Ohio School for the Deaf Library



Established in 1829, the Ohio School for the Deaf serves students from all over Ohio who are deaf or hard-of-hearing. The school has over 200 students from preschool age through high school and also offers a program for graduates called 4PLUS, which helps young adults transition to life after school.



Ohio School for the Deaf library staff Tatum Cook and Nancy Boone

Librarian Nancy Boone began her career with the school as a teacher and worked with students in elementary, junior high and high school before taking on the role of librarian. With help from Library Assistant Tatum Cook, Nancy provides opportunities and programming for all of the students at the school. Tatum joined the library staff earlier this year and is a graduate of Ohio School for the Deaf. She previously worked in the preschool. Student workers also assist with shelving and other tasks around the library.



The OSD Library is a bright, welcoming space for students to enjoy

The OSD Library was built in 2013 and features ample natural lighting, open space and plenty of room for books. Nancy was able to reduce the collection size by using more digital reference tools, but noted that the collection of graphic novels has boomed since she’s been with the library.

Class groups visit the library regularly throughout the week to check out books, work on their reading skills and enjoy story time. They provide programming for high school classes as well, such as information literacy for students studying journalism. The library maintains a flexible schedule to accommodate all levels of students and is open after school hours for the students who live on campus during the week.



Library goldfish greet visitors

Nancy and Tatum create eye-catching, fun displays to engage students, and collections are marked with bright visual aids, allowing students to easily locate materials and navigate the library. The library features a large story time area, where books are read in sign language and acted out by Nancy and Tatum for the enjoyment of the students.



The history of Ohio School for the Deaf is part of the deaf collection

The library maintains a large collection of deaf materials, including books and videos related to deafness, sign language, education and culture. The library also offers DVDs and materials developed by the Shared Reading Project and designed to help parents and tutors of deaf children effectively share books with their children.

The fun environment, special collection and range of services provided by the staff make the library at Ohio School for the Deaf incredibly special.


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Grove City Library


In October 2016, Grove City Library opened the doors of a beautiful new building and welcomed the community into an open, vibrant environment designed to provide a functional, safe and flexible space to customers for years to come. The community responded enthusiastically to the opening of the new building — the library saw an uptick of over 1,500 new library cards registered in November 2016 over November 2015!


The library offers plenty of quiet space, in addition to gathering spaces


Grove City Library, a member of the Southwest Public Libraries, was founded in 1917 by the Women’s Civic Club of Grove City. Southwest Public Libraries is the second largest library system in Franklin county, serving more than 130,000 people over 127 square miles.


Assistant Director Bethanne Johnson

Assistant Director Bethanne Johnson manages the daily operations of the library and helped oversee the construction of the new building. She graciously provided our tour of the space and pointed out key design features, including modular furniture equipped with power outlets, new meeting spaces, study rooms and a dynamic youth service department. Johnson, who has been with the library for 32 years, helped to oversee the redesign and relocation of the library. She shared that she loves her job, the people she works with and the people she serves. She enjoys the community and the opportunity to share in the lives of her patrons.


Non-fiction selection, overlooking the youth services department

The library’s new design succeeds in keeping books as a key feature of the space.  Bookshelves are abundant, but do not interrupt the open feel of the library.

The versatile meeting room can seat up to 400 guests and is ideal for hosting summer reading programs, community events and special programming like the Military History program. The meeting room, as well as many of the study spaces feature state-of-the art technology, including smart boards and projector screens.

Harper’s Grove, the youth services department made possible by a generous gift from the family of the library’s first librarian, Irene Harper, is cleverly designed to reflect the library logo’s tree theme. The space incorporates work and play areas for children and parents of all ages. Learning centers are integrated into the collections to create a fun space for playing, discovery and literacy.


A look inside the library

The library partners with and provides space for a wide array of community organizations, including Scholastic Book presentations, the Summer Scribblers writing program, Grove City Writers Group, school programs and civic organizations.  The library’s new location in the Grove City Town Center puts it at the heart of many community events. The library participates in Arts in the Alley and the Town Center Christmas Parade and hosts a holiday event featuring Santa Claus and the Signs of Christmas chorus.

Cbus Libraries Co-Founder Andrea Dixon grew up with and worked for Grove City Library.  The library’s transformation of space, thoughtfulness of design and generosity of services are an amazing improvement and wonderful gift to the Grove City community.



Oberlin College Conservatory Library


This month’s feature on Oberlin College Libraries is a special traveling, two-part series.  This second installment focuses particularly on Oberlin’s Conservatory Library.  Please see our first part here.

The Conservatory Library at Oberlin College serves as a lively central hub for the college’s four music buildings.  Students meet, collaborate and even sing throughout the library.  In fact, while we toured the library, we heard a group of students working through and harmonizing on a music piece!

