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MS-007 Dayton Metro Library Collection

Dayton Metro Library Collection

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Guide to the Dayton Metro Library Collection

Dayton Metro Library
215 E. Third Street
Dayton, OH 45402


Profile Description

Creation: Finding aid encoded by Lisa Rickey using the OhioLINK EAD Application in 2009
Langusage: Finding aid written in English

Overview of the Collection

Repository:Dayton Metro Library
Creator:Dayton and Montgomery County Public Library
Title:Dayton Metro Library Collection
Extent:37.5 linear feet (Approximately 50,000 items)
Abstract:The collection of the Dayton Metro Library covers the period 1805-[2005] (present). The collection includes minutes, annual reports, legal documents, printed material, photographs, manuscripts, correspondence, scrapbooks, newspaper clippings, blueprints and miscellaneous items. The material was gathered over the years by librarians of the Dayton Metro Library. The papers deal with the progress, growth and activities of the library and its predecessors over the years. This collection comprises 60+ boxes of material, and it is arranged into six series.
MS NumberMS-007
Language:The records are in English

Statement of Arrangement

The collection is divided into series as follows:

Scope and Content

In these records is found the history of the Dayton Metro Library and its predecessors, including their activities, background and growth. These events provide information about the interest of Daytonians in education, learning and pleasure through the printed word. It shows their progressiveness and their desire to promote civic responsibility through an informed citizenry.

The collection includes minutes, annual reports, legal documents, printed material, photographs, manuscripts, correspondence, scrapbooks, newspaper clippings, blueprints and miscellaneous items.

The importance of this collection lies in the following: * It describes the building of a public library in Ohio, specifically in Dayton and surrounding communities; * It illustrates the library's widespread activities within and beyond Dayton; * It demonstrates widespread support by the citizens of the communities which the library serves.

The public library movement was an important step in the advancement of education and is of national as well as local interest.

History of Dayton Metro Library

1796 - The first Dayton settlers arrived from Cincinnati by flatboat. 1805 - The Social Library Society was organized and granted a charter from the State of Ohio, making it the first public library in the state to be incorporated. The first librarian of the Social Library of Dayton was Benjamin Van Cleve. 1835 - The library closed its doors after 30 years and sold its books at auction. 1846 - Private citizens organized a library association and adopted a constitution, forming a permanent library association. 1847 - The Dayton Library opened. Dues were set at $3.00 annually, $30.00 for a lifetime membership, and $50.00 for a membership in perpetuity. Minors were given free access to the library and the library contained around 6,000 volumes.

1855 - The Public School Library was opened under the direction of the Board of Education.

1860 - A library law was passed by the State of Ohio which established a tax support for libraries and placed the management of libraries under a library committee of the Board of Education. The two libraries were united to form the present public library.

1884 - After the introduction of the dictionary card catalog, the library published, in book form, an analytical dictionary catalog of the library's holdings, the fourth of its kind in the nation.

1887 - A permanent library building was erected in Cooper Park at a cost of $110,000.

1893 - The library opened a museum of natural history on its second floor.

1895 - Classroom traveling libraries for the public schools were organized.

1896 - Electra C. Doren became the head librarian. She established her own training school at the Dayton Library, the second such school to be started in the United States. She began to reorganize the Dayton Library with a reclassification of the entire collection to the Dewey Decimal system and the shelves were opened to the public.

1897 - The School Department Library, a sunny room in the basement, was opened. Children were permitted to take one book a week from the collection.

1903 - Four branch libraries were opened in district school buildings.

1912 - The book collection reached 90,000 volumes.

1913 - Flood waters swept through the basement and the first floor of the building, taking a toll of over 46,000 volumes, fixtures and furniture, etc., for an approximate loss of $85,000. Staff and volunteers took damaged items to barns where they could be cleaned and dried.

1914 - The East Carnegie Branch and West Carnegie Branch were dedicated.

1923 - Book Wagon (precursor to Bookmobile) service began with the first wagon serving twenty-six stations within the city.

1927 - Electra C. Doren died, remembered as a library pioneer and leader in the state and the nation.

1936 - The first county branch, Brookville, became part of the Dayton system due to the passage of the Intangible Tax bill.

1942 - The Branch and Extension Agency was established to coordinate the activities of the regional, school, and county branches and the Book Wagon Department.

1959 - Montgomery County voters approved a one-mill levy for the building and equipping of a new Main Library building.

1962 - The new Main Library building opened at 215 E. Third Street, just south of the old main library built in 1887. This 1962 building still currently serves as the Main Library.

1971 - The library held its first public book sale in the library auditorium.

1973 - The Non-Print Media Department opened, featuring 16 mm films, phonorecords, 8 mm films, audiocassettes, slides and filmstrips.

1976 - Voter registration was a new service offered at all agencies of the library system.

1984 - The library went on-line with computerized circulation.

1987 - The Main Library completed a reorganization. At that time, the Dayton and Montgomery County Public Library system consisted of the Main Library, 19 branch libraries, and the Bookmobile, with a total book and audio-visual collection of over 1,500,000 items.

2002 - The name of the library was changed to the Dayton Metro Library.

2003-2004 - The library faced major funding problems, resulting in reductions in services and staffing.

Mar. 2004 - Voters overwhelmingly passed a 1.25 mil property tax levy, which alleviated many of the funding problems.

The Dayton Library opened to subscribers in 1847. Earlier, there had been a Social Library Society from 1805-1835. In 1855, the Public School Library opened. In 1860, the Dayton Library and the Public School library combined to form the present public library. In 1887, a permanent library building was built in Cooper Park; that building became what is now known as the "old" Main library. The new Main library was built just south of the old building and opened in 1962. The Dayton Metro Library system currently consists of the Main Library and 20 branch libraries throughout Montgomery County.

Indexing Terms

The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.


Public libraries--Ohio--Dayton


Dayton and Montgomery County Public Library
Dayton Metro Library
Dayton Public Library and Museum
Public Library and Museum of Dayton, Ohio


Restrictions on Use

Items in this collection are protected by applicable copyright laws.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

The Dayton Metro Library Collection, a special collection of historical materials at the Dayton Metro Library, Dayton, Ohio.

Separated Material

No separated material.

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