Wagnalls Memorial Library

Jane Hawes
Inside the Wagnalls Memorial Library.

For most families, a trip to The Wagnalls Memorial Library has the potential to be a great day trip. Tucked away in the tiny Fairfield County village of Lithopolis, this unique facility is only six miles from the historical farm and Metro Park at Slate Run and three miles from great food in downtown Canal Winchester (think: Fantasy Cupcake, Harvest Moon Café or the Wigwam diner). Combine some or all of these destinations into one day trip!

The library and its adjoining auditorium, banquet hall and meeting rooms were built in 1925 by the daughter of Adam Wagnalls, a Lithopolis native and co-founder of the famous Funk & Wagnalls publishing company. The best way to describe the place (and get kids excited): Hogwarts. Between the elaborately carved molding (baby owls and grapevines figure prominently), stained glass windows, dark wood paneling and stone edifice, it's not hard to feel as if you've been transported back to the world of Harry Potter. There is also a lovely garden on the grounds with a picnic bench.

The children's library is in the basement and has a "Kid Corral" play area for little ones. While story time is offered only during the school year, their Lego club meets year-round on Saturdays from 10:30 a.m. to 12 noon.

The library, though privately funded and operated, is part of a consortium of central Ohio libraries that lets you return books and other materials from systems such as the Columbus Metropolitan Library, but in order to check materials out from Wagnalls, you need to get an account there. Any resident of Ohio can do that by presenting proof of in-state address.

One additional note on getting to Wagnalls: If you're driving there from Canal Winchester and coming into the village from the north on Lithopolis Road, you'll want to turn left onto North Walnut Street, then right onto East North Street to reach the parking lot for Wagnalls; it is located behind the facility. On-street parking usually is available in front, too.