Friends of the Library, Bay Village: Over 60 Years of Friendship

Friends of the Library, Bay Village: Over 60 Years of Friendship

by Michele Yamamoto

The Bay Village Friends of the Library has announced their latest book sale at the new Cuyahoga County Public Library, Bay Village Branch building for Saturday, August 27, 2022. This year marks the 60th anniversary of the Friends book sales and the 61st year of the group’s formation. To celebrate, we at the Bay Village Historical Society have combed through our records and photos, including many generously donated by the Bay Village Library itself, to compile a short history of the formation of the Friends and their first book sales.

As part of National Library Week in April of 1961, the Cuyahoga County Library system called for “Friends of Library” groups to be formed at local branches. Joseph H. Santone, an auditor for the Illuminating Company, was elected chairman at the Bay Village Branch’s first formal meeting. Mrs. Robert L. Vickroy (June) was listed as the first elected secretary, John Sturges, Jr., the publicity chairman, Mrs. John R. Van Syckle (Norma), membership chairman, and Dr. Daniel E. Marsalek, book collection chairman. Representatives from various local organizations in Bay Village served as members. That summer, the objectives of the organization as stated in their constitution were “to promote a better understanding in the community of the needs of the library, to lead in the development of programs which will extend and improve the use of the library services and facilities, to stimulate benefactions to the library, to render assistance to the library staff upon request by the librarian and to encourage the study of library science as a career.” Dues for families and individuals in Bay Village were set at $1 per year, $.50 for student members. Local organizations were asked to give $10 per year.

2022.P.08.11.05 Bay Library “Book Marks” (volunteers from the Bay Women’s Club) “smartly outfitted” in aqua cobbler’s aprons inside the Bay Library at 377 Dover Center Rd. for an August, 1960 news feature. L-R: Betty Clifton, Margaret Plum and Margaret Berger 

The Bay Village Exchange Club (the local chapter of the national service organization) helped to sponsor a book collection and sale for the Bay Village Library by June of 1961. Containers for the deposit of books, old movies, and records were placed in Bay Village shopping centers for the public to donate their items. By the end of the year, they had collected over 3,700 items. Branch Manager Helen Casey, selected 400 of these books for the library’s own collections, stating that the donated books would have cost the new library at least $1,200. One volunteer of the Bay Women’s Club service group for the library, the “Book Marks,” stated in an appeal to donors “Friends of the Bay Village Library are citizens who share the conviction that books afford people a matchless means of enriching their lives and acquiring a greater understanding of the world in which they live.” Now President Santone stated that he hoped his group would help the library obtain more reference books, expand its facilities and services, purchase needed equipment, increase “best seller” circulation, enlarge its record library, obtain more foreign language books and encourage students to study library science.

The Friends must have received the number of books they needed because that April of 1962 they announced they would be holding their first book sale for four days during National Library Week that month. The Book Marks stepped up to help with the sale of the books and Bay Junior High School students made posters to advertise the sale that were hung all around town.

2022.08.14.05.049 Cleveland Press news clipping about the first Friends of the Library book sale, April 1962

The sale was considered a success with $600 raised. $250 was spent on children’s books and $350 on reference books. The sale also helped double the membership in the Friends group. Santone wrote to Branch Manager Helen Casey when reporting on the sale about the “friendly spirit which has developed between the library staff and our organization. We hope this is only the beginning in our joint effort to provide the Bay Village Library with an excellent collection and to make the Library a vital part of our community.”

By February of 1964, the Bay Village Friends of the Library had some new elected officers, including retired surgeon Dr. Dwight S. Spreng, a book lover and new resident of Bay. Dr. Spreng led the group in planning their second book sale to be held that April, two years after the first. The sale brought in about $600, some of which was marked to buy new furnishings for the library staff room.

2022.P.08.14.01.08 Bay Village Friends of the Library members with Branch Manager Helen Casey sorting through collected books for the Friends’ second book sale in 1964. L-R: John Sturges, Helen Casey, Dr. Dwight Spreng and Mrs. Sturges

2022.P.08.14.01.07 Mary Maheu, Louella Meyer and Dr. Dwight Spreng look over collected books for the Friends of the Bay Village Library’s second sale to be held in April of 1964.

2022.08.14.01.09.82 News clipping featuring the 1964 book sale set up.

The Bay Village Historical Society records do not contain much concerning the Friends until 1978, just a few years before a new library building was built at 502 Cahoon Rd. They began publishing a newsletter in the fall of 1978 called “Stacks of Information” which detailed the news and activities of the Friends and the Bay Village Library. Throughout the 1980s, the group sponsored various programs such as concert, travel and cooking series. You could learn “Concepts of Microwave Cooking” or how to bake bread during “Cooking with the Friends.” A juried art show was held through at least most of the decade. The book sales during this time period increased to usually about four a year.

2022.08.14.02 News clipping featuring a 1985 Friends book sale at the Bay Village Library at 502 Cahoon Rd. 

Today the Friends of the Library, Bay Village is led by President Scott Rhee. Rhee says he started his work with the group during high school, when he worked as a library page in Bay. Members of the Friends asked if he could help them move around the heavy boxes of books they had collected for a sale. He soon found himself getting involved to a greater degree over the years.

