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State Library Board History

The State Library of Ohio was established by Governor Thomas Worthington in 1817. In 1824, legislative recognition was made acknowledging the Library as one of the institutions of the State.

In 1844, a law was passed that placed the State Library under the care of a Board of Commissioners consisting of the Governor, the Secretary of State, and the State Librarian.

In the 1840’s and 50’s there was a standing committee on the library in the legislature.

In 1896, the law was changed to establish a Board of Commissioners of three chosen by the Governor to serve a term of two, three, and six years respectively, and then six-year terms thereafter.

In 1921, the law was changed to increase the Board to five members, with four members appointed by the Governor and the Superintendent of Public Instruction serving as the Chairman. The Superintendent of Public Instruction at that time was an elected official. The other members of the Board served eight-year terms overlapping at two-year intervals. This was done as part of the Governmental Reorganization Act of 1921 and effectively made the State Library a division within the Department of Education.

In 1955, the General Assembly enacted the present section of the Ohio Revised Code (3375.01) which sets up the State Library Board as an agency separate and distinct from the State Department of Education. According to a 1967 report, "The Ohio State Library: Present Operations and Future Opportunities," the Chief Administrative Officer of the Department of Education had been a regular appointee to the Board until the 1955 change in law and in fact was the only member that had not served continuously on the Board since 1955.