Message to the community from Luren E. Dickinson:
Shaker Library is pleased to be an active participant on the South Shaker Neighborhood Council, a group formed two years ago to take part in the Cleveland Foundation youth development initiative. Last month, we learned that the SSNC’s grant application for $103,000 to support local efforts for youth during the 2009-2010 school year was approved.
The Cleveland Foundation initiative is now called MyCom, which stands for My Commitment/My Community. Last year, South Shaker Neighborhood Council was one of two non-Cleveland neighborhoods that received MyCom planning dollars to develop a network of out-of-school-time activities for youth. With these new funds, our plans can become a reality.
The library’s portion of the grant will provide $10,000 for our Homework Center, which began with a $1,700 gift in November 2003, from the Shaker Heights High School Class of 1973. Friends of the Shaker Library supported the Homework Center with a $4,000 gift in 2007 and an $8,000 gift in 2008. These funds have allowed us to hire a well-qualified individual to supervise the center and to pay teachers to serve as tutors. Funds also enabled us to purchase three laptop computers for the children to use.
The Homework Center is located on the second floor of the Main Library and is open to students in grades 2 through 6 from 4:00 to 6:30 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays. It offers a place where students can complete their assignments in quiet surroundings with help from tutors. During the 2008-2009, school year, 48 students attended an average of six or more sessions. This was a 45% increase over the previous school year. If current statistics are an indication, we should see another increase in 2009-10.
The MyCom grant has had a ripple effect on youth programs at the Shaker Library. Some programs will be hosted at the Library and some programs will be partnerships. The Library and the Shaker Heights Youth Center will collaborate on “Teen Yoga,” a series of classes for youth ages 12 – 18. Other groups in Shaker, including the Shaker Heights Chamber of Commerce, Change Builders, Peace in the Hood, and Open Doors will hold workforce training for youth, college prep sessions for teens and parents, enrichment and life skills programs, and prevention/wellness in the community.
Library efforts in the area of academic improvement continues this month when the Princeton Review comes to the Main Library to offer a two-part ACT Workshop for students in grades 10-12. A full-length ACT Practice Test will be offered from 9:15 to 2:00 p.m. Saturday, November 14 followed by an ACT Score-Booster Strategy Session from 9:15 to 11 a.m. Saturday, November 21. The free workshop is limited to 50 teens and registration begins November 2.
For the other end of our educational spectrum, Shaker Library will host its Seventh Annual Preschool Fair on Thursday evening, November 5 at the Main Library. Representatives from area early childhood programs will be on hand to answer questions and to help parents and caregivers explore preschool options for their children. For school-age children, we continue our popular American Girl Doll series with a program on American Girl Doll Addy set for November 14 at Woods Branch.
In 2009, the Library received two prestigious designations: one as a five-star library by the 2009 Library Journal Index; the other as a Top Ten Library by the Hennen American Public Library Rankings 2009 Index, which placed the library among the top 100 public libraries in the nation. To continue this tradition of excellence, we need your support. Join our Check-Out Challenge by borrowing our books, movies or music and help the Library surpass last year’s circulation. Help us keep our five-star rating!
Luren E. Dickinson, Director