The Friends’ latest book sale is for one day only, Saturday, August 27th from 9:00am-5:00pm. Items will be sold for only $.50 to $1 a piece and will include children’s, teen’s, adult fiction and nonfiction books as well as puzzles and games. If you would like to volunteer your time to help with the sale and meet some fellow book lovers, contact Holly Tramba at htramba@sbcglobal.net. If you are unable to make the sale this year, you may still purchase books from the Friends of the Bay Village Library all year round by shopping their shelf at the entrance of the Bay Village Library at 27400 Wolf Rd.

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Memberships and donations to the Bay Village Historical Society help keep the records of our town’s history preserved and accessible to all and can be made by visiting our webpage https://www.bayhistorical.com/support-us/.

If you would like a more hands-on experience with history, consider volunteering as a docent or behind-the-scenes with our collections by contacting us at (440) 871-7338 or email: info@bayhistorical.com.

Bay Village Library, part 3 Bay Village Library on Cahoon Road

The following history of the library in Bay Village is taken from an article written by Bay Village Historical Society board member, Cynthia Eakin. It is part three of a three-part series that we will be sharing with you through Glimpse of the Past.

If you would like to find out even more about the library or Bay Village history in general, contact us at (440) 871-7338 or email us: info@bayhistorical.com.

Bay Village Library History, Part 3

Bay Village Builds a Larger, Modern Library on Cahoon Road

By the late 1970s, Bay Village had outgrown the library building at the corner of Dover Center Road and Wolf Road. A decision was made to construct a larger, more modern building.

A $1.2 million bond issue was approved by the voters of Bay Village on Nov. 7, 1978 for the design and construction of a new library. The Bay Village branch of the Cuyahoga County Public Library at 502 Cahoon Road opened on Apr. 5, 1981. The new building had 15,735 square feet of space and housed 70,000 volumes. The design received an award from the American Institute of Architects/Architects Society of Ohio in the fall of that year.

Bay Library at 502 Cahoon July 1980, 2022.P.08.14.02.13B.6

Bay Village Library before parking lot build, August 1981,2022.P.08.14.02.14A.1

Newly built Bay Village Library on 502 Cahoon Road 1981, 2022.P.08.14.03.02A.1

“The building was built in 1981 and renovated in 1997,” Bay Village Branch Manager Jessica Breslin noted. “At that time, the circulation department, entryways, computer and teen areas were modified significantly. There was a stage in the meeting room, which was removed during the renovation. The children’s play area was expanded and comfortable seating was added around 2012.”

Families browse books and new audio-visual collection circa early 1980s,2022.P.08.14.03.03B.3

Children reading at the Library circa 1981,2022.P.08.14.03.05B.1

“Over the years, we expanded early childhood programming to include STEAM programming, extended story times, facilitated kindergarten readiness activities and sensory story times adapted for youth with disabilities. Other children’s programs such as Book Buddies, Chalk the Walk and the Summer Reading Game grew in popularity,” she added.

“After the closure of the Bayway after school program, the library became a safe and engaging place for middle school students to spend time in the afternoon. We created a weekly Teen Zone program that encouraged our tweens and teens to participate in activities such as painting workshops, tech classes, movie days and service projects. We had a homework mentor to assist students with their schoolwork Monday through Thursday afternoons. Our staff welcomed students in and had a chance to make some great connections with them,” Breslin said.

“We offered digital literacy programming for adults including training on the library’s digital resources, iPad 101 and drop-in and download. We hosted the AARP for tax preparation sessions from January through April annually. Many civic organizations have utilized our meeting spaces, including the Bay Village Historical Society, League of Women Voters, Board of Elections, Girl Scouts, Sea Scouts, PTA and the Bay Village Community Council,” she said. “We have hosted many authors including local favorites like Michael Heaton, James Renner and Dan Coughlin. The Friends of the Library offered both quarterly and ongoing book sales and generously supported library programming. We offered various maker programs including 3D origami wall art, vegan leather jewelry, glass etching and book folding. We offered three monthly book discussions, including partnerships with Dwyer Senior Center and BAYarts.”

“Our collection floats from building to building, so we don’t keep statistics on the number of volumes that we now house,” Breslin explained. “But, our annual circulation from the Cahoon Road location was approximately 248,000 items with an average of 153,000 customer visits.”

Children study and use the new electronics at Bay Library circa early 1980s, 2022.P.08.14.03.06A.1

Bay Village Library, part 1 Dover-by-the-Lake

As Bay Village prepares for the opening of its much-anticipated new library, we at the Bay Village Historical Society would like to share with you some library history from our collections.

The following early history of the library in Bay Village is from an article written by Bay Village Historical Society board member, Cynthia Eakin. It is part 1 of a three-part history that we will be sharing with you for the next few installments of Glimpse of the Past.

If you would like to find out even more about the library or Bay Village history in general, contact us at (440) 871-7338 or email us: info@bayhistorical.com.

We hope to see you at the Bay Village Branch of Cuyahoga County Public Library during their Grand Opening, Saturday, April 30 from 2-5pm in the new location at 27400 Wolf Road.

