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Published: Tuesday, 5/6/2008

Seneca County still needs a place for lawbooks

BY JENNIFER FEEHAN
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Seneca County commissioners believe they have a spot to store the reams of court records now sitting in the soon-to-be-razed 1884 courthouse, but no one is quite sure where the 20,000-plus books in the former law library will go.

Members of the county law library association met with the board yesterday to find out where they - and their "100 years worth of" books - stand.

"The question is trying to decide what to do with all the books [and] 30 or 40 percent of the books we might not want to put in a law library," said Clair Forrest, Jr., a member of association's board of trustees.

Since the 1884 courthouse closed in 2004, the law library has not had a central home.

Law librarian Lisa Russell said some of the most-used lawbooks are currently located on the third floor of the courthouse annex building. A number of other law books are kept in the basement of the Tiffin University library, and there's a roomful of books at a private legal office in Fostoria.

Still, thousands of books remain in the old courthouse, which commissioners plan to demolish this summer and replace with a new court building.

Mr. Forrest said ideally the legal community would like to have a law library in the new courthouse, but that decision has not been made.

County Administrator Cindy Keller said commissioners asked that the law library association return on Monday, when all three commissioners will be present to discuss further how many of their books need to be kept and how much space will be needed to store them.

Preliminary plans for using the commissioners' former office building on Jefferson Street for storage already have that space filled.

Although no firm decisions have been made, Ms. Keller said the clerk of courts tentatively will use the basement, first floor, and bay areas of the Jefferson Street building to store court records that are now in the 1884 courthouse. Probate and juvenile court records could be moved to the building's second and third floors.

Ms. Keller said there is no plan in place for the law library at this time.

"We're still playing with the number of books they're going to need and how much access they have to have to them," she said. .•.•. We have a couple hard steps in front of us."

Also yesterday, commissioners decided to hold a public auction at 10 a.m. June 7 at the county engineer's office to sell unwanted construction equipment. The sale will follow an auction of the contents of the 1884 courthouse that is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. June 5 at the courthouse.

The commissioners also agreed to accept sealed bids until

10:30 a.m. May 29 for two large steel I-beams that have been stored at the county farm for several years.

The beams were purchased to enlarge one of the common pleas courtrooms in the 1884 courthouse, but that work was never done.

Contact Jennifer Feehan at:

jfeehan@theblade.com

or 419-353-5972.



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