From the Director

From the Director June/July 2018

Whatever you’re planning to read this summer, I encourage you to register for our Summer Reading programs designed for preschoolers through adults. Thanks to the Friends for its sustained support for summer reading and to OverDrive for again providing a financial incentive by donating $1 for every book an adult reports reading. This summer’s theme is Art Builds Community and we have planned some interesting complementary programs. Be sure to check them out and join us.

In response to the many requests we have received for free printing, library cardholders can print up to one dollar’s ($1) worth of pages per day at no charge. Use any CLEVNET library card, including the Three for Me and Three for Teens cards. Get your card and use it. Its true value is priceless.

Our Community Engagement librarians are working with the city, schools, and local community partners on ways to foster a healthy community and respond to challenging behavior. Collectively we are working to align our focus and train our staffs on Restorative Practices. The Shaker Schools use this approach to ensure youth are given adequate support to be successful in school. As one of the few free destinations for out-of-school youth, the Library seeks to provide a safe space for them to learn and explore their roles in the larger community through accountability and relationship building.

We are pleased to partner with the Center for Arts-Inspired Learning to participate in an NEA Big Read program. Residents throughout Cuyahoga County will have the chance to participate in Cleveland’s NEA Big Read celebration of Claudia Rankine’s Citizen: An American Lyric. Programming will take place during the month of February 2019 and the group will meet at the Library this June to begin planning. We are also working with ideastream on the promotion of The Great American Read.

As we move forward with plans for renovations, much of the work will be behind the scenes—creating updated budgets, seeking RFPs, etc. As always, we welcome community members’ comments and questions. Please share them here.

Summer is a time to relax, read, and reconnect. Since we are at the midpoint in the year, it is also time to reflect on our successes and challenges. Certainly, we consider our Friends of the Library a success.  Founded in 1980, this volunteer organization has supported the library though its membership drives, book sales, and fund-raising. The Beatles were right! We do indeed get by with a little help from our friends.

Friends have sponsored Book and Author Fairs, major author visits including Anthony Doerr and Celeste Ng, as well as hosting many local authors. Friends underwrites our Poetry in the Woods—the longest running poetry series in a library in Northeast Ohio—and provides the stipends and refreshments for all of the programs the library offers.  I encourage you to learn more about the Friends and to join them.  Our Friends strengthen the library and the community and we can never have too many friends.

Amy L. Switzer
Director, Shaker Heights Public Library
director@shakerlibrary.org

From the Director: May / June 2018

Thank you to all the voters who supported the Library’s 1.9-mill operating levy on May 8. We are grateful for the community’s vote of approval. We appreciate our community’s continued support for Shaker Library and the confidence it has placed in our Board of Trustees and staff. We have served the community for 81 years and we plan to serve for decades to come.

We won’t receive the additional levy revenue until 2019, so we will begin making improvements then. We have worked so hard to hide our buildings’ flaws so many folks were not aware of the depth of the problem. We have conceptual ideas for renovating our buildings to provide easier access and to add more collaborative spaces for community use. As we move forward with more concrete plans we will continue to update the community and seek input. We welcome your comments and suggestions. Please share them here.

Thanks are in order to City Councilwoman and City Tree Advisory Board member Nancy Moore, who helped us plan another successful April Poster and PoeTREE Contest for Arbor Day and to Gali’s Florist and Garden Center which provided beautiful flowering crabapple trees to the young winners. It is always an uplifting afternoon. Thanks also to Mayor David Weiss who presented the children their trees and certificates.

Art Exposed IX will be on display through May 23 on the Main Library second floor. Be sure to take the time to see the art created by Shaker Heights High School and Shaker Middle School students. It is an impressive exhibit of students’ talents and teachers’ dedication.

If you plan to travel internationally this summer, make the Library the first stop on your itinerary. We now offer Passport Processing and Photo Services by appointment.

The end of the school year is fast approaching and our staff has planned summer reading fun for children, teens and adults. This year’s summer reading theme is Shaker Reads: Art Builds Community. We encourage everyone to join in a summer that celebrates art, music, books, and reading and invite you and your family to our Sounds of Summer Kickoff Event June 7 from 6-8 pm at Main Library.  Set your summer reading goals and join us for story and crafts and book and author events throughout the summer.

Shaker Library is pleased to partner with ideastream when it presents The Great American Read, an eight-part television and online series designed to spark a national conversation about reading and the books that have inspired, moved, and shaped us. Whether it’s rediscovering an old favorite or engaging with a new title, ideastream encourages you to read some, many, or all of the 100 best-loved American novels (as chosen in a national survey) as PBS celebrates the joy of reading and the books we love! Be sure to put one of two of these titles on your summer reading list.

