Stow Library was founded in May 1924 as a school district library with a Board of Trustees appointed by the Board of Education. It was first located in the Township Hall close to the center of town and served both Stow and Munroe Falls, as it does today. Jessie Williamson, daughter of Adella (Adell) Durbin, was the first librarian of Stow Public Library. Mrs. Williamson was sent to school at Western Reserve University for one month in the summer of 1924 for library training, at the expense of the Library Board of Trustees. The library officially opened to the public in January 1925.
Jessie (Mrs. Don) Williamson June 1924 – July 1927
The Library’s collection at this time consisted of 2,000 books, primarily fiction with some reference books. The first budget of $4800 had to provide service to the public library, as well as to the high school and grade school libraries.
Louise Thomson July 1927 – July 1929
Ms. Thomson began cataloging the library book collection with a cataloging budget of $500. She also instituted celebrations for National Library Week and Children’s Book Week, set up book displays, and held Story Hours for children. After Ms. Thomson resigned, the Board of Trustees voted to give the new librarian a two-week vacation at the end of the first year, but she would have to find her own replacement and pay her herself!
Nellie Glass July 1929 – August 1932
In 1930 a part-time assistant to the librarian was hired and the Library Board of Trustees purchased the Clara M. Bradley property at 122 Hudson Road (now Darrow Road) for $8,500. It was located across from the First Christian Church. The library was moved from the township hall building to a small house on the property, which was home to the library until 1963.
Marion King August 1932 – July 1937
Marion King began the practice of inserting library news into the only existing local paper at the time, "The Community Church News", which was issued by the Community Church of Stow. Ms. King also accomplished full cataloging of the collection for the first time.
Jeanne C. Lewis September 1937 – November 1939
Jeanne C. Lewis was the first graduate of the Kent State University School of Library Science to lead the library. During her tenure, the Board of Trustees decided to allow personal sick leave for the librarian. She did, however, have to personally reimburse her substitute at $.50 an hour.
Lottie Mae Straka February 1940 – February 1945
During this time, the little house was remodeled to include a new office and staff workroom, music recordings (78’s and LP’s) were added to the collection, and the assistant librarian position was made full-time. Two cents per day was charged for overdue items.
Bernice Van Hyning May 1945 – September 1947
Ms. Van Hyning started sending book reviews to be published in the “Community Church News" and she began submitting detailed circulation reports to the Board of Trustees, something that had not been done in the past.
Myrtle Sloan June 1948 – June 1949
According to Library Board of Trustees minutes, the board had difficulty finding a librarian because the beginning salary was very low and there was a shortage of qualified librarians. Ms. Sloan retired after one year on the job.
Dorothy A. Stair (Saviers) June 1949 – November 1963
Many changes occurred during Mrs. Saviers’ fourteen-year tenure. The first telephones were installed in 1950 and a mimeograph machine and a safe were purchased the same year. The first shelvers were hired in 1953 at a salary of $.50 per hour. In 1959, the connection between the public library and the school libraries was severed and planning began for a new library building. By 1963 there were six staff members and yearly circulation was over 100,000.
Doris Jyurovat November 1963 – December 1985
Doris Jyurovat, or Mrs. J., as she was known by in the community, started as acting Director in 1963 after the resignation of Dorothy Saviers. Mrs. J. instituted monthly staff meetings, a library organizational chart, a staff handbook of operations, and staff professional continuing education. In the 1960’s, regular story hours were set, school fields trips to the library began, and book discussions were begun. Mrs. Jyurovat oversaw three building projects in 1963, 1973, and 1979. In 1963 plans were made to move the library from the little house. By 1973 the new building needed an addition. Another addition added in 1979 gave the library a total of 20,000 square feet of space.
Margart Cooper January 1986 – February 1997
Margaret Cooper integrated new technologies into the library, with the addition of automated
Circulation and a computerized card catalog. After four years of work, the Project 2000 committee, consisting of library staff, Trustees, and community members, initiated an addition and renovation plan. The plan allowed for utilization of the second floor and updating of the first floor to accommodate increases in materials and technology. A 12-year, 0.88-mil bond issue was passed in November 1995 to fund this project. Because of Mrs. Cooper’s medical leave during most of 1996, Vickie Victoria, Assistant Director, served as Interim Director. Ms. Victoria oversaw the expansion of the library, as well as the library’s move to temporary quarters in the Stow-Kent Shopping Center. The newly expanded and renovated Stow-Munroe Falls Public Library opened to the public in November 1997.
John Patane June 1997 – March 2004
On December 7, 1997, Mr. Patane hosted the grand re-opening ceremony, attended by over 1,000 guests. Immediate results of the expansion and renovation of the library included huge jumps in circulation and new card holders.
Doug Dotterer March 2004 – Present
Doug Dotterer, a longtime resident of Stow, considers the library the 'crown jewel' of the community. Currently the library checks out over 800,000 items per year and employs over 40 full and part time employees. Today’s library features the latest materials and cutting edge technology.
*Information taken from Library Leaders – 80 Years of Library Directors 1924 to 2004, written by Chris Caccamo. Sources of information include news clippings, volumes of the Community Church News, Stow Public Library Minutes, Recollections of Living and Working in Stow and Stories of a Stow Native by Fred Long and History of Stow Library by Phyllis K. Woodward. All sources are located in the Stow-Munroe Falls Public Library Local History Room.