|Location||312 West Main Street |
Kent, Ohio 44240
|Access and use|
|Population served||34,257 (2020)|
|Budget||$2.33 million (2017)|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Kent Free Library.|
The Kent Free Library is a public Carnegie library located in Kent, Ohio, United States. It is part of the Portage Library Consortium, which includes the Portage County Library District and Reed Memorial Library in nearby Ravenna and is a school district library associated with the Kent City School District. The library was established in 1892 as the first use of an 1892 Ohio law that allowed municipalities under 5,000 residents to tax residents for library support. Initially, the library was housed in a downtown Kent business block. Pittsburgh steel industrialist and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie offered the then-village of Kent $11,500 for construction of a permanent home for the library in 1901, contingent on a suitable location and voter approval of a tax levy for maintenance. Kent voters approved the measure and town namesake Marvin Kent donated the land. The library opened at its new location on September 26, 1903. The library has undergone several expansions since 1903, with the latest expansion occurring in 2004–06. During the 2004–06 expansion, the three previous additions to the original Carnegie library were demolished and a new three-story addition was built in their places while the original Carnegie library was renovated and restored. The addition tripled available space to approximately 55,000 square feet (5,100 m2). During construction, the library was housed in Kent's University Plaza shopping center. The current building and the renovated Carnegie portion opened on September 26, 2006, 103 years after the Carnegie library first opened.