After receiving a grant of $1,900 from the Ottawa County Community Foundation and dipping into its own memorial fund donations, the library has begun putting materials in the Local History Room into digital format, which will make them available to the public on the library’s website.
“It’s going to be an on-going project,” said Georgiana Huizenga, library director. “Right now there are primarily obituaries, photos, and some news articles on it. We’ve just begun. It’s taken awhile to get the right software established.”
The library has partnered with the Ohio Historical Society and Ohio Memory Project to begin the digital collection, which is being headed by Jennifer Fording, local history assistant, who wrote a proposal for the project. Mrs. Huizenga then wrote the grant application.
The materials in the local history room of the library have been collected over the span of 40 years - primarily by Grace Luebke, a former director of the library who retired in 1993 but still comes into the library a few days a week The history room is named after her,
“This way people can access material in the room from their home computers,” Mrs. Huizenga said. “We’re putting the materials on CDs and sending them to the Ohio Memory Project, which has set up a homepage for us. There is a link on our Web site to that.”
Some of the material provides an insight into an era long gone. One obituary, Mrs. Huizenga said, mentions the grim reaper paying a call on the deceased.
“They don’t write them quite that way anymore,” she said.
The library plans to add court records, birth records, marriage records, journals, and church records to the project.
A complete list of the holdings in the history room is being compiled and can also be viewed on the page.
The Harris-Elmore Public Library and its branch in Genoa will reduce their hours in 2009 due to a projected loss of funding from the state.
The libraries next year will close at 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday, a half-hour earlier than the current closing time, and will be open on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. instead of 5 p.m.
Several employees will have their hours reduced and a salary freeze will be in effect.
There will also be an increase in the cost of photocopies.
“We’re trying to do it in a way that affects the public as little as possible,” Mrs. Huizenga said.
The library’s board of trustees approved the changes last week but declined to seek voter approval of a local property tax levy to bolster the library’s finances.
“The board also feels that trying to put a levy on the ballot would be counterproductive in the current economic climate, and hopes that these measures will help us get through the next biennium,” Mrs. Huizenga said.