Nationwide Children’s Hospital Library

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NCH Librarians Linda DeMuro, Susan Jones, Alison Gehred and Susi Miller

The Grant Morrow III, MD Medical Library is an essential resource for Nationwide Children’s Hospital (NCH). Located on the second floor of the hospital’s education building, the library provides research and reference services for the hospital staff, including nurses, physicians and allied health personnel. Additionally, the library locates and delivers resources, provides workspaces, manages materials, partners in interlibrary loan services and proctors tests for hospital employees.

Established in 1953, the library has a tremendous archive dating back to when the hospital was founded in 1892. Ohio State University librarian and consultant, Kristin Rodgers, is assisting with archiving the preservation of historic documents, including the hospital’s first patients’ records.

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Materials from the library’s archives are being sorted and preserved


The library is actually a branch of The Ohio State University Health Sciences Library, which provides access to a wide variety of publications and shared resources. NCH’s collection includes an impressive 16,000 volumes and 260 subscriptions.

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Some of the rare books within the NCH’s collection


Active partners in the hospital’s work, librarians provide important research assistance, validating sources and finding answers to unusual questions like “what are the risks to a child who has drunk citronella oil?” Librarians equip hospital staff with research and technology training and assist with processing a monthly “Ask a Specialist” email, which informs Columbus pediatrics about a variety of health care questions. These services produce an extended value and help the hospital achieve its strategic plan of finding journeys to best outcomes. Library Director Linda DeMuro noted the library has received years of positive feedback, further illustrating their value within the system.


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A play area in the Family Health Information Center


In addition to information services, the library serves as a workspace and informal gathering area for hospital employees. Meeting rooms can be reserved via the hospital’s central scheduling program, and the library features a patio overlooking the hospital’s park where employers can work, eat lunch or just enjoy the view.


View of the park from the library’s patio


On the first floor of the education building, the library maintains the Family Health Information Center (FHIC). Open to the public from noon to 5 p.m. each weekday, the information center gives families access to health information.  There are also children’s books, magazines and a quiet space for families to spend time. The FHIC also partners with the Blue Jackets Family Resource Center to provide a variety of services to promote “family centered care”.


Parents and patients have access to a variety of multimedia resources at the Family Health Information Center


The secret is out – Linda DeMuro, Director

The library’s services continue to gain popularity as the hospital staff learn about their offerings, as DeMuro put it, “the secret is out.” The Grant Morrow III, MD Medical Library is an important and respected partner of Nationwide Children’s Hospital.

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Central Ohio Little Libraries


A sample of little libraries & their stewards in Central Ohio

Little libraries are as unique and varied as their owners.  Called by various names like little lending libraries, Little Free Libraries® or book exchanges, they all share the same objective — community enrichment.

“Getting books in kids’ hands is the whole point.” – Sandy Coen

The concept is simple.  A community member or organization installs a small to medium-sized structure to promote literacy and community.  Library materials can be borrowed for an indefinite period and are either returned or shared with others.  Surrounding neighbors often donate materials to the libraries.  Once established, many library caretakers, known as stewards, are relieved of regularly replenishing their libraries as communities become invested in the libraries’ success.


Sandy Coen & Florence Jain sharing a laugh

Meet Florence & Sandy

Florence Jain and Sandy Coen were one of the first, if not the first, Little Free Library® stewards in Central Ohio.  Since 2011, the couple have witnessed an explosion of little libraries and their awareness.  Constructed of reclaimed renovation materials like oak flooring from their kitchen, Sandy and Florence enjoy the personal details of their library, including honoring their cats, Moo and Simon.  In addition to their library, Sandy has built four other libraries, a Hobbit-themed library being among them.  As part of a larger community, the couple helped Kyrgyz librarians start the first three little libraries in Kyrgyzstan and participated in World Book Night.  Learn more about  their library and other activities here.


Artist Aaron Luther Thomas & Project Manager Evelyn Van Til at 4th Street Farms’ Little Free Library® dedication

4th Street Farms

4th Street Farms is a community-driven initiative to eat, empower, educate, and employ our skills together.

