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Director's Column

PLSJC Director Alan Hall writes a weekly column discussing library and community news, history, and other interesting subjects.

The Tour of our Library System

By Alan Hall, Director, PLSJ
Publish Date - Sunday, December 23, 2018


Allow me to begin by saying a big “thank you” to everyone involved in the “Sounds and Sights of Christmas: Nutcracker Magic 2018” parade; and for the honor of me being named the Parade Marshall.


It was my delight to serve in that capacity, and my wife and I enjoyed the ride in the carriage even on the cold day that it was.


When I was told in September that I had been named Parade Marshall, I was shocked that a librarian would be honored in such a way ---- but was told that it was my 35 years of leadership of our library system and all the 7 locations throughout the county.


I was just the person at the helm of the ship, coordinating all the library staff and advising the Library Board, and all the folks who have supported their libraries over the years, so thank you all for making our system great!


Associated with that is the recent tour that the Library Board did of the whole Public Library of Steubenville and Jefferson County system.


It took a whole day to see each location, talk to the staff, and visit each branch library in the county.


The current Library Board is relatively new to their task, and I often had to review the history of each location with local staff explaining about programming, book clubs, and services offered all around the county as well as specific those individual branches.


The Board was excited to learn about the whole system, and how technology has pulled together the services at the Schiappa Branch as well as the Adena Branch.


Each building has a story, from the Dillonvale-Mt. Pleasant Branch which emerged from the Short Creek flood of 1990 into a new building to the Adena Branch where the building was called the “honeymoon hotel” a century ago.


Each building has a story-to-tell as well.  The Toronto Branch Library was a dream of then-Mayor Robert Wilson who worked to find a location, support the funding, and see the new library open in 1990.


Ed Swiger wanted to see his former appliance and furniture store in Tiltonsville emerge as a branch library after his retirement.


And John and Huberta Siciliano planted the seed for the Schiappa Branch Library in 1985 through their donations to start that new facility in our community.


While the staff was showing off the Adena Branch, I found myself sitting quietly in the corner admiring the library and thinking of all those success stories around the county, including the Bookmobile that serves every location.


Oh my goodness, think of all the people and events that fell together to make it all happen, all of the successes in our county forming locations to provide library service to the public.


Moreover, I look at the lights of the various routers showing people using the library from their homes via computers and all those devices that now link the world together.


And our final stop on the tour was at the now-closed Main Library where the “great lady” of libraries is getting a makeover to finally make her accessible to each and every person regardless of their physical abilities.


Bringing the philosophies of Andrew Carnegie together with modern technologies will open a new door to library service in Jefferson County.


The Board was pleased at what is yet to come to the Main Library ---- a 2-story atrium with an elevator wrapped with new interior stairs leading to various wings of information as books and computers will be ready to again serve the public.