In the beginning of the 1930's, the Library continued to grow in both books and users. More than 107,000 items were checked out, 58 percent being adult titles 42 percent being children's literature. Items checked out at the Erlanger Branch and book deposits at local schools totaled almost 19,000 items.
According to the annual report filed by head librarian Alma L'Hommedieu in February 1931, the greatest growth was in the Library facilities outside the city of Covington. "This rapid growing use of agencies indicates how great is the need of expanding our means of service to outlying districts of the city, such as Latonia, Rosedale and Ludlow." By the mid-1930's, 12 schools were being served by the Covington Library, with many more requests from other schools. Unfortunately the Library did not have the funds to purchase books for these schools.
Throughout the 1930's, Children's Librarian Miss McKenna worked tirelessly to ensure that every child knew about the Library. She visited every classroom twice a year, made sure the Children's room was bright and inviting and created dozens of new exciting programs to get children interested in coming to the Library. She would also distribute library card applications which brought a tremendous number of children into the Library to receive Library cards. Monthly storytimes at the Library were presented as well with an average attendance of 75 children.
In 1931, Miss McKenna organized a "Library Vacation Reading Club." Children who read at least 5 books during the summer were given a certificate of accomplishment. The two boys and two girls who read the most books were each given a prize.
A reading club for teens was instituted in April 1935. The purpose of the club was to "interest the boys and girls who are about to receive adult cards in the books best suited for their age."
The Library continued to grow as a place in the community for education and entertainment. Use of the auditorium declined as a result of its condition but the University of Cincinnati, Kentucky State University and Eastern State Teachers College used the Library's lecture room to teach extension classes.
While looking in a storage room one of the Library staff members discovered a collection of Edmund Hoyle's Works on Whist dating from 1746, two of which beared the author's autograph.
The rise in the unemployment rate during this era of the Great Depression caused an increase in Library usage. The librarian's report dated February 5, 1931 states "Many times not a single vacant chair can be found. These people always read. We find that many men are reading up along the line of their work, really putting this time to advantage."
The Erlanger Branch received some much needed additional space in 1932. New rooms were added with more space for shelves and books, much to the delight of both the patrons and the staff.
As in previous years, the Library was in dire need of additional funding to hire more staff and to purchase more books. Although there was not adequate funding to keep several copies of the popular books at least one copy was purchased so when a patron asked for it, the librarian could say that the Library actually owned a copy. However, popular books were hard to keep on the shelves. In an attempt to get people to bring back Library books, head librarian Alma L'Hommedieu declared fine cancellation week which resulted in the return of 136 books.
In December 1933, Ms. L'Hommedieu resigned her position as head librarian. Ms. Hilda Glaser was selected as her replacement. The following year Erlanger librarian Mrs. Thomas Stevenson resigned. Mrs. Mayo Taylor was named as her replacement. Mrs. Taylor later resigned in 1936 and Miss Mary Kalker was named as her replacement.
The Erlanger Branch moved to a new home at the Erlanger Citizens Bank Building in September 1934. In order to align with the library in Covington, the staff at Erlanger changed several of their procedures. By the end of 1934, the Erlanger Branch circulated 21,588 books. The following year circulation doubled.
Reference requests kept Library staff extremely busy throughout the 1930's as well. Some of the more common requests included:
How old is President Roosevelt?
The genealogical table of the present ruling house of Great Britain
A list of all the Pulitzer prize awards
Why rabbits are protected by game laws
The jewel for the 40th wedding anniversary
The County Seat of twenty counties in Kentucky
Some of the more unique uses of Library materials in the 1930's included: the use of Japanese prints by a local interior decorator in designing murals for a hotel dining room; an architect who remodeled the Bavarian Brewery used pictures showing the interiors of Bavarian Taverns; and numerous requests for costume materials from different organizations throughout the area.
In 1936, the popular circular desk at the Library was moved under the building's dome to create more space. As an added bonus, the new placement of the desk was thought to discourage theft of the books.
Also in 1936, the Library Board proposed using the room of a shelter house at the Ludlow Playground to provide Ludlow area children an opportunity to have Library service during the summer months. The Ludlow Park Board rejected this idea.
The flood of 1937 closed the Library from January 25th to February 8th. Fifty-three books were reported lost in the flood with many more reported missing. The Board voted to thank the Library employees for their service during the flood.
Use of the auditorium dwindled in the late 1930's, however the Library Board of Trustees in cooperation with the University of Kentucky conducted monthly forums in the auditorium. Each forum was a hotly debated topic such as "The Constitution and the Supreme Court" and "Can the United States Stay Out of the Next War."
Miss Hilda Glaser, head librarian of Covington, resigned in October 1937. Mrs. Catherine Lyons Towers was named as her replacement. During the same meeting, the resignation of Erlanger Librarian, Miss Kalker, was accepted. Miss Sallie Brown was named as her replacement.
The Library was robbed again in March 1938. This time the thief stole the Library's specially-equipped typewriter and several checks. On the morning following the robbery, the folder containing the checks was flung on the librarian's desk, with all checks intact. The typewriter was recovered at a Cincinnati pawnshop.
The Library began checking out magazines in November, 1938. The librarian visited the Cincinnati Public Library to determine out how the magazine system worked and devised it to work for the residents of Covington.
In 1939, the Erlanger Branch moved once again. Located at the Community Bank of Erlanger, the Erlanger Branch was moved to 8 Garvey Avenue in Elsmere. Shortly after the move, there was a fire at the Branch. Approximately 500 books were burned and 1,500 were water soaked. Many books were repaired for use while others were discarded completely. Despite this disaster, the Branch was only closed one day, yet another tribute to the tireless work of the staff which once again exemplified their commitment to Library service during this decade.