Morley Library History

ancestry Family Tree Heritage Quest ProQuest African American Heritage

Celebrating over 100 Years of Service
Opened October 1899

The nucleus of the Morley Library on Phelps Street was provided by the local Women's Christian Temperance Union, which established a temperance library and reading room in 1878. After librarian Mary Dean's death in 1898, friends set about fulfilling her dream of a free public library. Other groups donated more books, the Village of Painesville agreed to provide tax funds, and businessman Jesse Healy Morley bought the land and erected the building. It was named in honor of his parents. Morley Library opened its doors in October, 1899, with Julia Erwin as librarian.

Additions to the building were made in 1937 and 1978. The first bookmobile started running in 1957. Morley Library automated its catalog and circulation in 1984. With the passage of the first operating levy in 1988, an Audio-Visual Room, a new bookmobile and Sunday hours became possible. Internet access was introduced in 1997 through OPLIN, the Ohio Public Library Information Network.

The November, 2001 General Election saw the passage of Morley Library's Bond Issue.  A groundbreaking ceremony on May 14, 2003 marked the official start to construction of a three story library designed by Meehan Architects of Cleveland, OH.  The original Library closed to the public at 5:00 PM on Sunday, October 17, 2004.

The new Morley Library building opened to the public on November 7, 2004, with a Ribbon Cutting.  The Building was officially dedicated on Sunday, February 13, 2005.  Dedication Day included speeches, music, door prizes, and other entertainment.

Page last updated 19 May 2005.