The library was created soon after Oberlin Conservatory of Music’s inauguration in 1865, making the conservatory the oldest continuously operating conservatory of music in the United States.  The current library building was constructed in 1963 and has undergone several enhancements. In 2000, the library’s collection was considerably expanded and a second story with high density shelving was added.  In 2010, the library obtained a vault for the library’s incredible special collections, and in 2015 the Conservatory Library Special Collections Reading Room was opened.


Conservatory Librarian Deborah Campana shares a moment in the library’s sunny atrium

Conservatory Librarian Deborah Campana noted the library is an essential partner to the Oberlin College Conservatory of Music . The library ranks among the largest academic music libraries with approximately 270,000 items, including 80,000 sound recordings, 127,000 musical scores and almost 63,000 books about music.  Specialized online databases and  computers equipped with composition software expand students’ discovery and technical expertise.  The library continues to actively collect in the area of women musicians as well as ethnic, folk, jazz and other genres.


Exhibit featuring the Milton J. and Mona C. Hinton Collection

The Conservatory Library’s amazing special collections, managed by Jeremy Smith, contain rare materials from the 1500s through today. The collection comprises of a wide array of recordings, music manuscripts, autographs, photographs, engravings, paintings, posters, playbills and instruments.  Jeremy oversees the ongoing digitization of the collections and creates engaging exhibits throughout Oberlin College’s campus.

The Conservatory Library at Oberlin College is a vibrant, musical space and a gem within the college.

Upper Arlington Public Library

UAPL Exterior

The Upper Arlington Public Library (UAPL) Main Branch

The Upper Arlington Public Library‘s main library is a spacious building with a stunning, light filled atrium.  The Library Journal places the system at its highest ranking of five stars, a designation Director Chris Taylor credits to the libraries’ staff.  With an average employee tenure of nine years, the team of 116 employees and over 120 volunteers champions the library’s mission to explore, gather and grow.

Listen Columbus

Listen Columbus is a project of UAPL promoting Central Ohio bands & musicians

UAPL offers groundbreaking services.  Listen Columbus, launching this October, will be an amazing resource to explore local musicians, stream their music and even download.  Keep up to date on all the music being added via Listen Columbus’ Twitter.  UAPL is also the first library in Central Ohio to offer passport services.  The service offers greater convenience by being open nights and weekends, and the comfortable library environment can’t be beat!  In the six short weeks since introducing, UAPL has already helped 110 people looking to possibly do service work abroad or enjoy an exotic vacation.


Upper Arlington Author Series brings a variety of notable authors to Central Ohio

UAPL collaborates with a number of community-based organizations.  The Upper Arlington Author Series is a partnership between the Upper Arlington Community Foundation, Upper Arlington Rotary, Friends of the Upper Arlington Public Library and UAPL.  Bill Clegg, longlisted for the National Book Award, will be speaking on October 2nd.  Past notable authors include National Book Award winner, Anthony Doerr, and Caldecott Medal recipient, Paul Zelinsky (brought in partnership with Upper Arlington Schools; see our post on Windermere’s Media Center).  Beyond the world-class authors UAPL helps to attract, the library also fosters aspiring authors.  Through a collaboration with the Upper Arlington Cultural Arts Division and the Upper Arlington Recreation Department, UAPL is hosting an all-day writers’ conference this October 15th.  One last collaborative highlight includes The Stand Project.  The initiative is “focused on the prevention of substance abuse and committed to standing by students and families in finding help.”  With financial support from the Upper Arlington Rotary Club, UAPL has created circulating book club kits with discussion questions featuring topics on substance abuse, mental health and more.

Childrens Area Signage

UAPL children’s area is transforming to enhance services

To better serve the community, UAPL is expanding its children’s storytime area into a flexible space.  By doing so, UAPL can cost effectively provide more programing and services without new construction.  UAPL is excited to unveil its multipurpose space the first week in September.

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UAPL Assistant Director Kate Porter

Kate Porter has been with Upper Arlington Library’s system since 1998.  As assistant director, she oversees public services at all three of the system’s libraries.  Kate grew a love for libraries when she was a history graduate student at the University of Delaware.  A few years later, she acquired her Master of Library and Information Science degree.  Kate loves being involved in various projects and looks forward to helping UAPL celebrate its upcoming 50th year.

Mo Willems High School Art

Mo Willems’ Pigeon and other children’s literary icons created by Upper Arlington High School students

Upper Arlington Public Library’s main branch is an incredible space with a dedicated team bringing unique programs and services to the Central Ohio community.  We highly recommend visiting soon!

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Columbus Zoo and Aquarium Library

Sheila Campbell, Columbus Zoo and Aquarium Librarian

“I’ll meet you by the pirate,” said Sheila Campbell, arranging our exciting and insightful tour of the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium‘s library.


The pirate at the entrance of the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

Sheila was hired as the zoo’s first librarian in 1997.  At the time, the library was housed in a double-wide trailer near the entrance of the zoo.  Equipped with a computer and a small collection, she was responsible for creating and managing the library system for the large organization.

