The Wright Memorial Public Library in Oakwood will celebrate the $500,000 Jack W. and Sally D. Eichelberger Historic Restoration at a Community Open House and Read-a-thon on the Lawn from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday.
The open house will include tours of the recently restored and renovated spaces at the library, light refreshments, an Oakwood Historical Society display in the lower level, plus music and activities for children and adults on the front lawn, according to Tracy Staley, public relations and community engagement specialist.
She added that the recently completed $500,000 project included:
• Restoration of the historic front reading rooms and foyer with new light fixtures appropriate to the architecture, refinished original furnishings and woodwork, additional furnishings, convenient power access, and new carpet.
• Construction of a small conference room on the main level, equipped with technology for collaborative projects.
• Construction of a central customer service desk, improved flooring, electrical, mechanical and structural systems, and redesigned staff work areas.
Library Director Kristi Hale said: “This project has been a labor of love for us here at Wright Library, and we are so excited to share these beautiful spaces with the community.”
The project was funded by a $250,000 gift from The Jack W. And Sally D. Eichelberger Foundation of the Dayton Foundation.
Gifts were received from the estates of two long-time patrons — inventor, aeronautical engineer and author William R. Winslow; and Dr. Gerald E. Meyer — as well as $70,000 from the library’s capital fund.
A grant for a custom stained glass window was donated by the Wright Memorial Public Library Foundation. The window, by local artist Janet Strauss, was installed in the North Reading Room.
“We are incredibly grateful for these gifts. Our vision for the project was to bring this historic building back to the full beauty of 1939 while updating it to meet the needs of 21st century library users,” Hale said. “Through the generosity of the Eichelberger Foundation and the gifts of Mr. Winslow and Dr. Meyer, we have achieved those goals with very little use of public funds.”
Wright Library’s administration is committed to preserving the building’s unique character. The building, which is a listed on the National Register of Historic Places, features Tudor architecture, vaulted ceilings, Globe Wernicke book shelves and stained glass windows.
The library was nominated to the Historic Register in 2013 for its architectural distinction as an excellent example of a Tudor or Jacobethan Revival style library, designed by the Dayton architecture firm of Schenck and Williams. The architects were responsible for the designs of much of the civic architecture in Oakwood.
The project’s priorities were influenced by community feedback drawn from a multi-phased research process in 2016. Preserving the building’s history and architecture, making necessary repairs and updates, and enhancing the facility’s functionality emerged as key findings in the study.
The Library’s Board of Trustees selected local architects LWC Inc. and Arcanum-based Arcon Builders to complete the work.