Enchanted Times June, July, August 2023

Barberton’s founder, O.C. Barber, wanted to expand community space and establish a public library. In February 1899, he offered to donate $1,000 to build a library if Barbertonians raised $1,000. In 1902, Barber rented space in the Whigam-Schubert building as a temporary library. The Barber Public Library was dedicated on July 18, 1902, with 2,000 books on the shelves. City Council became responsible for the Library’s expenses. Two special elections were held in late 1902, but both failed, leaving the City with a library that could not open. It is unknown what occurred over the next months due to lack of records, but the Barber Public Library opened to the public on April 7, 1903 with 3,400 books and variety of newspapers and periodicals. By the 1920s, the Library was growing rapidly. In 1922, the Library moved to City Hall, then into the Masonic Temple’s ground floor in 1925. The Barber Public Library became the Barberton Public Library in 1947. In 1955, preparations for a new building began, and the project was completed in October 1957. It took Library staff, plus six firemen, six days to transfer 40,000 books from the Temple to the new Library. The grand opening was in held November 1957. By the mid-1980s, a larger facility was needed. The rededication of the remodeled building was held in September 1986. In 2002, the Library and Barberton Citizens Hospital partnered to create a Community Health Library in the hospital. The Library joined the CLEVNET consortium in 2009, providing Barberton cardholders access to over 12 million items. In early 2016, the Library added a larger lobby, a drive-up book drop, and moved the Local History Room to the main floor. An open house was held in November 2016. As it celebrates 120 years in 2023, the Library will begin a multi-year modernization and refurbishment project to better serve Barberton’s needs.