Where We’ve Been and Where We Are

Did you know that the Village of Jamestown has enjoyed public library service in various locations since 1927? For the first ten years, a library operated at the Jamestown school. In 1937, the library moved to the Jamestown Opera House and continued there for 59 years. ln 1996, we opened our current location at 86 Seaman Drive. As part of the Greene County Public Library system, we serve east and southeast Greene County, Bowersville, and Shawnee Hills along with Jamestown. But anyone with a GCPL card can check out our materials, and any Ohio resident can sign up for a library card. In fact, we have several regular patrons from Clinton and Fayette counties.

Back in 1946, the old Jamestown library received a sizable bequest (for those days) at the death of Mr. John S. Thomas. Mr. Thomas was born in 1848 and died at the age of 98 years. He was a former teacher, school examiner for Greene County, and most notably a mayor of Jamestown, elected just after the turn of the 20th century. At his death, Mr. Thomas left the library a trust fund of 1000 dollars, wooden bookshelves, and a part of his personal library. The “Thomas Fund” still exists, with interest money to be spent on “good books.”

In 1993, the village received a donation of land from Mr. Frank Seaman to be used for the site of a new municipal building and library. Former Jamestown Head Librarian Peggy Tidd closed the Opera House and opened the new library in December 1996 after extensive planning for the new space. The new Jamestown location would incorporate the concept of a “bookstore library” featuring popular materials. This was years before the current fashion of retail marketing to library patrons. The new library offered books and media arranged in subject categories on retail style shelving fixtures, some of which included canopy lighting and backlit signage.

Through the years our library received gradual makeovers. Recently we were able to replace the original 21-year-old carpeting. The original bookstore fixtures were replaced about 10 years ago due to wear, and we returned to more conventional stack shelving. We do, however, retain the category style arrangement which is most apparent when locating books in or adult non-fiction collections. You can see some photos of the library’s interior on our About Us page.

As part of our mission to foster lifelong learning, each Greene County Public Library location works with its local schools as well as their local homeschoolers. Jamestown's library is no exception, and we enjoy a close working relationship with Greeneview Schools. While we prepare classroom collections for local teachers, they encourage students to use our library resources—both online and through library research requiring students to complete an assignment at the library. We are happy to have such close ties to Greeneview, which brings so many students and parents through our doors who might otherwise miss us. At the end of the school year, Summer Reading kicks in for kids of all ages. Library patrons who read (or listen to) books can track their progress and win prizes. On Wednesday mornings during summer breaks, look for our library to be full of students and parents enjoying special library events. That is, if you can find a parking space.

Our small staff of librarians puts an incredible amount of planning and originality into the programming we offer. Along with presenting programs themselves, they work behind the scenes to locate and schedule a variety of program presenters. They help with publicity, and they see to it that those presenters who have expenses or fees get paid. Some of our recent adult programs have featured cooking presentations from the Ohio State University Extension, a fashion historian with hand-sewn period clothing, essential oils and lotions, turtles, a life-sized Candy Land, and a regularly scheduled Crafters Night Out. We also offer two book clubs for adult readers, and three separate book clubs for kids and tweens. Our Read Between the Wines book club meets offsite at the Caesar Creek Vineyards each month.

Be sure and check our online calendar for upcoming programs and stop in and see us this winter.