Libraries are essential to communities, and no other place comes close. Every week within our walls, children attend story times, immigrants come to ESL classes, job seekers update their skills, and many of us discover books that change our lives. Our library staff are champions of our communities who make sure the library remains a safe and welcoming space for all who enter. Thank you again for placing your trust in us.

Amy L. Switzer
Director, Shaker Heights Public Library
director@shakerlibrary.org

From the Director April / May 2018

On May 8, residents of the Shaker Heights City School District will be asked to vote on the Library’s 1.9-mill operating levy.  As Library Director, I have been doing much thinking about our library, our community, and the many different ways we serve our community—from offering lap-sit story times for babies in the library to delivering library material to the homes of people who cannot come to the library.

People have always been at the core of our library’s mission to “strengthen our community and transform lives by bringing together people, information, and ideas.” Although books and other material remain an important part of the service we provide, building human capital, building relationships, and building networks of information within our community are more crucial than ever.

People need libraries not only because they offer a place of quiet solitude, but also because they offer a place to make connections. Today, even with every imaginable type of immediate communication, people can become quite isolated. Sometimes libraries, books, and people are their best connections to their communities.

I believe that our library’s most powerful asset is the conversation it offers – between books and readers, children and parents, individuals and the community. Take away these conversations, and those voices are silenced. It seems that libraries have very little to do with quiet and very much to do with making connections.

Last February, we asked visitors why they loved their library, and some of the many replies we received included:

  • “It is where we met many neighbors and became friends when our kids were young!”
  • “Reading about things gives more meaning to life.”
  • “Perfect location.  Right in the middle of everything.  Grocery store, Pharmacy, Shopping and restaurants.”
  •  “It’s where you meet and greet the best people!”
  •  “Bertram is walkable from our home.  It feels like a small village – warm and welcoming.  Staff is part of the neighborhood ‘feeling.’”
  •  “It’s a place for forming community!”
  •  “It has soooo much and connects me to the world of ideas!”

Shaker Library has been community-based, and community responsive for the past 81 years and we stand ready to serve our community and to help our residents make connections for another 81 years. Please read about the Shaker Library Levy and remember to vote on May 8.

Amy L. Switzer
Director, Shaker Heights Public Library
director@shakerlibrary.org

From the Director – March / April 2018

“Libraries Transform: Libraries Lead”

This year’s National Library Week (April 8-14) theme is especially apt as librarians have long been trailblazers when it comes to free and equal access and intellectual freedom. Library services and a librarian’s expertise can help lead people to achieve their goals and improve their quality of life. This year’s Legislative Day on April 11 falls within National Library Week and affords us the perfect opportunity to show our legislators how Shaker Library leads its community through its transformative services and programs. Legislative Day is an opportunity to meet with our legislators in Columbus to advocate on behalf of Ohio’s public libraries! Shaker Library will certainly be there advocating for its community.

Shaker Library’s Community Engagement librarians, Maggie Killman and Gabriel Venditti, will lead a panel on Building Meaningful Relationships Through Community Engagement at the Public Library Association Conference in Philadelphia on March 22. This is certainly exciting news for Shaker Library to be selected on a national level to share our expertise in helping to transform people’s lives.

Another way we engage with our community is through art, and this year we will celebrate our 19th Annual Barbara Luton Art Competition. The juried show of local art will open with a Reception and Awards Ceremony from 2-4 pm Sunday, March 25 at Main Library. Enjoy refreshments and meet the artists as we celebrate their talents and appreciate the art that graces our gallery wall.

April is Poetry Month and Jazz Month. We all need a little poetry in our lives and we invite you to celebrate at the Library with activities for all ages include readings, writing opportunities, and discussions. During the week of April 16, school-age children can read and write poems on a different theme each day and receive a prize for adding their original poems to a“PoeTree” in the children’s rooms. Teens can participate in a 5-Minute Poetry program from 4-5 pm Wednesday, April 18 in the Teen Center, and adults can share their creativity using our magnetic poetry boards. For Jazz month we will feature Moustache Yourself at 2 pm Sunday, April 8 when they present an afternoon of gypsy jazz!  Kamal Abdul-Alim and the Real Thing Band will perform at 2 pm Sunday, April 29. Make a note to join us.