4th Street Farms‘ Little Free Library® is a direct extension of their mission to empower and educate and is a partnership with Bonga Media Group and the Weinland Park Community Civic Association.  The farm provides an inspiring setting for the library and also gives the perfect space for community events and readings.  Ohio Wesleyan University’s A Good Start School and other community donors have gifted children’s books to the library, and A Good Start School has committed to literacy programming.  Situated in a neighborhood where only 18% of the residents have full-time employment, the library supports “youth connections, literacy, education, safety, creativity, and a lifetime of engagement within a revitalizing diverse neighborhood.”  During the library’s dedication, Evelyn Van Til and Woody Drake spoke passionately about community and how the farm nourishes the body while the library cultivates the mind.


Jon Blake & one of his latest designs incorporating reclaimed stained glass

Jon Blake, Prolific Little Library Maker

Since October 2015, Jon has crafted 22 little libraries, starting with his own. Jon is a master at replicating the look of stewards’ homes, and his own library is a perfect likeness of his house.  He enjoys the sense of community that little libraries create, meeting neighbors and creating a neighborhood feel.  After 40 years in the commercial drywall industry, Jon found an artistic outlet in “retirement.”  His love of folk art and working with his hands originated in the creation of amazingly intricate birdhouses, growing to doll houses and then playhouses.  Little libraries are a natural extension of his folk art sensibilities.  Moreover, his own library has inspired him to become a reader.  Guessing he’d read a total of two books during high school, Jon shared he’s read 40-50 books since last October, especially enjoying Les Misérables.  Jon plans to continue experimenting with library designs and wonders if a little library art exhibit might be a possibility.


Cherry Street Library with art by Miss Birdy and Coreroc

Cbus Libraries’ Cherry Street Library

Cbus Libraries was invited to create a little library as part of PlaceMakes’ Cherry Street initiative.  The project re-imagines how we interact, move and engage with our urban environment.  The library welcomes pedestrians to W. Cherry Street while offering literature and nontraditional materials like yarn and knitting needles.  Aesthetically, the little library incorporates historical maps of its exact location from the late 1800’s while embracing contemporary urban culture with artwork by artists Coreroc, Covert, Ketchup and Miss Birdy.  In addition to the library, Cbus Libraries also knit bombed the adjacent pole with a crafty, cherry-inspired creation.  Learn more about how PlaceMakes is transforming downtown Columbus here.



We’ve mapped chartered Little Free Libraries® (in yellow) and independent little libraries (in purple).  Our map is open to edit with a Google account, and we encourage you to explore and enhance it.

With so many little libraries in Central Ohio, it won’t be hard to find one near you.  Who knows, maybe you’ll be inspired to create your own!  In fact, let us know if you are currently or planning to become a steward in the comments below.

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Pickerington Public Library


Adult Services Manager Donna Matturri shows some of her favorite reads

Pickerington Public Library kicks off it’s summer reading program this month and on June 11 will host the third annual Teen Book Fest, an opportunity for readers to meet award-winning authors, like Gene Luen Yang, participate in workshops and enjoy a day of  reading celebration.  These events follow on the heels of the library’s Big Comic Show in May and are just a few of examples of the exciting services the library offers to create valuable experiences and opportunities for their customers.


The Big Comic Show featured over twenty Ohio artists

Librarian and Adult Services Manager Donna Matturri shared some of the amazing programs and services provided by the library. The library caters to a broad audience by providing a variety of services and programs geared toward all ages.

Adult services offerings include Reader’s Advisory and Staff Picks. Customers are invited to email library staff directly and are provided with personalized reading lists, based on personal preference. The library offers an array of programs for interest groups, ranging from book clubs to crafts, financial advice and lunch and learn programs.


Youth Services librarians Carol and April representing for the Big Comic Show

The Homework Help Center is not only a space for students to study and receive tutoring, the staff also offers afternoon ACT and SAT preparation programs and partners with Eastland-Fairfield Career and Technical School to provide job prep and computer literacy classes.

The library features a dynamic youth services department, complete with its own mascot, Violet the Cow, designed by local artist Will Roland, who attends community events as a library ambassador. The enthusiastic group of children’s services librarians are attuned to their audience and provide programming to capture attention, including programs centered around Minecraft, Angry Birds, Lego and an annual Princess and Superhero costume party. Another popular program is Dog Tales, which, in partnership with the county animal shelter, pairs dogs with children who can practice reading aloud to a furry audience.


A farm themed entrance to the children’s department

The passion and creativity of the library’s staff create a vibrant and welcoming environment. Staff cares about the community they serve. They pay attention and react to the interests of their customers and are rewarded with an engaged and supportive audience. Donna shared that she loves her job, thanks to a great staff who make the work easy and happy customers who make it wonderful.