History of the Bay Village Library—Part 1, by Cynthia Eakin

Cahoon Will established the first library in Bay Village

The first settler in Bay Village was Joseph Cahoon, whose youngest granddaughter, Ida Maria Cahoon, left the family estate to the city for a library.

The Cahoon family settled along the Indian trail, now Lake Road, in 1810. In 1818, their permanent home, called Rose Hill, was built where it now stands. The third son of Joseph Cahoon married Margaret Van Allen, and their 11 children were all successful, prominent citizens. Three of their daughters, Lydia, Laura and Margaret were teachers in the Cleveland school system, and a fourth daughter, Ida, was a writer of prominence in the field of poetry. So, it was natural for a family interested in education to foster learning by establishing a library.

The library was made possible through the will of Ida Maria Cahoon. In her will, she asked that the name be, “Dover-by-the-Lake Library,” should another library ever by organized in what was then Dover Township.

The Cahoon estate consisted of 114 acres, the ancestral home of Rose Hill and the barn, left in trust to Mayor Walter Wright, city council, and their successors. The will stipulated that Rose Hill was to be used for a library and museum, and the surrounding land was to be used as a park. Item 25 of the will states, “I hereby direct and request that steps be taken by said Mayor and Council of the Village of Bay to enlist the attention of Mr. Andrew Carnegie, and solicit his help and assistance in establishing and maintaining said library. I hereby give and bequeath to the Library of Dover-by-the-Lake herein intended to be created, all of my books, pictures and I request that the family portraits and best pictures be placed on the walls of the Cahoon homestead, and be forever maintained therein.”

2022.P.08.11.07 Dover-by-the-Lake Library located at Rose Hill, May 25, 1959

A committee of 12 members was appointed on Feb. 2, 1920 to organize and develop a program for a public library. This committee met formally on Dec. 10, 1920 with their recommendations. On Mar. 18, 1921, Mrs. Emma Paul Pope and Miss Olive P. Bailey were appointed associate librarians. They planned and organized the library and opened it to the public on May 24, 1921. There were 80 people present, which was a sizable crowd in a village of 750 people.

Ida Cahoon’s will established two trust funds known as the “Library of Dover-by-the-Lake Fund,” to buy books, maintain, support and care for the library. This fund, plus fines and a small sum from the village general fund, financed the library from its beginning until 1935, when it became eligible for funds from intangible taxes.

R2021.01.10 Julia Osborn Scott

Mrs. Julia Osborn Scott was appointed resident librarian on Oct. 1,1922, and continued until 1946. Scott was the great granddaughter of Reuben Osborn, one of the first settlers of Bay Village. She not only knew her library collection, but she knew the village and all of its inhabitants, and many of their ancestors, if not by personal relationship, then by stories, folk lore and traditions passed down from one generation to the next. From her own family, she learned of the trials and hardships the pioneers endured as they traveled west into Ohio. Since Scott was steeped in the folk lore, manners and customs of the pioneers, she gave this information as freely as she lent a book.

Every newcomer to the village knew the library and Mrs. Scott before knowing anyone else, except perhaps their minister. The library was the center of interest, and there was a personal relationship between the librarian and her patrons that would not exist in larger communities. Scott lived in the upstairs of the library building from her appointment in 1924 until her retirement in 1946. Her quarters were described as being homey and interesting, as there were books everywhere.

Although there was always work to be done, Scott took the time to relate experiences that had no relation to the borrowing of books or reference readings, such as the time a Gypsy family took refuge in the library, since it was the nearest house when their baby became sick. They remained two weeks, but with all of the care they could give, the child died and was given a decent burial in the cemetery by the lake. Then, there was the incident when two men who had imbibed too much, broke into the library on a very cold night and slept on the couches downstairs. Still slightly tipsy in the morning, they proceeded upstairs to wake the librarian to ask her to intercede with the police on their behalf.

During the Depression years and until after WWII, the library hours were irregular and long for one person supervising alone. Because Scott lived in the building, many people would drop in at their convenience. The average number of hours from 1923 to 1934 were not recorded, but from 1934 to 1937, 34 hours a week were scheduled. Between 1937 and 1948, the number increased to 48 hours. There was no regular assistant, yet the services and circulation continued to increase. The library was known first as a Private Trust Library, then it became a municipal library and finally a branch of the Cuyahoga County Library System.

The Mayor and city council leased the dwelling house to the Board of Library trustees, furnished custodial services, water, gas and electricity, and paid the sum of $1,000 a year out of the Dover-by-the-Lake Library fund for use in operation and maintenance of the library. This agreement lasted from 1943 to 1952.

The information in this segment of the series on the history of the Bay Village Library was gathered from, “History of the Dover-by-the-Lake Library of Bay Village, Ohio” by Ruth R. Lephart, submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Degree of Master of Science in Library Science, School of Library Science, Western Reserve University, June, 1954.

2022.P.FIC.05.2 Lake Erie Junior Museum event (now Lake Erie Nature & Science Center) inside the library at Rose Hill, circa the late 1940s.