The Lorain Public Library Association was incorporated on April 22, 1901, and operated in rented quarters for a period. In 1902 the Library trustees received a Carnegie Foundation grant providing $30,000 to construct a library building in Lorain. The cornerstone for the new library on 10th Street was laid on August 19, 1903.
The Carnegie Library building was outgrown in the 1940’s. In 1946 Lorain city voters approved a special levy to build the present Main Library building at 6th Street and Reid Avenue. Construction was completed in 1957.
An Expanded Main Library Building
In 1983, the Main Library building became "tight at the seams". Lorain Public Library applied for, and was granted, a $456,000 Library Services and Construction Act (LSCA) grant from The State Library of Ohio. The Lorain Public Library System Board of Trustees authorized the erection of a two-story addition to the Main Library and the remodeling and carpeting of most sections of the existing building. The addition was completed in 1985. The addition added approximately 17,000 square feet to the building to bring the size of the building to approximately 61,000 square feet. The patron parking lot area was also expanded at that time, and again in 1998.
In 1997, a Computer Resources Room was created that centralized word processing and Internet access computers for patron use.
Now, in the second decade of the 2000s, the Main Library building is again bursting at the seams and is busier than ever.
The Lorain Public Library System has been committed to having a strong central resource library to support the growing branch libraries and outreach services. Thus, the Main Library provides direct service to the City of Lorain and surrounding areas through several public service departments. The Main Library building also houses the library system’s administrative and technology offices, public relations office, technology services, and outreach services provided through a Bookmobile, Books by Mail, and the Project LITE literacy program.
Lorain Public Library celebrated its 100th birthday in 2001 with the addition of a child-scaled model of the Lorain Lighthouse to the Children’s area and a wall mural depicting the city’s Lake Erie shore. The Library continues to increase its technology resources for the public including a Computer Resources Room with over three dozen public Internet access computers and free Wi-Fi Internet access.
The Lorain community has been very supportive of library services. The citizens have passed operating levies to supplement library support received through the state’s general tax revenue. Most recently, an operating levy was passed in May 2011. The local levy helps the library provide the staff, materials, and technology that support the Main Library and South Lorain Branches, both in Lorain, and the Bookmobile.
Lorain Public Library System Facts
Lorain Public Library System is a city school district and county extension library system. Its funding presently comes from a combination of state funding and local operating levies, voted on by the residents of the communities served by our library locations.