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Serving Jefferson County, Ohio Since 1899
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Director's Column

PLSJC Director Alan Hall writes a weekly column discussing library and community news, history, and other interesting subjects.

The Library Website

By Alan Hall, Director, PLSJ
Publish Date - Sunday, April 19, 2015

The Public Library of Steubenville and Jefferson County operates 7 library locations in the county, including branches in Adena, Dillonvale, Tiltonsville, Brilliant, Toronto, and the Schiappa Branch, as well as the Main Library in downtown Steubenville.


You may have seen the Library Bookmobile making its way around the county, a service that dates back to 1948.


For the past 5 years, the Bookmobile has concentrated on service to senior housing sites, preschools, and small communities without an established library location.


Often overlooked is another location for library services, the Library Website, which has been available to the public for 15 years at


The current Website brings all of the online information sources that the library offers to one location and can be used by anyone.  Some portions of the Website require that you have an active library card with the system.


Half of the residents of Jefferson County have an active library card for the system, and over 1,000 people from outside Ohio pay the annual fee for a library card.


The library system’s online catalog is available on the Website so that you can select books, CDs, and DVDs from the collection from your home or office, and even place requests for the 7 million items in the collections of the other 90 public libraries within our system.


You can find out more about our library system and its services on the Website, and it serves as a portal to the myriad of information sources that your library card provides.


Nearly a quarter million eBooks are available for download from the shared collection of the Ohio Digital Library, and the newest product is called Flipster, which has eMagazines that can be downloaded to your tablet for use.


The eResources section highlights the other online databases and products that your library card makes available from online car repair information to testing books for various jobs and colleges.


Rosetta Stone is now available to our library card holders for those wanting to learn the 30 foreign languages available online.


I am constantly amazed by the drop-down list of databases and information sources on the Website, a fact noted last fall when we were inspected by the Federal Library Depository system that provides federal documents and information to our library system.

The U.S. Government Printing Office stated that “we applaud the library’s participation the SEO Library System which provides government documents to a wider audience in the State of Ohio.”


Our library system also maintains a Local History and Genealogy Department at our Schiappa Branch to collect and maintain information related to Jefferson County, as well as the migratory routes that led to this area.


Our library system receives and answers local history and genealogical questions from across the nation (and around the world) every week relating to our area.


As part of that department, we also operate the Digital Shoebox Project, which is an online system for over 80,000 pages of local history information.  The Shoebox is currently undergoing a software upgrade and by June will emerge as a completely new product with a new operating system that will allow new information to be added.


You can use the Internet to look up information, and yes, the library system uses the Internet to look up information, but the library also provides the “value-added” concept to the information search.


The Library has real human beings to assist with searches instead of the “Contact Us” that often appear on web pages.  You can contact the library via our Website, or you can call us, or visit one of our library locations.  We still receive letters in the mail asking for information!


The Internet is a great source for information, and replaces the long digging that libraries used to do to locate the answers to those questions that today pop up with a Google search.  But, where does some of that information come from?  Who is posting that materials, and is it correct?


If you haven’t visited the Library Website, or haven’t done so recently, make a visit to that “other branch library” sometime.