fund.
Over the next several decades, the Warren Public Library continued to grow. By 1934, the WPL had 12 rural branch libraries located in places ranging from gas stations to hardware stores. Bookmobile service began in 1938.
In 1971, the present Warren Public Library building was completed, paid for by a combination of Federal LSCA funds, library trust funds and a large donation from the Warren Library Association.
In 1977, the first branch library opened in Cortland in an old bookmobile parked in Willow Park.
In 1982, the Warren Public Library underwent another change becoming the Trumbull County District Library and was by law now responsible for providing library service to all citizens of Trumbull County not served by one of the other six public libraries in the county. The library’s name changed to the Warren-Trumbull County Public Library (W-TCPL).
In 1982, Brookfield Branch Library opened in a storefront location.
In 1984, the Cortland Branch Library moved into a building on North High St. The building was named in honor of the Viets sisters of Cortland, who donated land where the library was located. The branch expanded in 1991.
In 1985, Lordstown Branch Library opened in the Lordstown Administration Building.
In 1990, the Howland Branch Library began service in a Howland Plaza storefront and the Brookfield Branch Library moved into its current building at 7032 Grove St.
In 1993, the Lordstown Branch Library moved into its current building at 1471 Salt Springs Rd.
In 1996, Trumbull County voters approved a 4/10 mill continuing library levy to help support the W-TCPL. This levy generates about $800,000 per year. In 2006, voters approved an additional continuing levy of 6/10 mill that provides about $1.7 million in operating revenues each year.
In 1998, the Liberty Branch Library opened in a Liberty Plaza storefront and the Howland Branch Library moved into its current building at 9095 East Market St.
The 2000s & Today
In 2003, the Liberty Branch Library moved into its current building at 415 Churchill-Hubbard Rd.
In 2012, the Cortland Branch Library moved into its current building at 578 Lakeview Dr.
The present Warren-Trumbull County Public Library is comprised of the Warren Library on Mahoning Avenue, the Brookfield Library, the Cortland Library, the Howland Library, the Liberty Library, the Lordstown Library, Bookmobile service, and Outreach Library Services. The website at www.wtcpl.org is open 24/7 to serve customers.
With a staff of nearly 90 full and part-time employees, the Warren-Trumbull County Public Library continues its mission to connect people with ideas.