the policy, purpose and philosophy of Lane Public Library was encapsulated
in Clark Lanes dedicatory statement 130 years ago. The founder
called for small libraries established nearer to the workmens
homes and believed that the library should also be the site
for correspondence, but not loud and lengthy conversations,
and educational lectures.
the library was exclusively a reading library where patrons were handed
each volume from the bookcase by the librarian. Or, according to one
account, the books were chained to the reading tables
within the library. But because of popular demand Clark Lane reluctantly
gave his consent to the concept of establishing a circulating library.
not until 1915 when, with the idea of making library material more
accessible and convenient, a practice was initiated in taking the
library to the reader. In that year library stations were
opened in Hamilton school buildings in East Hamilton, Lindenwald and
the West Side. It must have taken a bit of brawn for the librarians
to carry suitcases filled with books to the various stations by means
same time several industrial library stations were established. Many
of these first stations at mill sites are now mostly memories: Champion
Paper & Fibre Company, Beckett Paper Mill, American Can, Miami
Knitting Mills and Shuler & Benninghofen. Clark Lane likely would
have heartily embraced taking books to factories. For in his enumeration
of who should use his library he first listed apprentice boys
and their associates. Various writers over the years have recorded
that he felt the need for a library from his own early years, characterized
by his quite limited education and factory apprenticeship.
in the Lane Public Librarys governance occurred in 1923 when
control was transferred from Hamiltons city government to the
Board of Education of the Hamilton School system. Practically speaking,
the change meant that the library could
now extend service beyond Hamiltons city limits. The librarys
more than half-century of municipal governance contained a number
of lean years. Before the 1913
flood the library grew slowly. In some of those pre-flood years as
little as $50 was provided for the purchase of new books.
a decade,1933, the library was providing collections of books in 89
classrooms, at fire houses, playgrounds and summer camps. Book service
also commenced at Mercy and Fort Hamilton Hospitals. It became a common
sight to see
a library book cart being pushed through the hospital corridors. And
in those years of lengthier patient admissions, it was surely an appreciated
service for those who had plenty of time and little else to do.
one of the librarys most appreciated expansions, outside its
walls, took place in 1938 with the inauguration of bookmobile service
throughout much of Butler County. The bookmobile was one of the first
five in Ohio and the average daily circulation during fall 1939 was
715 books. The first bookmobile was little more than an enclosed truck
bed with wooden shelving. The first driver was James Dolan, later
a Hamilton Municipal Court judge.
to 1940 the librarian was Mrs. Hattie Symmes James. Under her directorship,
characterized by services to outlying areas of the city and county,
the overall library collection increased from 8,500 to 61,000 volumes,
with an annual circulation of 750,000 volumes. When she first commenced
library service in 1906, as the assistant librarian, there were but
two members of the library staff. At the time of her resignation she
oversaw a staff of 14. Both the childrens department and the
reference department were established during her years as chief librarian.
of World War II would see Lane Public Library begin to establish branch
The first undertaking it was begun as a sub-branch was
the Booker T. Washington facility in Hamiltons Second Ward.
By 1949 it had evolved into a full-fledged branch at the Second Ward
Community Center. Having a library in a recreational center was
considered by many to be rather novel. Mrs. Jane Dabney Shackelford,
a prominent African-American author and poet, delivered the main dedication
address, What Can Books Do for Me? One imagines that Clark
Lane, an ardent abolitionist who likened Abraham Lincoln to Moses,
would have applauded the
establishment of this branch..