Even before the original settlers of our village left their homes in Granville, Massachusetts, they had made plans for the establishment of a library in Ohio. The books for that library were purchased in the East and transported on horseback by Samuel Everitt, Jr. Less than a week after their arrival here, in November, 1805, they appointed officers for the library association and the first librarian, Hiram Rose. In January, 1807, a charter was granted to the association by the government of Ohio; called the Alexandrian Society (in memory of the great library of Alexandria, Egypt), the charter also provided for the operation of a bank, which was located in the yellow stone building which at present houses the Granville Historical Society's museum.
After this initial flurry of activity, readers in Granville had to rely on literary societies, schools, or private circulating libraries for their printed material. More than a century passed before a major effort was made to establish a public library in Granville. In 1912 the Charter of the Granville Public Library was issued by the Ohio Secretary of State. Initially the library was located in the discarded building of the Baptist Church; however, in 1923, Mrs. Charles B. White took leadership of a campaign to raise $100,000 to build and maintain a new library building. Feeling that the site of her parents' home would make an ideal location, she donated the site and moved the residence to the back of the lot. Frank Packard, the architect for the Granville Inn, designed the library to complement the Inn; the stone for the library was donated by Miss Virginia Thorn from her own quarry.
Severe space constraints made necessary an addition, which was designed by Baker and Associates and completed in 1970. Other improvements to the building included the creation of a public meeting area under the old building and installation of an elevator to make the building more accessible. In 1989 a major renovation took place under the direction of architect Julius Blum; it created about 2,000 square feet of active library space in the lower level, which housed the audio-visual collections.
Demand for library services continued to grow along with the community during the next decade. A library planning services study was conducted in 1999 which recommended the building be expanded to meet future projected needs. The property at 122 South Prospect Street was purchased in 2000 to provide additional space for such expansion. The Library Board of Trustees along with various community groups spent the next three years exploring options to relocate the Sinnett House from the back of the library's lot. The Sinnett House was eventually sold to Granville Historic Properties, LLC and was moved to that portion of the library lot that faced Prospect Street.
Meanwhile, DesignGroup, an architectural firm in Columbus with extensive experience in designing and renovating libraries, was hired to manage a community-based planning program and to provide architectural services. A one (1) mill bond issue was passed by the voters of the Granville Exempted Village School District in November 2004 which provided $5,175,000 for the expansion/renovation project. The groundbreaking ceremony was held in February 2006. The library continued to operate during the construction of the new addition, and then the collection and services were moved into the new addition while the 1924 and 1970 portions of the building underwent renovation. The completed building opened its doors to the public on December 12, 2007, and the formal dedication was held the following month.
Visitors to the library often ask about the statue located at what was formerly the main entrance. Created by Diane Powell, it shows two children and a little dog enjoying a book together; the dog is a Welsh Corgi, a breed which recalls Granville's Welsh heritage. The statue was made possible by funds contributed by the Ohio Arts Council, the Granville Public Library Board of Trustees, and Committee 75, a group of local donors headed by Cal Prine and Richard Mann.