Message to the community from Luren E. Dickinson:
The November election results will have an impact on Shaker Library, especially as we move forward into next year. Although we have continued to reduce and contain costs, the past two years have seen our income shrink at both state and local levels. Through the third quarter, state income is down 25% compared to 2008, and our property tax revenues are down 8% since last year because of the decline in valuations, despite the fact that the public renewed our levy in 2008. We are cautiously optimistic that there will be progress on this front in the coming months.
Despite these economic challenges, we continue to strive to maintain high standards, and we were pleased to learn last month that for the third consecutive year we earned the top “5-Star” rating from Library Journal as one of America’s best libraries. Not only was Shaker Library rated the third highest in its category, but only five other libraries in the country our size or larger had a higher rating! One measure where we shine is our circulation per capita. Only three other libraries our size or larger had more than our 41.4 per capita yearly checkouts. We were also fifth in per capita visits to the library, sixth in per capita attendance at library-sponsored programs, and 15th per capita for public Internet use. Our public deserves out thanks because we could not perform at these levels without their generous funding and library engagement.
Now in its third year, our popular “Caps for Kids” project continues through December 9. Organized under the auspices of Knit Nights, the library seeks donations of hand knit or crocheted hats, scarves and mittens, which will be delivered to Project Act for distribution to homeless children in the Cleveland City schools.
In the larger library community, we have participated in the countywide Libraries Work campaign by highlighting our collective library services. Locally, we are working to help others find work through a series of job-hunting workshops. This month’s class, Interviewing Strategies will take place from 2 to 4 p.m. Tuesday, November 9, at Main Library. Our free computer classes also offer an opportunity for people to learn a new skill.
Friends of the Shaker Library will sponsor What’s It Worth?, an antiques appraisal program, from 6-8:30 p.m. Thursday, November 4, at Main Library. This fund-raiser is the brainchild of Friends President, Sharon Heslin, who has organized a crew of antiques appraisers who are donating their time and expertise. Participants can bring up to three portable items for a verbal appraisal. Fees for this library fund-raiser are $20 for the first item, $15 for the second item, $5 for the third item. Friends’ members pay $15 for the first item, $10 for the second item, and the third item is free.
Other programs this month include Poetry Back in the Woods from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, November 18 at Bertram Woods Branch when Kent State University poet, Maj Ragain, and Massachusetts poet and balladeer, Tim Joyce, will perform. Saturday, November 20, we will host a Technology Fair from 2 to 4 p.m. at Main Library. Representatives from Best Buy, Barnes & Noble, MotoPhoto, Overdrive, and Playaway will be at the Library to offer advice and “hands on” help with all the latest equipment from iPods to iPads, digital cameras to smart phones, and eReaders! Stop in and try before you buy!
Teens who want to improve their test scores can participate in the ACT Practice Test & Strategy Session on Saturdays at the Main Library from 9:15 a.m. to 2 p.m. November 13 and 9:15 to 11 a.m., respectively. Registration is required. In addition to our many story time programs for children, our Youth Services Department offers two special programs at the Main Library: “Meet American Girl Doll Molly” from 2 to 3:30 p.m. Saturday, November 13, and “Read to King”—a real “Library Dog”—from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Monday, November 15.
Luren E. Dickinson, Director