History of the library

Barberton Public Library building in 1903The Barberton Public Library first opened its doors April 7, 1903. At the time, Barberton was little more than a decade old, but residents already recognized the need for a public library in their new town. A committee of local women championed the cause, securing $1,500 in donations to help fund the project. The Library, originally known as Barber Public Library, first operated out of a rented space in the Whigam-Schubert Block at the corner of Tuscarawas Ave. and Fourth St. Town founder O.C. Barber supplied 2,400 volumes for the collection, and an additional 1,000 titles were donated or purchased with funds from residents. 

The library would move several times over the next few decades, located in the former annex of the Barberton Inn, as well as the basement of the Masonic Temple. After more than 40 years of serving the people of Barberton, the name was officially changed to Barberton Public Library. Plans were underway for a new building, and in 1957, the Library’s 40,000 books were transferred to a new 17,000-square-foot home located on West Park Avenue, directly across from Lake Anna. A major renovation to this present site in the mid-1980s would add several thousand square feet to the building and see the moving of the main entrance, the addition of an atrium and the creation of the Local History Room.

Today, the Barberton Public Library houses a dynamic collection of more than 250,000 items locally and offers access to more than ten million items through membership in the CLEVNET consortium.  The Library offers weekly programs for children, families, teens and adults. Through a partnership with Summa Health System, the Library also provides access to a wide range of consumer health information at a branch located on the first floor of the hospital. Library users visit their hometown library more than a quarter of a million times each year, and Barberton Public Library remains an important resource enjoyed by the people of Barberton for over 100 years.