"Preserving the Past, Building for the Future" was the slogan Bliss Memorial Library used to raise funds to renovate the second floor of the library into a genealogy/history room. Those efforts have come to fruition, and the W.E. Bliss Foundation Research Library is to be unveiled at an open house 1-4 p.m. Sunday.
The idea for the room began in 2004, according to Dorothy Seitz, library director, but it wasn't until late 2009 the decision was made to begin the project.
A construction manager and architect were hired. The first phase, which included the installation of the electrical, heating, air conditioning, plumbing and fireproof drywall in the stairways, was completed.
The second and final phase, however, had to wait until $90,000 was raised.
A communitywide appeal for donations was announced and patrons, alumni and organizations responded. Friends of the Library hosted two Bloomville versions of the "antique road show" and applications for grants were written. The North Central Electric Cooperative People's Fund gave the Friends a $3,450 grant for computers and shelving. The Tiffin Charitable Foundation responded with $5,000.
Knowing the goal still was a long way from reality, other means to raise funds were considered.
In September 2010, Bliss Memorial Library celebrated its 75th anniversary and Reid Schmutz, the grandson of W.E. Bliss, for whom the library is named, was invited to attend. He was impressed with what he saw for a small town and was informed the library was in the midst of a fundraising campaign to renovate the second floor. A surprise came a week later in the form of a grant check for $90,000 to be used to finish the renovation.
Architectural plans were drawn for the elevator/lift and work resumed. As in many construction projects, there were delays. The elevator shaft had to be made to the correct specifications and there was a concern whether the one-piece elevator/lift would fit in the opening once it did arrive.
Meanwhile, furniture was ordered, the walls and doors were painted, carpet was laid, ceiling tile was put into place and the bathroom fixtures installed.
The project now is ready for public use.
The main purpose of the library is for genealogy research. Many local history books about Seneca County, other counties and communities are available to browse. Bloomville School memorabilia such as sports and band trophies and a senior picture display are on exhibit. Donated items include the typewriter used to type the first Bloomville Gazette.
The room is to be open 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday unless there is a shortage of staff. Saturday morning hours will be by appointment only.