More than 50 watch ribbon cutting for Perrysville branch of the Loudonville Public Library

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Armed with a hug pair of scissors loaned for the occasion by the Loudonville Chamber of Commerce, officials cut the ribbon for the new Perrysville branch of the Loudonville Public Library on Monday evening. June 27. Sharing in the cutting chore are, from left, Living Legacy Foundation President John Miller, Library Director Melissa Mallinak, Library Board President Peg Butler and Perrysville Mayor Heather Mullinnex.
Armed with a hug pair of scissors loaned for the occasion by the Loudonville Chamber of Commerce, officials cut the ribbon for the new Perrysville branch of the Loudonville Public Library on Monday evening. June 27. Sharing in the cutting chore are, from left, Living Legacy Foundation President John Miller, Library Director Melissa Mallinak, Library Board President Peg Butler and Perrysville Mayor Heather Mullinnex.

PERRYSVILLE - An upbeat throng of at least 50 well-wishers, users and donors watched Monday evening (June 27) as the ribbon was cut on the new Perrysville branch of the Loudonville Public Library.

The branch is a 24-hour automated library operation that offers a selection of books from the Loudonville library collection, book return facilities and free 24-hour wi-fi.

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The 24-hour library was made possible through a fund-raising effort of the Living Legacy Foundation of Loudonville Public Library, a campaign that generated nearly $175,000 in donations.

The campaign reached its goal in late 2021, despite a major slow-down caused by COVID-19, and the library facility was installed, at a location adjacent to the Green-Perrysville Fire Department building on state Route 39 East in the village. It has been open for about a month.

“We are thrilled to present the Perrysville branch,” Library Director Melissa Mallinak said as she opened ceremonies. “The branch is a symbol of a community that cares. With it, we extend all Loudonville library services into the Village of Perrysville, open 24/7, with wi-fi access.”

“Today we do more than thank the people that made this possible, we honor the community of Perrysville,” said Peg Butler, president of the library board of trustees and a 27-year member of the library board. “Few communities in Ohio have a facility like this, and it’s yours, Perrysville.”

Jamie Black, past president of the Living Legacy Foundation, said the idea of the automated library for Perrysville was presented by former Library Director Michael Thornton, “who suggested it just before he left for another job.”

Thornton, who now is the digital services manager at the Ashtabula Public Library, was present for the dedication.

Black said he recently read a book on the history of libraries, and learned that the original libraries were nothing more than boxes of books carried from place to place.

“Here we have a 21st century box that offers the most modern of library resources,” he said, referencing the box-like shape of the facility.

Campaign started with a GoFundMe account

He said the campaign for the branch started with a basic GoFundMe account, but received a big psychological boost when it was awarded a grant from the Gannett Newspaper Foundation.

Later, the Lions Clubs of Perrysville and Loudonville partnered on serving a pork chop dinner for the project, and the Friends of the Library group stepped up to support it. This attention sparked a number of individual donations, a total of 108.

“Major supporters, beyond the Living Legacy Foundation, included Bob and Lavonne Cowen of Cowen Truck Lines, who sadly both died before this dedication; the Ashland County Community Foundation; Park National Bank, the Ramser Foundation; and the Samaritan Hospital Foundation,” Black said.

Perrysville Mayor Heather Mullinnex shed tears as she thanked all involved for the new community facility.

“Libraries are the key to the outside world, and that key is here now,” she said. “This facility will serve as a focal point for the youth of our community, a place to visit, to check out books, to study, and to access the internet. It makes Perrysville a better place.”

Ceremonies concluded with Mullinnex, current Living Legacy President John Miller, Butler and Mallinak cutting a big ribbon with a huge pair of scissors.

This article originally appeared on Ashland Times Gazette: Perrysville branch of Loudonville Public Library has ribbon cutting