Southwest Public Libraries will serve as the community's center for independent lifelong learning

... by building resources to provide the most accurate and current information possible in formats to meet citizens' needs

... by offering stimulating and entertaining materials and programs to educate and inspire.

... by initiating and fostering in children a permanent love of reading and learning.

Administrative Staff:
Mark Shaw 
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Office Manager
Stacey Dean
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Accounting Manager
Celeste Mosley 
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IT Manager
Michael Hanna 
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Human Resources Manager
Emily Bowen
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Communications Manager
Joanna Morehart
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Grove City Library Staff:
Assistant Director - Grove City Library
Bethanne Johnson 
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Circulation Services Librarian
Christina Edwards
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Youth Services Librarian
Lore Lehr 
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Reference/Adult Services Librarian
Emma Trudeau 
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Technology Services Librarian
Katie Puckett
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Outreach Team Leader
Sheila Sexton
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Technical Systems Head
Pat Crossen
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Westland Area Library Staff:
Assistant Director - Westland Area Library
Michele Lowe 
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Youth Services Librarian
Mary Allen 
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Reference Services Librarian
Denise Southworth
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Circulation Services Librarian
Summer Hamilton
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Southwest Public Libraries serve 127 square miles in Franklin County, more than 23% of the county's total land area, plus one square mile in Pickaway County.

SPL is the second largest library system in Franklin County. Over the past decade, the service population has grown by more than 40,000, now exceeding 130,000. The non-white portion of the population has risen from 10% to 15%, including a dramatic rise in the Latino population and significant new populations of Somalian and Russian immigrants.

Currently, more than one-third of students in the South-Western City Schools are receiving free or reduced lunches based on low income levels, and 36% of households in the district are rentals. Much of the growth, and in particular the increase in non-English speaking low income residents, has created an ethnically diverse population concentration near the geographic center of the district.


Southwest Public Libraries have the legal status of school district library, which means that the library system's territorial boundaries are coterminous with those of the South-Western City School District. This legal designation also means that the Board of Education appoints the seven citizens who serve on the library Board of Trustees, passes the library's budget requests along to the county auditor, and serves as the library's taxing authority.


The library's funding consists of money provided by the Public Library Fund which comes from the State of Ohio and from a 1 mill property tax passed by the voters in November, 2010. Patron fines and fees, donations, and interest make up less than five percent of the library's budget.


Southwest Public Libraries presently consists of two full-service regional facilities. The Grove City Library is located at 3959 Park Broadway in Grove City, and the Westland Area Library is located in the Lincoln Village Plaza at 4740 West Broad Street in Columbus. The Westland Area Library has 25,000 square feet of public service space. SPL partnered with the City of Grove City to construct  the new 48,000 square foot Grove City Library that opened on October 2016. All SPL facilities are a part of the Central Library Consortium and use the Polaris integrated library system to provide patron services.


SPL's staff currently consists of about 85 positions, ranging from high school students to professional staff with advanced degrees.


Southwest Public Libraries own collections of books, recorded books, compact discs, digital video discs, and videocassettes which now total more than 300,000 items. As a partner and member of the Central Library Consortium, SPL offers access to collections which exceed 5 million items.


The library's total usage increased dramatically over the past decade. While circulation rose almost 100% during that time, it has leveled off at about 1.2 million annual loans, with more than 600,000 items used in the library each year without being loaned. Other usage indicators are increasing as well. The number of reference questions answered per year has continued to rise, but presently there is no accurate measurement for questions answered via library databases for persons who perform their own online searches in the library or on home or office computers.


Funding from the state of Ohio has been stagnant or declining for more than a decade. However, this has been mitigated by the passage of a property tax levy passed by the voters in November, 2010. While the library is no longer completely dependent on state funding, any future cuts will have a negative impact on SPL's ability to effectively serve a growing and diverse population. The South-Western City School District is the sixth largest school district in the state and providing service to every area of the district is a constant challenge.

Parking becomes more and more challenging each year. Availability of parking near the Grove City Library improved somewhat in recent years due to development of public parking by the City, but difficulties still occur during many peak periods. Recently, parking has become an intermittent problem even at our Westland Area Library, as traffic increases in the West Broad Street area.

Finally, rapid population growth, including the rise in non-English speaking residents, provides new challenges every day.

