Message from the Director
The month of February marks the 200th anniversary of Charles Dickens’ birth. In rereading some of his books, A Tale of Two Cities, Great Expectations, and Oliver Twist, I am reminded of what a great literary force he was in pointing out his era’s inequalities, and in so doing how he helped to bring about change. Good books and good libraries are similar. They both help to bring about change. A writer does so by creating memorable characters and a great story. Libraries do so by offering free material, programs, and services to everyone regardless of their age or economics. A look back at the highlights of our 2011 fiscal year helps to demonstrate that.
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”
The Library experienced its first increase in circulation since 2009 with1,281,980 items checked out, which represents a 2% increase over 2010. Through grant funding and support from the library’s Endowment Fund with the Cleveland Foundation, the Library purchased and installed more than 50 new computers. Fourth quarter statistics in 2011 revealed a 26% increase in computer use over the same period in 2010 and an all-time record number of 150,622 sessions for the year. We expect the trend to continue. During an economic downturn, it is gratifying to see that we are meeting the needs of the community by providing access for all.
"Now, I return to this young fellow. And the communication I have got to make is, that he has great expectations."
A key service area for the Library has been serving youth, especially teens. Teen Center attendance last year reached an all-time record high with 10,078 students in grades 7 through 12. Even more astounding, perhaps, is that we have registered 710 teens since the beginning of the school year. The Library has “great expectations” for its teens and is pleased to work with the Shaker Schools, the Shaker Heights Youth Center, and MyCom to ensure that teens have a place to read, to learn, and to grow.
“From the death of each day's hope another hope sprung up to live to-morrow.”
Another exciting service is the library’s collaboration with the Career Transition Center, which is located in the Library’s new CEO (Community Entrepreneurial Office on the Main Library second floor. Staffed by Bonnie Dick and Ann Hunter, the Career Transition Center is a place for job seekers to receive support and help in their search for employment. The addition of new café tables and vending machines have made the second floor more inviting and provide a place for all library visitors to relax.
“No one who can read, ever looks at a book, even unopened on a shelf, like one who cannot.”
Shaker Library’s Play and Learn Station, its early literacy programs, and story times are proven tools for success. Parents and children who use the library meet with greater in-school success. The Library’s ABLE/GED and English in Action classes help those who seek a high school diploma or wish to learn to speak English.
“Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pound ought and six, result misery."
We have had a successful year thanks to sound fiscal management, dedicated support of the Friends of the Shaker Library, steady state funding, and strong local tax support.
“I only ask for information."
February programs at the Library include three author visits: Sara Levine (Treasure Island !!!) at 7 p.m. Friday, February 3, at Woods Branch and Regina Brett (Be the Miracle) at 7 p.m. Thursday, February 9, at Main Library and Christopher Busta-Peck (The Hidden History of Cleveland) at 7 p.m. Tuesday, February 21, at Woods Branch. Library visitors can get free tax advice from 2-4 p.m. Sunday, February 19, at Main Library; enjoy soul-stirring music performed by Shari Hunter at 2 p.m. Sunday, February 26, at Main Library; and get money-saving tips from Joe the Coupon Guy at 7 p.m. Wednesday, February 29, at Woods Branch. Be sure to check our website for a complete list of programs for children, teens and adults.
If you are passionate about Shaker Library and want to help steer the library in the right direction, consider applying to serve on the Library Board of Trustees. Applications are due by February 14 (Love your library!) and are available on the library’s homepage at www.shakerlibrary.org.
Libraries do change lives, and for those of you who disagree, I quote Charles Dickens, “Bah! Humbug!”
Luren E. Dickinson, Director