Toledo, Ohio – The City, The Struggle, and The Library

Yep, that’s right. It’s another post singing the praises of the Toledo Lucas County Public Library and the life-saving and life-changing work that they do.

Calling Toledo Home

I was born and raised in Northwest Ohio but didn’t move to Toledo until nine years ago. For the longest time, I told my husband (also a Northwest Ohio native) I would never live in Toledo, but he finally convinced me with the help of a few friends. The promise of cheap rent lured me in. Times were really tight.

Why was I so adamant about not living in Toledo? Toledo often has a bad rap in the surrounding area. It’s a city riddled with violent crime and poverty – at least that’s all we see on the news. It’s true. But that’s only part of the story. 

My husband and I have now settled and started a family in Toledo. We both took jobs in helping professions in the city – I work in mental health and my husband in emergency services. My husband and I are passionate people and it is not possible for us to live here and not want to help.

The Library to the Rescue

Driving around Toledo you will see many decals and bumper stickers with the Toledo Lucas County Public Library logo on them. The support for the local library system is undeniable, but why does this struggling Midwest city hold its library in such high regard?

Our community presents a dire need for basic necessities and skills and our library has answered that call. 

You might go to the library to check out the latest fiction selections, but for many people in Toledo, you go to the library to get a meal.  Children can get supper during the school year as well as lunch during the summer. SAME (So All May Eat) Cafe is slated to open in the main library soon. People can volunteer time or give fresh produce or money in exchange for a meal. No one is turned away. Everyone eats.

Of course, the library also offers a myriad of classes and programs to help everyone – GED, ESOL, resume and interview help, legal advice, financial literacy, small business and nonprofit help, etc.

Like many places with overwhelming poverty, our sense of community is very strong. It’s the people that make this town. Our city is diverse with a vibrant culture. I’m proud to call Toledo home and I will always show my support for our amazing library.

The Bigger Picture

Here’s a question we have to ask ourselves – we know the librarians in Toledo are superheroes, but why can’t librarians just be librarians? Why do they have to fix our problems? Let’s be real – passing out meals is merely a band-aid to a much larger issue. 

Why is our beautiful city riddled with violent crime and poverty? Toledo is just another example of how wealth inequality is destroying our very being. Toledoans are proud – but desperate.  We need security. We need opportunity. We need change. But one thing that’s very clear – we’re not going down without a fight.


  1. Katydid says

    Also something to keep in mind; the rightwing and Fox news have been trying very, very hard to make all cities sound like the deepest ring of hell. Whenever I hear someone carrying on about cities, I suspect they’re rightwing know-nothings.

    Cities are places where diverse people rub elbows. Cities are where you find many sources of culture (libraries, independent bookstores, museums, concert halls, zoos, aquariums, cafes with live performers, etc. etc.) and broaden your horizons.

    So glad you enjoy your local library! If you think this might be interesting to you, see if they have programs for kids, or see if they need volunteers. See if they have poetry groups or writing groups or anything else that might interest you. Give back! if they have a fundraiser, give what you can and offer to help in any way you can.

  2. moarscienceplz says

    Of course you are asking a rhetorical question, but I’ll spell it out for the slower kids in the class: The USA, and the Republican party in particular, is riddled with white people who feel they have to be on the top because their ancestors lied, cheated, stole, sucker-punched, back-stabbed, and murdered anybody who stood in the way of them being on top. Never mind that today’s white supremacists may be on the top of a dung-heap, as long as they are on the top, that is what matters to them.
    They could work to make a society where everybody has access to decent housing, food, water, and opportunities, but that would entail them being on a more equal level with *whisper* Black people, and their tiny little toddler egos just can’t stand that thought.

  3. Katydid says

    @moarscienceplz; they’re also carefully taught by their favorite news sources to be terrified of non-white people. Example; when the vaccines were first released, one of the only places to get one was the sportzballz palace right on the city/county border, just off the highway. The state National Guard were roped into managing the check-in and line moving procedures, while medical staff gave the vaccines.

    One of my coworkers–who chooses to live in the very-rural part of the state–made me come along with her because she was terrified to go alone to a place full of National Guard and other white people…because she was more terrified of coming into contact with a non-white person…whose only reason for being there was obviously to kidnap, rape, and kill her. @@ She was out-and-out bawling in terror pretty much the whole time I was there chaperoning her.

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