PPL closes northwest branch

By Wayne Allen

November 28, 2013

Wayne Allen

Common Staff Writer

In an announcement made this week the Portsmouth Public Library (PPL) has decided to close its northwest branch. According to, officials with the PPL the closure was due to a number of issues.

The northwest branch was located at 13056 State Route 73 in McDermott.

“That building was originally owned by the Northwest Board of Education and last year the ownership was transferred the Union Township Trustees. They (trustees) really wanted the library to stay in the building and we wanted to stay. But, that building dates back to the 1930s and the issues with maintaining that building have become a lot for the township,” said Paige Williams, Director of the PPL.

She said officials with the township have worked very hard to maintain the building, since taking township.

Williams said the branch has technically been closed since September.

“In mid-September we had to do an emergency closing (of the northwest branch) and we were hoping we could get back in. At the end of October the library board made the decision to completely close the branch,” Williams said. “The loss of the branch is going to be a huge loss to the community. We had to look at the health of our employees and patrons. If you have a 1930’s building you’ve got issues that date back to the 1930’s.”

Williams said the PPL Bookmobile will continue to visit the site once or twice a month as a service to residents.

“We have also talked with the (Union Township) trustees about the possibility of the library holding the occasional programs for the kinds in the community hall across the street and they were agreeable we could do that,” Williams said.

She said the library would still like to have a presents in that area of the county.

“We don’t want to leave area, but when a building fails you, there is not much you can do,” Williams said.

She said the northwest branch first opened in September of 2000.

Williams said the branch started out in one classroom of the building and with space opened up in 2012 the branch was able to move to a bigger part of the building.

“We expanded the size and changed the hours to be more user friendly. We added computers which were really popular,” Williams said.

Williams said the PPL has not given up on the idea of one day reopening a branch in that area of the county.

The staff of the northwest branch will be reassigned and the property will be re-cataloged to other locations.

The library will continue to operate branches in Lucasville, Wheelersburg, New Boston, South Webster and the main branch in Portsmouth.

For more information about the Portsmouth Public Library and the many services they offer visit

Wayne Allen may be reached at 740-353-1151, or For breaking news, follow Wayne on Twitter @WayneallenPDT.