The Democratic Press, April 24, 1895, Page 2
Inspired with the thought of assisting the young minds of the community toward the higher ideals, a number of our citizens have originated and put into practical shape the idea of a public library and reading room for Ravenna.
Under a statute enacted in 1892, any incorporated village is authorized to levy a tax, not exceeding one mill, for the purpose of founding and maintaining a public library and reading room.
The Legislature wisely recognized the moral and educational utility of such an institution in every municipality, and realized also that the only way to insure its continuance was to support it by public taxation. And this is eminently right and just. A public library and reading room is something that every resident of the city is personally interested in, and to which he has full and unlimited access. The privileges are equal to all, and all should therefore contribute to their maintenance in accordance with the property possessions of the individual beneficiary.
Among the pioneers in the movement the names of Hon. C. A. Reed and Rev. W. G Schoppe are particularly prominent. The latter gentleman has thoroughly sounded the sentiment among a large number of the representative citizens of the place, and his suggestions everywhere met with hearty approval, and his plans with hearty endorsement. After establishing a basis of popular acceptance, it was further planned, in order to get a still better and more complete expression from the people, to call a meeting for the public discussion of the project, at which representatives from all the various Orders and Churches in the town were invited to be present. The meeting was held last Friday evening at the office of Wm. Grinnell in the Opera Block. It was well attended and earnestly participated in by the large delegation present, who represented substantially all of Ravenna. Mr. Grinnell was chosen Chairman, and E. W. Maxson as Secretary. M. G. Garrison, County Treasurer, was present, and spoke of the favorable outcome of a similar movement in Kent, making an extended statement. Mr. Maxson told of the successful and satisfactory operation of the plan in Garrettsville.
C. A. Reed said that the business men of Ravenna owed something to the young men along this line, and earnestly advocated the consummation of the idea, which seemed to him a wise and beneficent one.
Rev. W. G. Schoppe said he had probably visited one hundred business and professional men, and understood them all to be in favor of such a movement. The material prosperity of the city would depend upon its mental and moral development, especially of its young men who are to take the place of those now at the helm. His observation had been that a good public library and reading room tones up the whole life of a city or community.
Rev. Andrew Willson spoke of the proposed institution as a long felt need in this city, and called attention to a deceased citizen who had made provision in his will at one time for the establishment of a public library in Ravenna, but as nothing was done about it, he feared the will had been changed. Mr. Willson, it is needless to say, is an enthusiastic believer in the efficiency of the plan.
Rev. B. F. Ashley said he had thought much of what a bright young man once said to him that a young man was nowhere in Ravenna unless he had a girl. He thought a library and reading room were greatly needed here. Not every young man enjoyed the privilege of young lady companionship, and for such the area of intellectual enjoyment outside of private reading, must appear barren indeed.
Remarks, practically of the same tenor, were made by nearly all the representatives present, who spoke not only for themselves, but for a large, intelligent and influential constituency. They affirmed with much evident personal gratification, that the organizations in whose behalf they were there, strongly favored the movement, and could be depended upon to assist in the work of its future maintenance to the best of their abilities.
D. M. Clewell was present, and as usual with him, manifested great and practical interest in an affair of general public concern. He said that such a library and reading room was not only necessary for young men, but would greatly benefit all ages and classes of the people. The sentiment in favor of it, he said, was all settled. He did not believe any one could be found who would think unfavorably of the plan. The only question was how to get at it. In his practical business way he brought the matter to a point, and suggested the selection of a committee to present the matter before the City Council, and ask them to levy the tax. Rev. Andrew Willson, Rev. B.F. Ashley and D. M. Clewell were thereupon named as a committee for this purpose.
Duplicate petitions will be left at the post office and other public places, after tomorrow morning, for signature by citizens, asking Council to make the necessary levy, A special meeting of Council has been called for next Monday evening, to take action in the matter.