Recently, my hometown public library celebrated its 100th anniversary. The article about the event in the local newspaper ended by quoting a pamphlet produced by the Board of Trustees in 1975, which read: “This is YOUR LIBRARY. We hope to make it a necessary part of your way of living.” It is interesting how similar that thought is to the Vision Statement of our own Shaker Library, which reads: “Shaker Heights Public Library will be indispensable to every member of our community.”
We are pleased that Shaker Library was recently ranked 5th best in America, for our service area size, by the 2010 Hennen American Public Library Ratings. We were also the 11th highest rated for all libraries serving communities of the same size or larger! Based upon earlier recognition, including our “5-Star” designation by Library Journal, we posted library banners on the thoroughfares around the Main Library and the Bertram Woods Branch last month with the inscription: “Shaker Library: One of America’s Best.” Thanks to the continued financial support and active use by our residents, that continues to be true!
My parents took me to my hometown library when I was young and I checked out as many books as they would let me. It was called the “Free Library” and anything free was a good thing because we did not have a lot of extra money or large number of books in our house. “Free” is still a good thing today, in this economically depressed time, but it still costs money to provide services and we at the Shaker Library continue to struggle with our tight budget situation as we try to ensure that we are both “necessary” and “indispensable” to our public!
To date, the economy seems to be settling down a bit even with high unemployment. Our state income, through the Public Library Fund, was below estimates for the first two months but has been above estimates for the past two. The share of the state’s general revenue (mostly income tax and sales tax) that goes into the PLF was reduced by more than 11% last August. Realistically, we cannot expect to see any funding gains until late this summer; however, the trend is good. Local property tax payments also seem to be steady.
Despite a tight budget we continue to strive to maintain services at the highest level with a full complement of programs. This year, in honor of “Older Americans Month,” we will sponsor a Senior Adult Volunteer Fair. If you are a senior – or an adult – seeking a meaningful volunteer job, please join us from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, May 6, at the Main Library.
Through our partnership with the Senior Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE), the Library will present Patriot Express, a business program for veterans seeking business opportunities on Tuesday, May 18, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at the Main Library. If you are interested in keeping your mind sharp, you may want to attend “Healthy Aging: A New Way of Thinking” from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 25 at Bertram Woods Branch. Chris Stevens of the Cleveland Alzheimer’s Association will talk about ways to remain mentally and physically active. Our May 27 “Poetry Back in the Woods” program will be enhanced by music when Katie Daley performs with her band, Undercurrents, and Barry Zucker reads his poetry.
Please check out our website for a full slate of children’s programs, including “Butterfly Hands” for preschoolers, and “Meet American Girl Kit,” and an “Artist Trading Cards Workshop” for older children.
Circle your calendars and join us after hours for a special art gallery opening: Art Exposed: The Inner Workings of an Art Department, which will feature the talented work of Shaker High School art students. Meet and greet the artists from 7- 9 p.m. Friday, May 14. This program is an artistic collaboration with the Shaker Schools and PTO under the direction of Shaker High Art Department chairman, Dan Whitley, and his fellow Shaker High art teachers and students. Weather permitting; art students will create chalk drawings throughout the day Friday, May 14. Please join us!