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OSU Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum

OSU Billy Ireland Library & Museum entrance and lobby

OSU Billy Ireland Library & Museum entrance and lobby

The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Library and Museum is an extraordinary treasure and one of the few museums dedicated to comics in the world.  Started in 1977, the collection has grown to 300,000 original cartoons, 45,000 books, 2.5 million comic strip clippings and newspaper pages, and more than 5,000 cartoonists’ biographical files, including handwriting samples.  The library serves students, researchers and teachers, and the library and museum are free and open to the public.

Originals from Charles Schultz's Peanuts

Originals from Charles Schulz’s Peanuts

The library contains irreplaceable collections housed in a tightly-secured, temperature-controlled archive.  Visitors to the reading room are highly encouraged to call ahead to request materials two days in advance.  The library includes the San Francisco Academy of Comic Art Collection with materials dating back to 1893, the International Museum of Cartoon Art Collection from the former museum founded by Beetle Bailey creator Mort Walker and the Bill Watterson Deposit Collection…YES!  THE ENTIRE COLLECTION OF BILL WATTERSON’S CALVIN AND HOBBES IS HOUSED HERE!

Billy Ireland stain glass reproduction detail

Billy Ireland stain glass reproduction detail of an editorial cartoon published in the early 1900’s

The library and museum’s namesake comes from an influential cartoonist who worked for the Columbus Dispatch newspaper.  Billy Ireland stayed true to his roots and never left Ohio while helping advance the careers of others, like Milton Caniff who later helped start Ohio State’s comics collection and once graced the cover of Time magazine.  In the image above, Ireland editorialized the blight caused by Columbus’ flood of 1913.  Sketches that Ireland created to visualize a new downtown riverfront have been used to inform Columbus’ stunning Scioto Mile, demonstrating Ireland’s continued influence and cartoonists’ importance to civic engagement.

Librarian Caitlin McGurk holding an original drawing from Disney's 1940 Fantasia

Librarian Caitlin McGurk holding an original drawing from Disney’s 1940 Fantasia

Librarian Caitlin McGurk believes in the transformative power of comics and is a strong advocate for the art form’s appreciation.  Caitlin teaches classes on English, history, art, women’s studies, theology, psychology and ESL, pairing the needs of Ohio State’s students with cartoon collections.  Previously the head librarian of Vermont’s Center for Cartoon Studies, Caitlin is driven to give greater exposure to the art and artists that may otherwise be forgotten or marginalized.  She actively partners with her Ohio State colleagues and the community to extend cartooning’s legacy.

Varios manga

Vintage Japanese manga

The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum is an indispensable resource for understanding the perceptions of popular culture, societies, nationalism and gender spanning over 100 years across multiple contents.  At every turn, the library, museum and staff offer a path to exploration and discovery.  We highly recommend visiting their current exhibits, exploring their online exhibitions, meeting award-winning speakers and joining them and others for the four-day, comics expo Cartoon Crossroads Columbus.

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Columbus Metropolitan Library Ready to Read Corps


Graduates of the Ready to Read program, Anna and Kev, enjoy listening to their dad read aloud.

Columbus Metropolitan Library‘s Ready to Read Corps, part of the library’s young minds strategic focus to encourage learning and growth, prepares some of Columbus’ most at risk youth for success in kindergarten.

By engaging not just children but entire communities, the Ready to Read Corps encourages families when they are faced with an array of challenges and affirms they are not alone.  The impact is astounding and transformative.

We are honored to bring you their story during National Library Week.  Every day at noon, we will add a new facet to this feature.  Be sure to check back in.

In the meantime, please enjoy this wonderful video illustrating how Ready to Read helps create a foundation for a successful life.





Ready to Read Corps. members Ryan Agnew and Stephanie Burley

Ryan Agnew and Stephanie Burley are two of the amazing members of the Columbus Metropolitan Library’s Ready to Read Corps. Stephanie and Ryan serve children and families in the community through outreach to help ensure kindergarten readiness through literacy.  They manage the bookmobile, provide home visits and develop lessons and best practices for storytime and programming.

Stephanie, a doctor of English literature and former Peace Corp volunteer, has been with CML since 2008 as a customer service representative, youth service specialist and most recently, Ready to Read specialist.  She enjoys the fast-paced, challenging, and fun nature of the work.