February 2017

Online Meeting Room Booking

For the first time, SPL offers online booking of meeting rooms and study space through a feature of Evanced Solutions.
October 16, 2016

New Building Opened

The new Grove City Library opened to the public at 3959 Broadway in the Grove City Town Center. The 48,000 square-foot building has twice the amount of public space as the Park Street location, large meeting rooms, quiet space, more public computers, more parking spaces, and a dedicated teen room. The Youth Services area includes Harper's Grove, an early literacy center with games, toys, and other features that promote the skills children will need as they learn to read. Harper's Grove is the result of a generous donation from Laura Harper in honor of her late husband John and his aunt Irene, the first SPL Librarian.
May 2013

Join CLC

Southwest Public Libraries along with Columbus Metropolitan Library and Worthington Libraries made the strategic decision to join the Central Library Consortium (CLC). This partnership resulted in 11 library systems serving 1.4 million residents across six counties. At this time, SPL transitioned from Discovery Place to Polaris as its new ILS (integrated library system).
May 2013

New Grove City Library

SPL and the City of Grove City formally agree to a partnership to build a new Grove City Library at the corner of Broadway and Grant Avenue in Grove City’s Town Center. The City of Grove City agrees to contribute $2 million and to pay SPL $2.5 million for the existing library on Park Street with SPL contributing an additional $ 2 million to the project. The remaining construction costs are to be paid for with a 30 year bond issue with SPL and the City of Grove City splitting the payments on the bonds. At the end of the 30 year bond issue, the Grove City Library will be owned outright by SPL.
September 2012

Sunday Hours Brought Back

In response to overwhelming customer support, SPL reinstitutes Sunday hours for the first time since 2003.
July 2012

Negotiations Begin for New Building

Negotiations begin between SPL and the City of Grove City to build a new, expanded Grove City Library somewhere in Grove City’s Town Center.
June 2012

New Logo

SPL adopts new logo designed by Communications Manager Amy Shaw and launches a rebranding campaign to reinforce its primary mission of lifelong learning and to improve brand identity and recognition within the library district. SPL’s old logo had been in place since 1988.
May 2012

Community Survey

SPL completes a comprehensive community survey to assist with long-range strategic planning. District residents express strong support for the return of Sunday hours and purchases of more library materials. Residents also reject the idea of a smaller branch located east of I-71 in Grove City; preferring an expanded Grove City Library in Grove City’s Town Center.
February 2011

Increased Hours

As a result of the passage of the 1 mill levy in November, 2010, seventeen hours are added back to the operating schedule, purchasing of new library materials is resumed, and programs for children are expanded.
November 2010

Levy Passes

Voters approve a 1 mill levy with a duration of 10 years. Funding from this levy is approximately $2.5 million annually and now makes up 45% of SPL's funding.
June 2010

Levy Campaign

SPL Board votes to place a 1 mill, 10 year levy on the November 2 ballot in order to replace funding lost since 2001. Former library trustee and community leader Jeff Davis is appointed chairman of the levy campaign.
June 2009


In response to the severe recession, the Ohio General Assembly reduces the Public Library Fund from 2.22% of all General Revenue Fund taxes to 1.97%. In response, SPL lays off 15 staff members, reduces hours by one-third, and reduces purchases of books by 75%, and closes the Central Crossing Library. Since 2001, SPL's funding from the State of Ohio has decreased 33%. In addition, all staff members take a 10% pay cut through an unpaid furlough.
October 2008


The near-collapse of U.S. financial markets triggers the most severe recession since the 1930s. Library funding is severely impacted.
January 1, 2008

New Funding Formula

The Ohio General Assembly adopts a new funding formula for public libraries. The new formula moves away from reliance on personal income tax and provides libraries with 2.22% of all General Revenue Fund Taxes.
May 2005


Self-Checkout is implemented. Over 50% of circulation is handled by self-checkout.
February 2003

Sunday Hours Eliminated

Due to continued reductions in state funding, Southwest Public Libraries is forced to eliminate Sunday hours. Some weekend-only staff are laid off for the first time in library history. Salaries, benefits, and public service are also frozen or reduced.
September 29, 2002

New Director

Director Frances Black retires. Mark Shaw is named director; Shaw has an MBA from the Fisher College of Business at the Ohio State University and a Master of Library and Information Science degree from Kent State University.
August 26, 2002

