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2020 Marks 167 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 1860s they had a collection of 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 Public Library, David Bailey of Penn Township opened his personal library to the public. The 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 Public 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.
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 other libraries of the county to form the Highland County District Library.
Hillsboro Public Library was dedicated in May 1970 on land donated by Curtis Wilson located at 10 Willetsville Pike, in Hillsboro.
The Greenfield Branch Library was established in 1952 in the town hall in Greenfield, moving to a new building in 1987. (The previous library in Greenfield was started by WCTU in 1902 and contained 258 volumes.)
In May of 2001, the former Jefferson Street Station restaurant (previously Frisch's) was purchased to be renovated and used as part of a new library building.
In May of 2003 the Greenfield Branch Library moved into their new building at 1125 Jefferson Street.
The Leesburg Branch 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 location.
Until May of 2000 the library was housed in a store front at 20 East Main Street. At that time, the library moved to a new building at 240 East Main Street.
The Lynchburg Branch Library was established previous to 1952 by the "Friday Club" and was housed in an old coal building on railroad property; that same year, it became a branch of the Highland County District Library.
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.
The Rocky Fork Branch Library held its grand opening on November 2, 2019! Renovated from a branch of Rockhold Bank, this newest HCDL location serves the Rocky Fork Lake communities.
- 1992 - The new addition is added to the Hillsboro Public Library.
- 1995 - All HCDL locations are automated.
- 1996 - Dial up access to the library catalog and Periodical Library with full text magazine articles is enabled, allowing people to connect to the library from their home computers.
- 1997 - The Ohio Public Library Information Network PCs allow public access to the Internet and library databases.
- 2001 - Highland County joins the Serving Every Ohioan (SEO) Consortium, sharing a catalog system, giving users web access to the Highland County catalog and the ability to place holds on many more items.
- 2004 - Highland County begins checking out eBooks.
Then and Now in the Month of January
January 1924 Total Circulation at Hillsboro Public Library -- 488
January 1999 Total Circulation at Hillsboro Public Library -- 17,969
January 2019 Total Circulation at HCDL Locations -- 33,445