WCPL History

1882: Bryan Library is organized as a project of the Taine Club. Originally it had 600 books and was housed in one room on the second floor of a building at the northeast corner of Lynn and High Streets.

1892: Collection moved to one room in the courthouse.

1903: Andrew Carnegie gives $10,000 towards construction of a new building for a free public library, with a stipulation of an annuity of $1000 from the community. A group opposed the gift, based on the high cost involved. Estimates for maintenance were at $50 per month. The Board of Education of the Bryan School District raised a one mil levy. Library becomes a school district library. On October 23, 1903 the cornerstone was laid.

1904: Dedication and opening of the Carnegie building on December 20th. On the shelves, a collection of 3,500 volumes.

1936: Library expands and becomes county wide, with 15 locations: Ainger, Alvordton, Blakeslee, Bridgewater, Columbia, Cooney, Edgerton, Edon, Kunkle, Melbern, Pioneer, Pulaski, Stryker, West Unity, and Williams Center. As general stores closed and transportation and roads improved, many of the smaller drop-off stations were eliminated. Five locations were retained as branches.

1956: Population growth as well as interest in the library, indicated a need for expansion. Extensive remodeling was made possible by a bequest from Judge C.L. Newcomer. Judge Newcomer had served on the library's Board of Trustees for 35 years.

A 30 X 32 foot two story block was added with new heating, air conditioning, lighting, plumbing, flooring, and interior decorating. A small electrical lift was installed to move books between the floors. Project was completed and dedicated on March 28th, 1957.

1960: J.C. Markey offers a $50,000 matching grant to the community for a children’s library. The community raises nearly $68,000 with Mr. Markey matching that total.

1963: The Ruth Edwards Markey Children’s Library is dedicated on May 23rd.

1982: 100th year anniversary is celebrated.

1988: A new Edgerton Branch Library is dedicated.

1989: A new Pioneer Branch Library is dedicated.

1991: A new Edon Branch Library is dedicated.

1993: 30th anniversary of the Ruth Edwards Markey Children’s Library is celebrated.

1994: A new West Unity Branch Library is dedicated.

1996: A new Stryker Branch Library is dedicated.

1997: Bryan Public Library changes it's name to Williams County Public Library, and incorporates branches. Now becoming a county library, separated from Bryan City Schools, members of the Library Board of Trustees are appointed by the County Commissioners.

1998: Automation of the library holdings and card catalog system is launched, sharing with SEO (South Eastern Ohio Consortium - later to become knows as Serving Every Ohioan). Over 5 million titles are available to citizens of Williams County and surrounding areas.

First issue of The Open Book is published and distributed to the public in the Bryan Times.

2003: Library celebrates the 100th year of the Carnegie Building, now part of the Main library in Bryan.

2004: The library passes its first levy with the support of the County. The additional funds will help with library operations and expansion.

2006: The library acquires the building on the northeast corner of Main and High Streets with a grant from the Bryan Area Foundation. The West Annex currently houses the administrative offices, a computer lab, and future plans include moving the Local History & Genealogy Department to its first floor.

2008: The Edon Friends of the Library build a new Edon Branch Library with monetary and material donations from the community. The new building is dedicated in August.

Building renovations begin in August on the West Annex first floor to house the new Local History & Genealogy Department.

2009: Grand Opening of the Local History & Genealogy Center, in the West Annex building in Bryan. (March 23rd, 2009)

The library faces large reductions in funding due to decreasing tax revenues and State budget cuts. Service hours, programming, and library employees are cut.

2015: Edgerton Branch undergoes renovations of new paint, and new carpet installation.

2017: Bryan Main Library undergoes renovations adding new paint, carpet, furniture, and bookshelves. 

2019: Bryan Main Library holds first annual "Fountain City Fandemonium" an event that celebrates fandoms, and features special guests, local artists, authors, vendors, and more!

2020: Stryker Branch undergoes extensive renovations starting in December 2020, and later reopening in 2021.

2021: Edgerton Branch undergoes renovations in July and August.

2022: The newly renovated downstairs children's area of the Bryan Main Library is dedicated as the Rachel & Elwood Donohue Children's Library on April 3rd, 2022.

2023: The Carnegie Stairs Restoration Project begins at the Bryan Main Library in March. By November 2023, the stairs are completed, and a ribbon cutting is held on the 5th, along with an Open House of the library, which also showcased the newly completed "Jeff Yahraus Programming Room," and the new upstairs computer lab.