Central Crossing Library

SPL begins providing services at the Central Crossing Library. Located in Central Crossing High School on Big Run Rd., this library is a joint venture between SPL and South-Western City Schools.
October 14, 2001

10th Anniversary

Westland Area Library celebrates the 10th anniversary of its' building.
December 1999

Ohio Read Grant

SPL receives a $22,150 grant from the Ohio Reads program to assist English as a Second Language students. This is the beginning of library programming targeted toward diversity in the district.
April 1999

Joint Venture

Library and South-Western City Schools administrators meet for the first time to discuss a possible joint library venture.
December 1996


One Ohio Public Library Information Network (OPLIN) terminal, providing Internet access and commercial databases, is made available at each SPL location.
November 7, 1996

Levy Fails

A one mill property tax levy fails at the polls.
July 1996

Bookmobile Discontinued

Bookmobile service was discontinued; the bookmobile was eventually donated to South-Western City Schools.
July 1996


DiscNet, a collection of CD-ROM reference products operated by the Columbus Metropolitan Library, becomes available at SPL locations.
January 24, 1995

Building Donated

Library trustees vote to donate the Harrisburg Library building to the village of Harrisburg.
November 8, 1994

Levy Fails

Seven-tenths mill property tax levy fails at the polls.
June 1994

Summer Reading Club

The first summer reading program in cooperation with the Columbus Metropolitan Library and Worthington Public Library is held.
January 1, 1994

Funding Reduced

Library and Local Government Support Fund, which provides state funding to public libraries, reduced from 6.3% of the state income tax to 5.7%.
December 13, 1993


SPL establishes the library's first connection to the Internet via OHIONET.
May 1993

Discovery Place Libraries

SPL enters Discovery Place Libraries consortium with the Columbus Metropolitan Library, Worthington Public Library, and Franklin University Library. By year's end the library's circulation and online catalog functions are fully converted.
October 19, 1991

Westland Area Library Opened

The expanded and remodeled Prairie Library reopens as the Westland Area Library. The 21,000-square-foot building provides the same services and collections as the Grove City Library.

Harrisburg Library Phased Out

Harrisburg Library is phased out. Community demand leads the library board to allow residents to operate the library with some SPL financial support.
December 5, 1989


Bookmobile service is established with a grant from the federal government.

Concentrate Services

Library trustees decide to concentrate service in the district's two large population centers--Grove City and Prairie Township.

Levies Fail

2.9 mill tax levies placed on the ballot in May and November fail.
November 1988

New Name

Library system renamed Southwest Public Libraries. The change was designed to reflect the library's large service area, approaching 100,000 people over 127 square miles.
April 1988

New Director

Frances Black is appointed library director. Black holds a Masters Degree in Library Science from the University of Alabama.

New Funding Formula

After negotiations between the seven Franklin County Library systems, the Franklin County Budget Commission adopts a new funding formula designed to make funding distribution more equitable.
October 1986

Ballot Failed

Operating funds are inadequate for library expansion, so a 2.2 mill operating levy is placed on the ballot. It failed.


Library moved to automate many library operations. Within 18 months, card catalogs were replaced with a computerized online catalog and circulation and collections functions were automated.


Harrisburg and Prairie branches expanded and remodeled.

Franklin Branch Closed

Franklin Branch phased out due to lack of use.

New Director

Frederick E. Allison is appointed director. Allison held a Master of Library Science degree from State University College at Geneseo, New York.

New Director

After Mr. Schuler's death, William Cramer was appointed director.
January 6, 1974

Franklin Branch Opens

The Franklin Branch opens at 973 Harrisburg Pike in Franklin Township.


The Grove City library building is expanded at a cost of $350,000.
September 10, 1972

Prairie Branch Opens

The Prairie Branch opens in Lincoln Village Plaza, 4740 W. Broad St., to serve Prairie Township.
November 8, 1970

Harrisburg Branch Opens

The Harrisburg Branch opens at 1036 High St. in the village of Harrisburg.

School Libraries

The school libraries are turned back over to the school board.

State Funding Increased

Under Mr. Schuler's direction, the library board filed an appeal before the State Board of Tax Appeals resulting in a dramatic increase in state funding for the Grove City Public Library.
April 1, 1968

First Director Hired

Donald V. Schuler was hired as the library's first Director. He held a Master's Degree in Library Science from Case Western Reserve University and a law degree from Marshall Law School.

