Brimfield Library Branch Manager Emily Hegner holds Alice In Wonderland-sized scissors for the ribbon cutting ceremony. Jeremy Brown/The Portager

Portage County has a new library branch in Brimfield after 13 years

The Portage County District Library kicked off 2024 with the opening of a new library branch in Brimfield, located at 4286 Kelso Drive, in front of the plaza where the former library was.

A soft opening of the library occurred over a week ago, however, the grand opening is set for 1 p.m. Jan. 20 with a ribbon cutting ceremony, an appearance by an Alice In Wonderland impersonator, raffles and cookies.

Brimfield’s former library closed in 2011 because of budget cuts, but Portage County voters passed a levy in 2022 to expand library services throughout the county, as well as open a new branch in Brimfield.

Jeremy Brown/The Portager
Jeremy Brown/The Portager

Portage County District Library Director Jonathan Harris said southern Portage County is traditionally underserved by the library system.

“We only had one branch in southern Portage County, and it was only open 25 hours a week,” he said, referring to the Randolph branch. “So when we managed to pass a levy, the first thing we did was increase hours everywhere. The next things we did were to start scouting out a place where we could open up another branch and see about getting bookmobile service started back up, which should happen later this year.” 

The Portage County District Library and Brimfield Township worked together on the project.

“Getting this up and off the ground is only possible because people of Portage County supported us,” Harris said. “It’s also something that’s possible because Brimfield Township decided it was going to be a priority. It was largely the township that came through and said, ‘Hey, we can find you a space.’ They did an amazing job with that.”

Brimfield Library Branch Manager Emily Hegner had felt the impact from the closing of the former Brimfield library for quite some time. 

“When I started here in Portage County, I was actually the branch manager at Streetsboro,” Hegner said, “and we still had people coming in regularly to Streetsboro asking about the Brimfield branch that had closed down. So there was definitely a need, and people still wanted the library here, and so it means a lot to bring it back.”

Annie Zwisler, who leads public relations and development for the district, encourages local patrons to attend the open house to see what the new facility has to offer and to take part in the festivities planned for the grand opening.

She said they’ll have raffle baskets, prizes for all age groups and a reader challenge people can sign up for. You’ll also be able to get a library card if you need one.

The new branch will offer all the services other Portage County libraries offer, including Storytime, book clubs, reading challenges, printing and copying services, as well as library express delivery service that goes to eight locations in Portage County. They even offer mobile wifi hotspots that are available to check out and use at home. 

The library also offers computer training, as well as an event room for the Brimfield Parks and Recreation Department. 

Local resident Carlesa Smith studies for a class she is taking. Jeremy Brown/The Portager

Local resident Carlesa Smith was walking to Dollar General shortly after the soft opening of the library and noticed the lights on, so she decided to stop in and check it out. 

Since then she has been using the library to study for a class she’s taking, which she says has saved her from having to take a bus to another location.

“I’m glad it’s here because I was going to the Kent location, catching the bus from downtown Kent,” Smith said. “But this is a five-minute walk, more convenient, and there are kids in our community that need a library closer to home.”

Library hours:

Monday: 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Tuesday: 11 a.m. – 7 pm
Wednesday: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Thursday: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Friday: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Saturday: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Sunday: Closed

Jeremy Brown
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