Ryan, an accomplished artist, has taught at Ohio State and Ohio Dominican Universities and joined Columbus Metropolitan Library in 2008.  He became a Ready to Read Corps member in 2013 and is passionate about his role in supporting disadvantaged families with babies, toddlers and preschoolers to be their children’s “first teachers” of foundational literacy skills.


Rosie Ready to Read

Meet Rosie, Columbus Metropolitan Library Read to Read’s Bookmobile

We adore CML’s colorful and inviting Ready to Read bookmobile, lovingly named Rosie.  Visiting roughly 200 homes a month and serving 500-800 families a year, Rosie, Ryan Agnew, Stephanie Burley and the Ready to Read team are changing lives.

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CML’s Ryan Agnew discussing some good choices based on a patron’s needs.

The Ready to Read Corps also visits job and family services welcome centers, food pantries, WIC offices and pediatric centers where at risk families spend significant time.  For many citizens, if no transportation to the library exists, they can’t go.  Rosie bridges that gap while Ryan, Stephanie and other specialists provide encouragement, expertise and a customized collection to each visit.


Aboard Rosie, the Ready to Read Corp’s bookmobile, grown up and kids alike are invited to sign up for a library card.  The library provides two options for kids and teens under the age of 17, they can obtain a standard library card, which requires a parent or guardian’s signature, or they can sign up for a kid card.

The kid card was created to remove all barriers that might prevent children from accessing the library’s collections.  The card, which does not require a parent’s signature to sign up for, allows holders to check out up to five books at a time. Kids cards are not subject to fines or to being blocked due to overdue items.  The library card also provides access any of CML’s 21 Homework Help Centers, library computers and research tools available through

The kid’s library card fosters a sense of responsibility,  pride and ownership in children by allowing them to manage their library items. This summer, all children who enroll in the summer reading program will be asked to sign up for their own library cards.



CML’s Bookmobile, Rosie, and hand-selected titles for the Franklin County Opportunity Center.

CML’s Ready to Read Corps partners with several other organizations to extend and strengthen the library’s impact.  Partners include Columbus Public Health, Center for Healthy Families and the Mt. Carmel Wellness & Community Center.

CML also started a pilot program with Learning Circle Education Services.  The pilot evaluates library programs and patrons’ school performance, creating evidence-based metrics and ensuring continuous improvement.

Ready to Read has a measurable impact.  Through a formal evaluation in partnership with The Ohio State University, CML found the program positively transforms parents’ attitudes about learning for themselves and their children.

Columbus Metropolitan Library’s Ready to Read Corps fulfills a very special purpose in our community, providing skills and opportunities not just for children, but for their parents as well. Through partnership, creativity and outreach, the dedicated and passionate team is able to help families achieve literacy and kindergarten readiness.


This mental model is used to demonstrate to families and organizations how the Ready for Kindergarten program prepares children for success.

We are thankful to the team at CML for sharing the important work of the Ready to Read Corps and for allowing us to highlight their accomplishments this National Library Week.  The Ready to Read Corps is a stunning example of the how libraries help transform young lives.

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Franklin County Law Library

A bust of Christopher Columbus welcomes visitors to the Franklin County Law Library

A bust of Christopher Columbus welcomes visitors to the Franklin County Law Library

The Franklin County Law Library is an incredible resource for Central Ohioans seeking legal information.  The library, seated in a beautifully renovated space on the 10th floor of 369 S. High Street, provides services for county and state employees, attorneys and those representing themselves (pro se). Everyone is welcome to access the library, but only attorneys can hold library cards and check out items.


The lounge area provides a place for visitors to relax and lots of natural light

Each day, the library serves about 60 visitors in person, over the phone and via email. Requests include information about legal processes and forms, historic state law and issues pertaining to cases. Sometimes staff find themselves in delicate situations where they help both sides of the same case in the same day! Attorneys often visit on breaks and during recess to access information within the library’s collection and online Westlaw, LexisNexis and HeinOnline accounts.  The library also hosts depositions and client/attorney meetings in its private meeting room.


