The Ohio County Public Library was created in 1937. Each town in the county was asked to send a Works Project Administration worker into Hartford to facilitate a Rural Library Project. The library that was established in Hartford was first housed in Hartford High School. Services included pick-up and delivery of materials that were collected by WPA Workers. Later, the library was housed in several buildings, including a tool shed.
In 1942, the WPA asked the Hartford Women’s Club to take over the administration of the tool shed library. The group agreed and began raising money for the library through rummage sales and contributions. The city of Hartford donated $13.00 per month for library operations. Materials were obtained through a traveling library provided by the Library Extension of the Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives.
The library received the first bookmobile in 1954, as a memorial from a patron. The Ohio County School Board agreed to appropriate funds to operate the bookmobile. The bookmobile route was developed by the County Health Nurse.
In 1962, plans were presented to the Hartford City Council, the Ohio County Board of Education, and the Ohio County Fiscal Court to establish a regional library. Ohio County would be the headquarters for six other counties. The library would be funded through taxes.
In 1965, funds were applied for under the Library Services and Construction Act to build a new library. The library received $82,511 in matching federal funds. The total cost of construction was $104,720. A new Ohio County Public Library was dedicated on October 15, 1965.
Thirty years later in 1995, the library began a new construction project on a desperately needed addition. This expansion more than doubled the existing square footage. A portion of the cost was offset by a construction grant. Diligent fund raising and dollars saved paid for more than half of the remaining cost. Debt service on the building was paid in full within ten years.
On November 29, 2012, the Ohio County Public Library opened the Genealogy Annex across the street from the main branch. This addition houses state, family, and local histories, as well as death and birth records. The Annex also provides a Technology Lab and public meeting spaces.
The Ohio County Public Library Board of Trustees meets monthly on the second Tuesday of the month at 4:30 p.m. The meetings are held at the Library or Library Annex.
The Ohio County Public Library Board of Trustees will meet on Monday, March 20th at 4:30 p.m. for their regularly scheduled March meeting.
Board of Trustees
Debora Phelps, President
Janis Jones, Secretary
Mary Pat Donlon, Treasurer
John Cashion, Advisory Member
Jon Johnson, Advisory Member