139 Years of Service to the Seneca County Community...
Tiffin-Seneca Public Library, a free county district public library, is committed to meeting the informational, educational, cultural and recreational needs of all who live, work, or go to school in Seneca County, including those requiring special services such as the handicapped, the blind and hearing impaired, the aged and homebound, beginning and new adult readers and preschool children. The library will identify needs, acquire, organize and preserve materials and provide ready access to the most wanted materials, print and non-print. It will provide trained, knowledgeable staff, participate in regional and statewide networks for resource sharing, and seek to develop citizen awareness of the library and its services.
Today’s Tiffin-Seneca Public Library is a far cry from the modest beginnings 136 years ago with 96,886 books, 20,463 media items, and technology that includes 30 public computers andfreeaccess to the Internet.
The library is open 51 hours a week during the school year. In 2012, 186,316 people came through the library doors and our reference staff answered 79,470 questions.
The Library boasted 23,643 cardholders and 425,715 items were circulated.
Get Your Library Card Today
Ohio residents, ages five and older, may obtain a free Tiffin-Seneca Public Library card. Patrons must have a photo identification and proof of address, such as a driver's license, check book or personal mail
Patrons are responsible for materials check out on their card and parents or guardians are responsible for materials checked out by children under the age of 18. If a library card is lost, it can be replaced at a cost of $2.00.
Stop in to get your card today!
The earliest records of the existence of Tiffin-Seneca Public Library are generally traced back to March 6, 1880, when an application was filed in Columbus for the incorporation of the Tiffin Public Library Association. Subsequently, a library room opened on May 11, 1880, on the second floor of the “Market House” on the site of the present day Tiffin City Hall. The library remained there until 1886 when it moved to the courthouse basement until 1898.
According to research by local history buff Howard Smith, citizens who attempted to establish a public library (some as early as 1848) included Henry Ebbert, R.G. Pennington, Leander Stem, William Toll, Dr. Hepburn, Judge Jacob Bunn, Miss Florence Cronise, Mrs. John Loomis, Mrs. Mary Zartman, Mrs. William Kimble, Mrs. John Huss, Mrs. J.W. Chamberlin, Miss Jennie Dresbach, John Kaull, Nelson Brewer, C.H. Cramer, J.W. Mendenhall, Frederick Holderman, R.B. Moore, B.F. Myers, The Reverend George Harriman, Samuel Sneath, Warren Noble, John McCauley, G.K. Vanderpool, Alonzo Hall, J.W. Knott, C. Hornug, V.F. Cramer, Mrs. John Ridgely, Mrs. Laura Sneath, Mrs. Laura Bunn, and the Misses Piatt, McLain, and Williams.
Howard Smith writes:
On a Tuesday evening, May 11, 1880, the library’s opening was made an occasion in the city-owned public auditorium known as City Hall. There was music “vocal and instrumental,” Nelson Brewer made the address and Warren Noble and the Reverend George Harriman spoke briefly. A 10-cent admission to the affair and refreshment sales netted another $70 for the Association.
In the care of Miss Hattie L. Campbell, appointed librarian by the board of managers, was a "fine selection" of 1600 volumes, a portion of which was secured by the purchase of the YMCA Library in Canton for $375 through the efforts of Mrs. Kimble. Miss Campbell's pay was set at 50 cents per day for "not less than 300 days the first year." Hours starting May 17 were to be 2:00 to 5:30 p.m. and 6:30 to 9:00 p.m. The Tiffin Tribune advised, "Everybody will be admitted free to read books and papers at the library. Any person living in the county on payment of $1.50 per year will be entitled to draw as many books as he can read."
In 1886 the library was moved into a room in the basement of the Seneca County Court House where it remained until July of 1898 when the Library Association purchased the property where the original Carnegie Building was later built at the corner of Jefferson and East Market Streets.
An old residence there served adequately until 1911 when it became known that Andrew Carnegie was willing to aid communities by construction of public library buildings. Correspondence from Judge Bunn with Mr. Carnegie and his secretary James Bertram resulted in the provision of $25,000 for the construction of a library building in 1912, provided the city would budget $2,500 annually for maintenance.
In August, 1924, a new constitution was adopted and a transfer signed by perpetual members assigning their claims to a new board of trustees. State law changed in 1935 to provide for the financing of libraries from the county-wide tax on classified personal property known as the intangibles tax. To qualify, a library needed to extend its service to all residents of the county; the board must hold monthly, instead of quarterly, meetings; and an annual budget must be prepared, all of which the board agreed to do. (This funding remained in place until 1985 when the current Library and Local Government Funding was put into place by the legislature.) Between 1954 and 1959, the basement area of the building was remodeled to provide more adequate space for children's services.
The Current Building
After 63 years, the library needs outgrew the building and on January 14, 1975, ground was broken for a new library which was built on the current site at the corner of Perry and Jefferson Streets. It was dedicated on June 27, 1976.
Library use continued to grow. It was soon realized that more space was needed for the Junior Department and another, larger, meeting room was required. The addition, which included the Junior Library and the Jane Frost Kalnow Community Room, was dedicated on September 18, 1988.