The City of Warren's first library and one of the first in Ohio began in 1814 and was located in the shop of local cabinetmaker Charles White. It was comprised of about 1,000 books primarily on history and biography.
In 1848, the library was taken over by a group of local citizens who formed the Warren Library Association. The books were moved to the second floor of the VanGorder Building on Market Street. Lecture fees and donations enabled the library to carry on until 1854 when declining revenues forced the library to sell its 2,000 volume collection at auction.
There was no library in Warren from 1854 to 1877 when Doctor Julian Harmon began circulating a small collection of books from his office. People who wanted to borrow a book paid a fee of $1.00 and this practice continued for eleven years. In 1888 a meeting took place in Doctor Harmon's office to consider the establishment of a permanent library for the City of Warren. An agreement was reached and the new library opened with 254 books and was open two afternoons and evenings a week. Lectures and fees provided the money to maintain the library.
By 1890, the library's founders felt it was time to incorporate under the laws of the State of Ohio and the Warren Library was created and had a collection of 1,738 books. In 1897 the library moved to the first floor of the new Court House. This new facility included reference and children's sections.
A state law in 1898 required the Warren Library to change from a subscription library to a free public library. Free meaning the new Warren Public Library was free to all persons living within the Warren City School District and was supported by a tax levy of 3/10 mill.
In 1901, correspondence was begun with Andrew Carnegie asking him to finance a new library building. In 1903 Carnegie approved the plans for a new library and contributed $27,000 for the new building's construction. The new library was dedicated on February 5, 1906. The City of Warren contributed $3,000 a year to help support the new library.
Finances were a continuing problem and in 1923 the Warren Public Library changed from an association library to a school district library to insure a more stable source of funding.
By the early 1930s the Great Depression made funds for library support extremely scarce. To help alleviate this problem the Ohio General Assembly passed the Intangibles Tax in 1933. This tax was levied on personal property such as stocks and bonds and until 1986 was the major source of funding for the Warren Public Library. In 1986, Ohio's libraries were funded by 5.7% of the state's income tax money, called the Library and Local Government Support Fund. In 2008, this funding source changed again. Permanent law was enacted by the Ohio legislature allocating 2.2% of Ohio's general tax revenue for the support of Ohio's 251 public libraries. This fund is called the Public Library Fund.
Over the next several decades the Warren Public Library continued to grow. By 1934 the WPL had 12 rural branch libraries located in places ranging from gas stations to hardware stores. Bookmobile service began in 1938. 1948 saw the introduction of circulating 16mm films and phonograph records.
In 1971, the present Warren Public Library building was completed, paid for by a combination of Federal LSCA funds, library trust funds and a large donation from the Warren Library Association.
In 1982, the Warren Public Library underwent another change becoming the Trumbull County District Library and was by law now responsible for providing library service to all citizens of Trumbull County not served by one of the other six public libraries in the county. The library's name changed to the Warren-Trumbull County Public Library (W-TCPL).
In 1996, Trumbull County voters approved a 4/10 mill continuing library levy to help support the W-TCPL. This levy generates about $800,000 per year. In 2006, voters approved an additional continuing levy of 6/10 mill that provides about $1.7 million in operating revenues each year.
The present Warren-Trumbull County Public Library is comprised of the Main Library on Mahoning Avenue, the Brookfield Branch, the Cortland Branch, the Howland Branch, the Liberty Branch, the Lordstown Branch Library, Bookmobile service and Homebound service. The Library's web site at www.wtcpl.org is open 24/7 to serve customers.
With a staff of over 100 full and part-time employees, the Warren-Trumbull County Public Library exists to serve the educational, cultural and recreational needs of the residents of Trumbull County.