Angela Baldree, Executive Director

Director Angela Baldree enjoys the opportunities each new day presents and appreciates a great staff and board who share a culture of collegiality.  She works in collaboration with the Bar Association to promote library services and awareness and sends monthly newsletters to inform members about events and opportunities.  The library also hosts a successful series of lunch and learn sessions covering a variety of useful topics like this month’s Hidden Gems.  Select sessions have provided continuing legal education credits, furthering attendees’ professional development. For National Library Week, the library has partnered with Columbus Legal Aid and will collect and donate gently used children’s books to the organization. Bonus! Patrons who donate will receive $5 off any accrued fines for each book donated.


Library circulation items include models for attorneys to use in court

Each of the 88 counties in the state has its own law library which range greatly in size and scope of service. The law libraries are funded by revenue from speeding tickets and the Franklin County Law Library supplements their budget through activities like used book sales.  The library is a member of Consortium of Ohio County Law Libraries, which allows the libraries to leverage their buying power, share resources and offers grants and consultation services to all of the county law libraries in the state.  In turn, the Franklin County Law Library can share savings with Franklin’s other county agencies, building both good rapport and good will.


Book inspired art

The Franklin County Law Libary is a bright and vibrant space and an obvious asset to the community.

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Windermere Elementary Library

Supply bins for students' next great creation

Windermere Media Center makerspace materials.

Find something you love, and you’ll never work a day – Shannon Hemmelgarn

Upon entering Upper Arlington’s Windermere Elementary Library and Media Center, we were immediately greeted with a symphony of young, excited voices and a flurry of activity.  It was the library’s Maker Day, and students throughout the entire library were focused on designing, creating and solving.

Librarian Shannon Himmelgarn assisting a student during the media center's maker day

Librarian Shannon Hemmelgarn assisting a student during the media center’s Maker Day.

Maker Day occurs every week, and the students love it.  Children partner with peers, work independently and collaborate with Librarian Shannon Hemmelgarn.  During our visit, we witnessed the creation of a lightweight paper structure that could hold a hardcover book, the colorful build of a potential future home and the deliberate process of a MakerBot manufacturing Lego bricks.  A plethora of materials with a mix of high and low tech are easily within reach of all students, making creativity fun and infectious.  “We work to develop the whole child,” Shannon explained.  By doing so, she and Windermere Elementary foster critical and design thinking in a welcoming environment.

MakerBot in action.

The MakerBot in action.

Literacy and research are the bedrock of the library.  Shannon, Media Clerk Edie Hartmus and library volunteer staff partner with teachers to create customized resources, supporting lesson plans and exceptional educational outcomes.  The collection of 14,000 books is augmented by author visits.  Caldecott Medal recipient Paul Zelinksy visited the school system thanks in partnership to the Upper Arlington Schools PTO and the Upper Arlington Education Foundation.  And the school is excited to welcome children’s lit-inspired musician Emily Arrow.  Emily will be performing her songs with Windermere’s ukulele orchestra, which Shannon is a part of.  Both visits demonstrate how art, music and literature co-exist and come alive at Windermere.

Musician Emily Arrow to visit Windermere.

Literature inspired musician Emily Arrow to visit Windermere.

Partnerships play an important role with Windermere’s library.  Upper Arlington Public Library’s Sue Emrick actively collaborates with Shannon to create an informative newsletter, and the public library sends representatives to Windermere for summer reading and e-book initiatives.  Shannon also partners with Windermere’s couselor on digital citizenship safety, other librarians in the district and Windermere’s administration to shape resource policies, like the district’s 1:1 laptop and tablet program.

Shannon Hemmelgarn with her favorite book, "Brown Girl Dreaming" by Jacqueline Woodson

Librarian Shannon Hemmelgarn with her favorite book, “Brown Girl Dreaming” by Jacqueline Woodson.

Shannon Hemmelgarn believes in the power of strong relationships.  After joining Windermere in 2015 from a successful, 13-year teaching tenure at New Albany-Plain Local Schools, she quickly built rapport among peers and students by being a trusted partner and promoting all resources as open and flexible.  She is the only teacher at the school who interacts with every one of the over 400 students every week, and she takes great pride in knowing each student.  Shannon is excited to further support Windermere’s curriculum, expand the library’s makerspace, enhance the collection’s diversity and fulfill her commitment to the community.

Popular magazines are thoughtfully displays for quick access

Popular magazines are thoughtfully displayed for quick access.

The Windermere Elementary Media Center is a phenomenon resource and a wonderful example of a fun, energizing and open environment.

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