SLO 200

A Timeline of Governance at the State Library of Ohio

1817   The General Assembly approved the action of      the governor (purchasing books for a library) and  empowered him to appoint a librarian and adopt rules for use of the library.  The governor was made responsible for the library.
1824   The General Assembly recognized the state library as a department of the state and appointed a state librarian to serve a three year term.
1845   The General Assembly created a Board of Commissioners made up of the governor, secretary of state, and the state librarian.
1853   The term of the state librarian was changed to two years.
1896   The Board of Commissioners was abolished and a new Board of Library Commissioners was created. Members were appointed by the governor, with consent of the senate, for a term of six years. The commission had full authority to manage the library, appoint and remove the state librarian.
1906   The General Assembly authorized the board of library commissioners to offer advice as to the organization and maintenance of public libraries throughout the state and created the position of library organizer. The organizer’s duties included aiding public library and establishing new ones.
1921   House Bill 249 repealed section 789 of the General Code.  Section 154-26 abolished the state board of library commissioners, the librarian appointed by the state board of library commissioners, and the library organizer appointed by the state board of library commissioners.
Section 154-51-154-54 of House Bill 249 created the state library board in the department of education with the director of education as chairman.*   Four other members of the board would be appointed by the governor for eight year terms.  The state library board would appoint and remove the state librarian. The board was given the power to make rules for the governance and operation of the state library. It could organize the library into departments and determine the number of staff needed. The state librarian had the power to appoint and remove all heads of departments within the library.  The state librarian was secretary to the board.1933   The state aid law enlarged responsibilities for developing county-wide library service.
1956   The state library board was removed from the department of education.
1961   The board was changed to a five person board, appointed by the state board of education for five year terms.
1967   The state library’s official name became The State Library of Ohio.
1969   Ohio Library Development Plan (OLDP) resulted in a new law giving the state library dual responsibility as the reference library for state government and the state agency for the development and coordination of library services statewide.

Today, the State Library is governed by a five member board. The Board members are appointed by the State Board of Education and each member serves a five year term of office. Under the Ohio Revised Code, section 3375.01, the State Library Board is responsible for the State Library of Ohio and a statewide program of development and coordination of library services. Specific powers of the State Library Board include:

  • Maintain the State Library, holding custody of books, periodicals, pamphlets, films, recordings, papers, and other material and equipment.
  • Accept, receive, administer, and expend in accordance with the terms thereof, any moneys, materials, or other aid granted, appropriated, or made available to it for library purposes by the United States, or any of its agents, or by any other source, public or private.
  • Administer such funds as the General Assembly make available to it for the improvement of public library services, interlibrary cooperation, or any other library purposes.
  • Approve, disapprove, or modify resolutions for establishment of county district libraries.
  • Approve, disapprove, or modify resolutions to redefine boundaries resulting from school district consolidations.
  • Amend, define, or adjust the boundaries of library districts submitting applications for changes in their boundaries.
  • Encourage and assist the efforts of libraries and local governments to develop mutual and cooperative solutions to library services problems
  • Recommend to the Governor and to the General Assembly such changes in the law as will strengthen and improve services and operations.
  • Adopt such rules as are necessary for the carrying out of any function imposed by law.

~ “A Timeline of Governance at the State Library of Ohio,” SLO 200, accessed June 23, 2018,