The first library building, it served as the library’s home until the 1950s.

This year, December 15, 2023, marks the 139th anniversary of the Porter Public Library. Since 1884 the library has proudly served the people of Dover and Westlake.

When Leonard Porter, the library’s benefactor and who the library is named for, passed away in 1884 he bequeathed $1,000 (equivalent to more that $31,000 today) for the establishment of a library for the citizens of Dover. Initially $500 was to be used to purchase books, while the remaining money was to be held for more book purchases and library operations.

Leonard Porter

The first building selected to house the newly established library was a white, wood framed former saloon. The library trustees purchased the building located on Center Ridge Road in 1886. The first library located a lot next to City Hall, while the police and fire stations were located behind the building. In 1937 the library was designated a School District Library, a designation it maintains until this day.  This building served as the home of the library until the early 1950s when the size of the building could no longer keep up with the growing demands and population of the City of Westlake.  When the library moved the Trustees sold the former library building to the city to be used as a storage area.

Another view of the first library

In 1952 the library relocated to the former Ohio Bell Trinity Exchange, which was located on Center Ridge Road at 27059 Center Ridge Road.  In 1958, to meet the needs of the community, construction of an addition began which lasted until 1961.  The addition to the library now serves as home to the Westlake Eye Center.  This location served as home to the library throughout the 1960s, 1970s, and the first part of the 1980s.

This building at 27059 Center Ridge Road served as the library from the 1950s through the early 1980s

In August 1985 the library moved into its new (and current) home at 27333 Center Ridge Road.  In 1999 the library moved into a temporary facility as the library underwent a needed renovation and enlargement.  In 2002 all the library and staff moved back into its newly renovated home. Since then the library and staff has provided programs for the education and enjoyment of Westlake residents, while offering free access to books, magazines, movies, music, WiFi hotspots, and non-traditional items, like guitars, banjos, VHS tape converters and much more.

The library as it currently appears, post 2002 renovation