New Librarian

Kathryn Hannon succeeded Audrey Earl as librarian.


Grove City building is expanded south to Civic Place.

Formal Contract

First formal contract for Grove City Public Library to provide services in South-Western City School buildings. The school district provided space, furnishings, and utilities while the library provided materials and staff.

Library Expands

South-Western City Schools is formed as Jackson, Pleasant, Prairie, and Franklin Townships, 129 square miles with a population of approximately 56,000. Grove City Public Library is a school district library, so it expands to the same boundaries.
March 10, 1954

New Building Opened

The new library building opened at 35 Park Street a cost of $81,119. The library held 15,000 books with space to add 10,000 more. Audio-visual service was added at this time.
September 1951

Audrey C. Earl Hired

Audrey C. Earl is hired as the new librarian. A graduate of the Western Reserve School of Library Sciences, she was the first professionally trained librarian at the Grove City Public Library.
July 1951

Kathleen White Passes

The library was deeply saddened by the death of Kathleen White after 16 years of service.

Building Bond Fails

Library building bond issue fails.

Lot Purchased

Library trustees purchase Lot #5, otherwise known as 35 Park Street, as the permanent home of the library system headquarters. The house that stood there was rented, with profits added to the building fund.

Search for new Building

The building fund contained over $9,000, so trustees formed a building committee to recommend a location for a new library building.

Name Change

Library trustees change the library name to Grove City Public Library.

Building Fund

Library trustees set aside $500 as a building fund, the first step toward a board-owned building.


The Jackson Township Library was relocated to the second floor of the Rolla White building at 3708 Broadway.
January 1935

H. Kathleen White Hired

After Miss Harper's death, H. Kathleen White was named librarian. White was a graduate of the Ohio State University School of Journalism.


The library began to receive funding through the Ohio Intangibles Tax.
January 1924

Irene Harper Hired

Library trustees hired Miss Irene Harper as the first librarian with a $30 monthly salary. The civic club gave the new Jackson Township Library the use of all the former library's books and equipment
November 1923


The library was reorganized as a township school district library eligible for tax revenue.
January 1923


By this date the library had moved to a small building at the southeast corner of Broadway and Civic Place. The $15-a-month rent included lights, heat, and daily janitor service.
May 1917

Public Reading Room

Women's Civic Club gave $63.00 to establish a public reading room. It was free to the public and staffed by volunteers. The library was located in the Director's Room, First National Bank, at the southeast corner of Broadway and Columbus Streets. The bank donated the space and utilities.

Library Started

The Grove City Library was started as a private club in 1891. Public-spirited citizens pooled their private libraries in Harsh's Drug Store, located on Broadway, just north of Kingston Avenue. Membership was $2.00 a year.

Thank you for visiting our Web site and for your interest in Southwest Public Libraries. Our district covers a large geographic area and serves a large and very diverse population. My job as director is to ensure you receive the very best library service possible, and we strive to offer something for everyone. 

Southwest Public Libraries offer access to a wide variety of library materials and programs. Through our membership in the Central Library Consortium, we offer access to more than 5 million items, electronic databases and other resources, and our Summer Reading Club programs attract over 4,000 children each year. You can access our resources at the Grove City or Westland Area libraries or from the comfort of your own home via the Internet. You can also follow the latest library developments on Facebook and Twitter.

The past decade has been a difficult one for Southwest Public Libraries as significant cuts in our funding from the State of Ohio forced us to make cuts to the services we offer. However, the voters granted us a reprieve from these cuts when they passed a 1 mill property tax levy in November 2010. The passage of the levy meant the return of operating hours, library programs and the purchases of new materials. We are grateful to the voters for giving us the chance to once again offer great library service, and we work hard every day to ensure your tax money is spent wisely and efficiently.

We want your library experience to be rewarding and enjoyable. If there is anything I can do to make your library experience more enjoyable, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Mark M. Shaw, Director

By phone: (614) 875-6716, extension 119

By mail: Southwest Public Libraries, 3959 Broadway, Grove City, OH 43123

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Library Hours

Sun: Closed
Mon, Tue, Fri, Sat      10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Wed-Thur 12:00 PM - 7:00 PM


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Grove City Library

3959 Broadway
Grove City, OH 43123

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Westland Area Library

4740 West Broad Street
Columbus, OH 43228

WALbuilding small