Dally Memorial Library

37325 Mound Street
Sardis, OH 43946

740-483-1288

In February 2002, a group of local educators in Sardis, Ohio came together to form the Riverfront Library Association. The group explored the idea of bringing a library to communities along the Ohio River in Monroe County.  

It soon became clear that children and adults living in riverfront communities were in critical need of a library to improve literacy, education and quality of life. The nearest county library was roughly thirty miles away across the winding hills of country roads. Other libraries were in the next county or across the river in West Virginia. No elementary schools in the riverfront area of Monroe County had libraries; they’d been dismantled several years ago due to inadequate school funding. A new library would provide services to Sardis and Hannibal Elementary schools as well as River High School, all located in Appalachia Ohio.

In looking at literacy and reading proficiency rates, the Dally Library founders discovered that Children’s Defense Fund Ohio reported 2000 reading proficiency rates of 48.6% for Monroe County sixth grade students. This compared with 54.9% reading proficiency for sixth graders in all of Appalachia and 53.2% proficiency for all sixth graders in the state. Ohio state requirement is 75%.  

On two occasions, members of the county district library board have chosen not to add a branch library in the county, effectively excluding Dally Library from any local tax monies earmarked for library use by the Ohio State Library and Local Government Support Fund (LLGSF). However, the State Library of Ohio has taken the unprecedented step of accepting Dally Library as a private library into the SEO state automation consortium, giving patrons at this small library on the river access to 5.3 million holdings at more than 150 libraries across the state.  

Countless individuals and businesses on both sides of the Ohio River donated time, books, labor, money, material and equipment to get the library started. Local and former citizens as well as extended members of the Dally family gave generously to the library. A nearby Bayer Corporation division contributed library furniture. Fund raising events ignited enthusiasm and produced temporary funds to operate the library. The Ohio Appalachian Regional Commission provided a $52,000 grant to equip the library and purchase books and materials. That grant expired in 2004.

Dally opened to the public in June 2003 and today serves as a vital community resource providing library services to people of all ages in communities along the Ohio River.

A look at some interesting facts...

In the first four months of 2006, Dally Library patrons checked out 3,800 items.

Each month, an average 200+ inter-library loan requests are placed by Dally Library patrons.

Nearly 900 library cards have been issued since the library opened and, on average, more than 600 people use the library each month.

Three preschool story hours are held at the library. Two are weekly events with an average 20 children attending and one is held once per month with 15 children from the local HeadStart program.

Over the past three years, Friends of Dally Library have raised more than $17,000 for the library.

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