As we entered the education offices, where part of the library’s collection lives today, Sheila shared that her office has moved three times since she began.  Today, she has an office and maintains part of the zoo’s collection in the education building, as well as a larger library and workspace in the Polar Frontier building.  In the education building, we visited classrooms for preschoolers and summer camps, and we checked out Sheila’s office, a long, narrow room lined with children’s books that the education staff borrow for classes.  She showed us two large closets containing the biofacts and props collections.  These items include animal skulls and skins, stuffed animals and other materials that by zoo staff can borrow for presentations and programs.


Articles in the props collection


These guys are part of the biofacts collection.

Next, we visited the library space in the Polar Frontier building, which also houses Zoo School, a program for high school juniors and seniors interested in zoology.  Sheila often works with the students, offering access to the library’s collection, instruction on research and bibliographic citation and help with their presentations.


Books and displays in the zoo’s Polar library

As we walked around the zoo’s properties, Sheila greeted members of the zoo’s staff with a smile and by name.  We learned she often goes out of her way to meet with individuals face to face.  Building relationships and making herself accessible to the zoo staff has increased library information requests and the library’s impact across the institution and beyond.  Sheila enjoys being able to answer questions for keepers and other zoo workers.  She researches the zoo’s collections and leverages The Ohio State University’s veterinary collections, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ librarian list-serv and even reaches out directly to field researchers in order to answer tough reference questions.

A reference librarian by training, Sheila enjoys finding answers for her constituents.  In addition to assisting zoo staff, she also answers all incoming questions to the zoo.  She shared that she receives around 1,000 questions a year via email, phone, mail and in person via the docents.  We asked her the strangest questions she’s had to answer:

“Do turtles have lips?”, followed closely by “Can I have a monkey for a pet?”


The preschool classroom

Sheila offers a myriad of services to the zoo staff, beyond answering questions.  She manages 30 journal subscriptions, catalogs and keeps the collections, assists with projects and presentations and offers help to the education staff for their teaching and programming needs.  She teaches research courses and training for docents, volunteers and school teachers.  She also partners with outside organizations, such as the Fawcett Center for Sy Montgomery’s book tour for “The Soul of an Octopus: A Surprising Exploration into the Wonder of Consciousness,” the Upper Arlington Public Library for a zoo related display and the Delaware Arts Castle on an exhibit featuring the zoo’s art collection.

Our tour of the zoo’s library left us in awe of the work that Sheila does, though it’s no surprise that an amazing institution like the Columbus Zoo has an amazing librarian to help with their information needs.


Pieces like this penguin can be checked out from the biofacts collection by zoo staff.


Pieces of the biofacts collection; it also includes eggs and bones from animals


Animal Behaviour Journal collection


Books in the library collection


A bone sorting chart in the biofacts room


Sign in the Polar building of the zoo


“Library security”

Exploring More Libraries in 2015

Cbus Libraries is looking towards another great year in 2015.

Cbus Libraries in 2014

Cbus Libraries is excited for another year of exploring Central Ohio libraries and discussing with professionals the value they bring to organizations and our community.  Last year, we toured and highlighted libraries at Ohio History Connection, Fitch, Bricker & Eckler, State Library of Ohio, Columbus Tool Library, Mount Carmel, and the Columbus Dispatch. This year we hope to highlight even more.

Is there a library you’d like to see featured on our site?  We are open to any type of library in the Central Ohio area, and we’d love to know more.  Please contact us at team [at] cbuslibraries.com or comment below with recommendations.

Thank you for the great work you do, and we look forward to hearing from you.

Warm regards,

Andrea Dixon and Bryan Loar

Columbus Tool Library

Mobile Tool Library

The Tool Library’s Tool Mobile takes tools out to the community for big volunteer projects.

The Tool Library is a non-profit program operated by Rebuilding Together Central Ohio.  A free service for Franklin County residents, the Tool Library offers tool and equipment loans and operates much like a traditional library.  The library has existed for 30 years and is one of only 60 tool libraries in the United States.  The Tool Library has 2500 members and around 180 nonprofit partners.

Borrowers apply for membership, work with library staff to check out materials and are accountable for returning them on time and in good condition.  The library has a large collection with a broad variety of tools.  Lawn tools and mowers, hand tools, power washers, wheel barrows, ladders and saws are some of the popular items loaned by the Tool Library.

In addition to providing the materials, the Tool Library also offers “How to” information, workshops and advice on how to use the tools for different projects.  Tools from the library help support 45 community gardens, and the staff maintains a demonstration garden.

Julie Smith, executive director, shared an example of how the tool library helped the community.  A local elementary school teacher needed to have her stage refinished because her students were getting splinters when the danced on it.  The project was outside of her school’s budget, so she borrowed materials and with the help of her father was able to complete the project on her own.

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The friendly Tool Library Staff show off their favorite tools


Folders contain information on how to complete various projects


A collection of crowbars


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Bins of tools and materials

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A collection of wheelbarrows