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School Scrapbooks are Treasure Troves

Library’s Scrapbook Collection Preserves Avon Lake PTA Council History

“The first board meeting of the newly formed Avon Lake P.T.A. Council, was held Tuesday May 3, 1961 at 1:30 P.M, in the High school cafeteria.”

So begin the minutes, written in blue ink in neat handwriting in a bound, ruled record book, of the first local parent teacher association, which represented Avon Lake High SchoolLearwood Junior High School (now Learwood Middle School), Eastview Elementary SchoolErieview Elementary, and Westview Elementary). Avon Lake Public Library acquired these scrapbooks in May 2016 from the Avon Lake City Schools, where they had previously been stored.

Although the first scrapbook is more than 50 years old, its contents, which include newspaper articles, event programs, and information sheets, reveal that, in some respects, times haven’t changed all that much over the years. As they do today in school cafeterias nationwide, for example, grilled cheese sandwiches, hamburgers and hot dogs, and even “cook’s surprise” appeared on a menu from the week of April 16, 1961. Also, PTA program themes from 1961 reflected concerns that are still relevant, such as “Our Role as a Parent”, “Preparing Your Child for Kindergarten”, and “What is a Bully?” Education experts even addressed technology use in the classroom. In January 1962, the director of Audio Visual Service at Bowling Green State University spoke to the PTA Council at its monthly meeting about “the timely subject of teaching by airborne television in school classrooms”. During that same month, at the Erieview PTA meeting, members heard a presentation called “Seeing Through Arithmetic” because, as the article explained, ” . . . the subject . . . today has the parents baffled, that is, the new method of teaching and learning arithmetic.” “New math” is not so new after all.

Articles relating to state PTA news also are included in the scrapbooks. The Blade, a Toledo, OH, newspaper, covered stories from the October 1961 convention, held in Toledo, of the Ohio Congress of Parents and Teachers. Headlines include “Public Must Stop Underrating Mental Ability of Women, PTA Delegates Told” and “Go-Cart Use, Sex Crimes Targets of PTA Parley.”

To view the scrapbooks at the Library, you can visit during library hours or contact the Library at 440.933.8127.

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