DCDL has grown over years to better serve patrons


Happy National Library Outreach Day! Today we celebrate Library Outreach and the dedicated library professionals who meet patrons where they are. Today in our “Back to the Basics” column, we’re going to talk about library locations, which also includes our mobile library – the Bookmobile!

The Delaware County District Library is a library system. That means that more than one location makes up the services that we provide to the community. This helps the library improve services by making resources more readily available to residents in the full geographic service area of the library.

DCDL’s service area is drawn by the lines of the Delaware City, Olentangy Local, and Buckeye Valley school districts. If the Delaware County District Library had just one location, it would be incredibly difficult for all residents to easily and quickly get to a library branch.

Did you know that the first public library in Delaware, Ohio, actually grew from a women’s reading club in 1890? That group worked to provide library services until 1904 when construction of a new building at 101 N. Sandusky St. began, thanks to a $25,000 gift from philanthropist Andrew Carnegie. In 1951, the library officially became the Delaware County District Library system.

The original Carnegie Library still stands in Delaware with its “Free to All” welcome message, but is now occupied by offices for Delaware County services, like the Emergency Management Agency and the county coroner. The library moved to the current location at 84 E. Winter St. in 1984. Then, in the 1990s, the system tripled in size to add the Ostrander Branch Library (1991) and the Powell Branch Library (1993), and the Delaware Main Library was renovated (1992).

The booming growth of the southern portion of Delaware County in the 2000s and 2010s allowed the system to continue to meet the community where it was at with the Orange Branch Library (2011) and, most recently, the Liberty Branch Library (2023).

The library’s history of a Bookmobile is integral to the overall story of the system. Before the branches were constructed in Ostrander and Powell, the library’s Bookmobile stayed on the property to serve the residents of the area. During COVID, the Bookmobile could provide “open-air” stops in parks and neighborhoods to allow patrons to browse the collection without going into a facility.

Today, the DCDL Outreach Services Department extends the library beyond our walls by bringing books, DVDs, and other library materials to individuals and facilities such as preschools, daycares, colleges and senior living communities. They refill Little Free Libraries all over the county with free books to take or swap. They provide home delivery services to individuals unable to visit the library, and discovery bags and kids crates to in-home daycare providers. Drop collections are provided for daycares and nursing facilities on a regular basis, and memory bags are made available for senior residence facilities. A partnership with the State Library of Ohio allows DCDL Outreach Services to provide Talking Book Machines free of charge for eligible blind, visually impaired, physically disabled and reading disabled Ohio residents.

The Communications Department works together with the Outreach Services Department, as well, to take the Bookmobile to community events where we can share our wifi, check out books, and allow visitors to explore the “library on wheels.” If you went to the Main Street Delaware First Friday event this month, you saw us in downtown Delaware. In just over a week, we’ll be at Powell’s Third Friday event celebrating Earth Day with a craft where we will upcycle broken or damaged books into bookmarks.

No matter which location of the Delaware County District Library you visit, it is our hope that our superior customer service is what stands out. Each branch is uniquely situated and laid out to reflect its community, but all DCDL staff members are trained to provide the same level of excellence to all patrons.

Learn more about the different locations of the Delaware County District Library system at www.delawarelibrary.org/locations. On our website, you can click on each branch and “walk through” a virtual tour to experience the feeling and unique characteristics of each library.

If you’re interested in receiving any of the outreach services I mentioned above, visit www.delawarelibrary.org/outreach, call 740-548-1660 or email [email protected].

If you have a question that you would like to see answered in this column, mail it to Nicole Fowles, Delaware County District Library, 84 E. Winter St., Delaware, OH 43015, or call us at 740-362-3861. You can also email your questions by visiting the library’s web site at www.delawarelibrary.org or directly to Nicole at [email protected]. No matter how you contact us, we’re always glad you asked!

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