Message to the community from Luren E. Dickinson:
Progress was the buzzword for the month of May as I completed my first year as Director of the Shaker Heights Public Library. We met some of our long-term objectives and took major steps toward completing others. We also laid the groundwork for setting goals for the future and establishing strategies to help us better serve the community.
May 2 marked my first anniversary at Shaker Library, and the next day our new Checkpoint security systems were installed at both agencies to help protect our video collections. The new anti-theft equipment allows us to standardize video storage boxes enabling us to put DVDs back on the shelves at the Main Library. This change provides the public with a better opportunity to browse the collection. We have also increased the number of video materials cardholders may check out to ten items.
While the new security system was implemented, I delivered a Library Services & Technology Act (LSTA) grant application to the State Library of Ohio. LSTA is a federal program that allows libraries to improve operations on a competitive basis. We requested $54,000, which will be matched with $18,000 in local funds, to improve our services to youth. Highlights of the grant application include an enhanced Play and Learn Station for preschool children, a Family Computing Center for youngsters and their caregivers, a Homework Help program for middle school students, and an enhanced Teen Center. Awards will be announced in September.
The North Chapter Conference of the Ohio Library Council was held in May and I attended a session devoted to serving people of color. A handout from the session included an extensive list of resources for libraries seeking to build diverse collections. In comparing Shaker Library’s holdings to their recommended list, the quality of our collections took on a beautiful “hue.” Of the 35 suggested Latino authors/titles, we owned 30 (86%); of the 46 Asian authors/titles, we held 44 (96%); and of the 136 African-American authors/titles, we owned 134 (99%!) We have since added all of the missing ones so we now stand at 100%!
On May 10, we completed an inspection walk-through of the Main Library roofing job and both the main roof and the entrance roof turned out very well. The green slate becomes more dappled as it ages and matches both the color of the building’s brick and the copper finishing on the roof. Work on the roof was funded by the November 2004 School/Library Bond Issue. We plan to do some copper repair on the bell tower or cupola of the original school building, but will handle that as a smaller, separate project.
Shaker Library hosted a well-received meeting on library legislation and funding May 12 that was attended by administrators and board members from each of the nine public library systems in Cuyahoga County. The keynote speaker was Lynda Murray, Ohio Library Council’s Director of Government and Legal Services, who spoke about the then-proposed Tax Expenditure Limitation (TEL) initiative, which would have changed the Ohio Constitution. Fortunately, due to concerns expressed by libraries and local governments throughout the state, it appears that there will be no change in the constitution and that TEL legislation will affect only state government.
The Shaker Heights Public Library Board of Trustees held a retreat on Tri-C’s new Corporate College campus the morning of May 20. Board members reviewed the recent history of public library funding in Ohio and discussed future projections. The final session concluded with a review of new technology and a discussion of long-range plans. The Board wants to know more about strategic planning options so that it might begin a comprehensive, community-based study in the coming months so Shaker Heights Public Library will be better prepared for the future.
Friends of the Shaker Library have been awarded a $3,000 Neighborhood Grant from the City of Shaker Heights to replace the 80-year-old flagpole at the Main Library. Plans are underway for the old flagpole to be removed this summer and a new flagpole installed in time for a dedication ceremony on September 11. The grants were officially announced at the May 22 City Council Meeting.
A busy month was concluded with a complete repainting of most of the public areas on the first floor of the Main Library. The vibrant colors in Movies & Music will echo the more muted tones of the Children’s area, while the earth tones in the rest of the building will be drawn together by a bolder brown on the large wall of the main reading room. We expect to install carpeting in August, along with an oak-colored vinyl baseboard trim, that will make the entire interior look new.
On the horizon are two other projects. One is SAM (or Smart Access Manager), an automated system for controlling public access to computers and printers at both the Main Library and Bertram Woods Branch. We have received approval to use Bond funds for the SAM equipment and software, and hope to do the same for the replacement of the entrance doors at the Main Library. Currently, we are looking at bi-fold automatic doors for each set of main entrance doors and a regular sliding door for the ramp entrance.
This month marked the end of an era for the Cleveland Area Metropolitan Library System, which hosted its last annual meeting on May 24. At the behest of the State Library of Ohio, all regional library systems have reorganized, and three previously existing systems, CAMLS, MOLO (Mid-Eastern Ohio Library Organization), and NOLA (Northeast Ohio Library Association), have merged to form the Northeast Ohio Regional Library System (NEO-RLS).
Luren E. Dickinson, Director