History of the Ida Rupp Public Library and the Erie Islands Library
The first public library in Port Clinton was founded in 1908 by the Ladies' Literary and Social Club. It was located in the home of club member Mrs. George Hyde at 313 East Second Street. The newly established library was managed by a committee composed of Mrs. William E. Bense, Mrs. S.A. Magruder, and Mrs. George Sloan.
The Ladies' Literary and Social Club remained active in raising money for the library, and Port Clinton's first public library building, occupying two rooms in City Hall, opened on February 13, 1913.
In 1922, the management of the library was turned over to the Port Clinton Board of Education and a levy was made for its permanent maintenance. "At a joint meeting of the village council, Portage Township Trustees, and members of the Library Board, held in January, 1928, it was unanimously agreed to grant the use of the auditorium in the City Hall for library purposes." The library remained in this location for forty-one years.
On his death in 1964, Judge Lawrence C. Rupp bequeathed from his estate the sum of $42,000 toward a new library building as a memorial to his late wife, Ida, member of the Ladies' Literary and Social Club, and a Library Board member from 1917 until her death in 1926.
In 1967, voters in the Port Clinton School District approved a levy of $175,000 for the construction of a new library at 310 Madison Street. In 1968, the library moved from City Hall to its present location.
In 1983, the Library Board entered into an agreement with the Put-in-Bay Local School District Board of Education to provide a library in the Put-in-Bay school. The Erie Islands Library was thus created to serve both as a school library for the students of the Put-in-Bay School, and as a public library for the residents of Put-in-Bay and the Erie Islands. The Put-in-Bay Local School District leases to the Ida Rupp Public Library the space for the library for one dollar a year. The School District is responsible for the utilities and the maintenance of the facility, and the Library Board is responsible for personnel and library materials expenses. The Erie Island Library is fully automated and its patrons have access to over 5.2 million items through consortium participation and inter-library loans.
In May of 1990, the voters of the Port Clinton School District passed a bond issue for $1.2 million to expand the main library building and add additional parking. Ground was broken for the project in December of 1990. The original building was completely renovated and the size of the library was increased 40% from 12,500 square feet to 18,000 square feet. The new library opened to the public on August 19, 1991, and a rededication ceremony and open house were held September 29.
In 1999, the Library Board purchased an adjacent property on the west side of the main library. Additional parking was created, as was a reading garden with outside seating. Subsequently, the City of Port Clinton vacated ownership of the alley that separated the library from these additional parking spaces and reading garden. On June 20, 2002, the Library Board dedicated the Joan Bowen Loeffler Reading Garden in honor of Mrs. Donald Loeffler's thirty-five years of service on the Library Board.