150 Years of Highland County Libraries
Early Highland County Libraries
There was a subscription library in Penn Township called the "Highland Club" from the 7th of January 1853 until at least 1862. Members paid an annual fee of $1.25 and by the 1860's they had a collection of between 300-400 volumes. There was, according to an article in the local paper, also a library at the Female College in 1862 and a Common School Library. They were, however, smaller and more limited than the "Highland Club" collection.
In 1876, two years prior to the opening of the Hillsboro Library, David Bailey of Penn Township opened his personal library to the public. This library, unfortunately, did not survive to become a part of the Highland County District Library. Mr. Bailey eventually left Highland County and became a professor at Ashland College in Ohio.
By 1902, both Greenfield and Hillsboro had public libraries and both libraries were started by proponents of the temperance movement.
The Hillsboro Library was established in 1878 in the old City Building with Mr. Robert Duffey as librarian. The library was on the upper floor and below were the fire department and other city offices.
" It was then thought that if a public reading room should be opened in the library room it would help on the temperance reformation then going on in the community." (From Sketches of Ohio Libraries by C.B. Galbreath, State Librarian, 1902)
The library was moved to the "Scott House" in 1947. Fortunately, most of the library materials had been moved prior to the fire at the City Building. (The Scott House is still standing and owned by the Hillsboro Board of Education.)
During the years at the Scott House, the library joined with the other libraries of the county to form the Highland County District Library.
Highland County District Library (main library, pictured below) was dedicated in May 1970 on land donated by Curtis Wilson located at 10 Willettsville Pike, in Hillsboro.
The Greenfield Branch Public Library was established in 1952 in the town hall in Greenfield, moving to a new building in 1987. (There had been a previous library in Greenfield by 1902 containing 258 volumes, which was started by the WCTU.)
In May of 2001 the former Jefferson Street Station restaurant
(previously Frisch's) was purchased to be renovated used as part of a new library building.
In May 2003 The Greenfield Library moved into their
new building at 1125 Jefferson Street.
The Lynchburg Library was established previous to 1952 by the "Friday Club" and was housed in an old coal building on railroad property. In 1952 the Lynchburg Library became the Lynchburg Branch Public Library a part of the Highland County Public Library system. The library was housed for several years in a small building on Main Street until 1996. The new building, is at the corner of Main and Pearl Streets.
Leesburg Library was originally organized by the "Wednesday Club" and opened in 1900 on the second floor of the Slaughter Building. Mary Jones was the first librarian. The library moved to the back of the Srofe building in the mid-forties and to the Leesburg City Building in 1950. In 1963 Highland County District Library designated Leesburg Library a branch. Until May of 2000 the library was housed in a store front at 20 East Main Street.
In May of 2000 the library moved to a new building at 240 East Main Street.
Then and Now in the Month of January:
January 1924 Total Circulation at Hillsboro Library-- 488
January 1999 Total Circulation at Hillsboro Library -- 17,969
January 2001 Total Circulation at Hillsboro Library -- 20,690
January 2002 Total Circulation at Hillsboro Library --23,648
January 2003 Total Circulation at Hillsboro Library --24,565