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Libraries a blessing to area residents

February 24, 2011
Times Leader
By KAY SEDGMER, Times Leader Lifestyles Editor RESIDENTS OF the Ohio Valley are blessed to have numerous local libraries to provide easy access to information and technology along with a wide variety of programs and activities for all ages.. Throughout the area, folks flock to these buildings, or possibly a mobile library, to obtain books, movies, complete research, attend classes or even to search the Internet. The opening line of the Martins Ferry Public Library mission statement is echoed by all local libraries. “People a free nation, in order to make wise choices, to develop intellectual competence, and to function as thoughtful and clear-thinking citizens, must have available a large body of reliable information, opinion and thought on issues and questions influencing themselves, their community and their nation,” The Martins Ferry system includes the main library and five branches along with a bookmobile service. Serving the residents of Belmont County’s largest city, Martins Ferry, the branches are located in Bridgeport, Bethesda, Powhatan Point, Shadyside and Flushing (the Victoria Read Public Library). Despite budget cuts by the state, the library system continues to provide services to its patrons. Hours at the library or any of its branches may be obtained by calling 740-633-0314. Patrons may also visit the library’s Web site at The St. Clairsville Public Library has also weathered the same budget cuts, remaining dedicated to its patrons. “It’s about the patrons. We took proactive measures when the cuts were first announced,” said newly appointed Director Rochelle Klug. “The hours for Friday and Saturday were reduced but we were recently able to restore the Friday hours.” Klug, who steps into the director’s position with the retirement of Sheila Perkins, also indicated Library Foundation members are working hard to keep programs and the high level of services available to athe public. “The Foundation is setting up a local campaign,” she said. “We are working to be prepared if there are further cuts.” Preston Tedrick, who is in the library’s adult services section, said the library is using state grants to add new and exciting programs for local families and teens. “We are always looking for funding to subsidize activities here at the library,” he said. “Currently, the teen and family game days are well received by the community.” Many other activities and services are provided by the library. For more information call the St. Clairsville Library at 740-695-2062. You may also visit the library’s Web site at In Harrison County, the Puskarich Public Library’s main location is in Cadiz. Branches in both Scio and Freeport serve residents in those and surrounding communities. “When the financial cuts were announced by the state, our board took immediate action,” said Director Sandi Thompson. “The residents of Harrison County passed a levy in 2009 and we began receiving that funding in March of 2010. Because of the levy funding we were able to keep our hours and add other services for our patrons.” Thompson said the main library and its two branches is enjoying an increase in the amount of traffic it sees. “Library usage by area residents is up a cross the board since before the voters passed the levy,” she said. “We were able to restore our hours and bring in new materials. We’ve also be able to add new programming.” She said numerous classes have been adding and she is currently working with Connect Ohio on a grant to provide computer training for patrons. “The classes will include basic computer skills, Internet training, and other skills,” she said. “We will hold classes monthly.” In addition, the Harrison County-based system is also in the process of purchasing equipment to place Early Literacy stations in each of its three facilities. “Each station will be specific to children ages pre-school to age 10,” she said. “The children will have over 50 highly recommended program to access as they build their literacy skills.” Looking forward to National Library Week in April, Thompson said the Puskarich System will base their celebration on the theme: “Libraries are the Heart of Every Community.” Activities are currently being planned and will be available on the system’s Web site at Hours and other information may also be accessed there. Sedgmer may be reached at

Article Photos

ROCHELLE?KLUG was recently appointed the new director of the St. Clairsville Public Library.



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