Due to planned renovation work inside and outside the Wornstaff Memorial Public Library at 302 E. High St. in Ashley, the facility will be closed to the public from July 29 through Sept. 2.
“The library is having new carpet laid and is being painted throughout the first floor as well as the painting of the outside eaves,” said Director Amee Sword. “We apologize for the inconvenience, but we hope you all will be pleased with the result when the building reopens.”
Sword said it’s a perfect time to do the needed work, because the summer reading program has ended and the building will not be busy. She said since there is limited space, the need to move shelves around to make room to paint and carpet the building will, unfortunately, restrict patrons from entering the library.
Sword asks patrons to be patient while “a bit of love and maintenance” is given to the old building.
However, Sword said that after the carpet is installed, staff will need help returning the 28,559 print and audio/visual materials to the shelves. She said anyone interested in volunteering can contact the library at 740-747-2085.
“For those who have donated to our carpet fund, we greatly appreciate your generosity,” Sword said.
As a reminder to library patrons, Sword said if they have items to renew or they have questions, staff will be in the building, so “please do not hesitate to call the library.”
“Also, remember your Wornstaff Library card works for the libraries in our COOL Consortium that include the nearby Community Library of Sunbury, Cardington-Lincoln Public Library and Selover Public Library,” she said. “Each library will be happy to assist you until we reopen.”
Sword said once the renovations are complete, the carpet will match throughout the library from the original building through the 1980 addition all the way back to the 1990 addition of the current building. She said the last time the carpet was changed was 20 years ago in the 1980 addition in front of the checkout desk.
“Most of the things here are well-loved and beat up,” she said. “We’ve been weeding out some of the books not circulated to open up some space.”
Sword admits to being a bit worried about the patrons, since the library will be closed for the entire month of August.
“I’m worried,” she said. “Many come in to read The Delaware Gazette every day. I hope they come back after we reopen.”
Sword said that the Wornstaff Memorial Public Library was dedicated in August of 1928 to Albertus Wornstaff by his father, Chelsley Wornstaff, and his mother, Elsa Wornstaff. The couple visited a memorial library in Florida and made provisions in their will for a similar memorial library in Ashley.
According to Sword, Albertus Wornstaff passed away suddenly, but she did not know the cause of his death.
The Wornstaffs’ last will and testament provided $10,000, which equals $250,000 today, with $7,000 going toward purchasing the land and construction of the building, which was specified to be built of “stone and brick.” The books and supplies for the library were purchased with the remainder of the funds.
According to Sword, the furniture for the library was manufactured, delivered, and installed by the inmates at the Mansfield Reformatory in 1927. On the back wall of the library, she pointed to a brick that is inscribed, “Ohio State Brick Plant 1927 convict made.”
“The original circulation desk and library tables are still in use,” she said. “The library was also given a few antique pieces of furniture from the Wornstaff home.”
The Wornstaffs’ gift of the library has been used by the residents of Ashley and Oxford Township for over 90 years.
Daisy Haughn was the first paid librarian, starting in 1930.
Private endowments and levies supported by the Village of Ashley and Oxford Township fund the library’s annual operating budget of $485,000.
Contact D. Anthony Botkin at 740-413-0902. Follow him on Twitter @dabotkin.