Again this year, we have partnered with the City’s Tree Advisory Board on our Arbor Day Poster, Book Cover, and PoeTREE Contest for children and teens. Paper and supplies will be available at both libraries from April 2-9. Entries are due by April 13 and we will celebrate the winners at a special reception on Friday, April 27. Special kudos to City Council woman Nancy Moore who helps to orchestrate the contest and to Gali’s Florist and Garden Center for donating native species trees for the winners.

April is also Book Sale Month. Our Friends of the Library will present an amazing array of gently used books when they take over the Main Library second floor April 18-22. The sale is the culmination of many volunteer hours of sorting and culling to offer the community the best books, CDs, and DVDs at the best prices. Bring the family. There is certainly something for everyone and summer reading begins in June.

Amy L. Switzer
Director, Shaker Heights Public Library
director@shakerlibrary.org

 

From the Director – February/March 2018

“Sometimes life calls on you even when you don’t raise your hand.”

This quote from the 2018 Newbery Medal book, Hello, Universe by Erin Entrada Kelly, spoke to me not only because I began my library work as a children’s librarian, but also because it seems to sum up library work in general. Every day, our librarians are called upon to help our community. Whether it’s to work behind the scenes to help a neighborhood theater group create a public poetry performance, or to collaborate with an elementary school to create a tutoring center to help bridge the educational gap, I am proud to note that when we are called upon, we answer. And our answers speak volumes about our service to our community. We believe that eliminating barriers to education and opening our doors to everyone—regardless of power, profit, geography, or politics—is more important than ever.

I am equally proud of our Library Board of Trustees. While the board delegates the actual day-to-day operation of the library to the director and staff, it never gives up its ultimate responsibility for the success of the library. We are fortunate to receive their dedicated oversight and service.

January was a month of celebration for libraries and books. The Association of Library Service to Children announced the 2018 Notable Books and recordings for children and the Notable Books Council announced the 2018 Notable Books for adults. I encourage you to borrow them, download them, or listen to them. If you can’t find a title, ask a librarian for help.

Explore the cosmos with us when the Natural History Museum brings its StarLab mobile planetarium to Main Library February 19 -23 in celebration of Astronomy Week. Bring your family to learn about the stars and the planets. Our February 19 Science Café at Woods Branch features Shaker resident Dr. Steven Hauck speaking on Mercury and Beyond—How and Why We Explore the Planets.

In February we debuted GoChip Beam a new type of device for lending movies and television series. Each device contains a small Wi-Fi router, rechargeable battery, and solid state storage preloaded with five feature length movies or an entire season of a television series, all enclosed in a 3.5″ x 1″ stick. Check them out and binge watch to your heart’s content.

If you haven’t yet participated in Northeast Ohio’s largest book club, the One Community Reads initiative now is the time. Borrow the book, Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond, discuss it with others at PubReads at Academy Tavern on March 12, and then meet the author March 15 at Playhouse Square when he discusses his book or watch it live streamed to Main Library.

March is a month of music when The Matt Horwich Trio performs on Sunday, March 18, and poetry when Christine Howey and Tim Joyce read at Woods Branch on Monday March 19, and art when we celebrate the 19th Annual Barbara Luton Art Competition with a gallery opening reception on Sunday, March 25. Finally, if you hear the all too familiar phrase, “There’s nothing to do” over spring break (March 30 –April 6, bring the family to Woods Branch to help color our giant wall mural!

Amy L. Switzer
Director, Shaker Heights Public Library
director@shakerlibrary.org

 

 

From the Director – December 2017/January 2018

In his book, Better Together: Restoring the American Community, Robert Putnam wrote, “People may go to the library looking mainly for information, but they find each other there.

Shaker Library staff work hard every day to help our community find each other and connect at the library. Whether it’s new moms making connections at Play and Learn Station or story times, teens making connections at Teen Study Workshops, or seniors making connections at healthy lifestyle programs, Shaker Library is helping to build those connections every day.

Our Community Engagement librarians are critical in helping us make connections with Northeastern Ohio agencies like Ingenuity Cleveland, Shaker Makers, Facing History, Monarch Center for Autism, and Western Reserve Historical Society, as well as local agencies including the City and city task forces, the Shaker Schools and school task forces. More importantly, they not only make connections, but also leverage them to create interesting partnerships and initiatives that benefit our community.

Our Youth Services department has been working with Bellefaire JCB to enable our vulnerable youth at risk to connect to needed support services. Both Main Library and Bertram Woods Branch are designated as a Safe Place in Shaker Heights. Both library buildings display the yellow and black “Safe Place” sign, which signifies immediate help and safety for youth. Library staff have been trained to look for warning signs and to offer support to youth in crisis by contacting Bellefaire JCB’s 24-hour hotline for homeless and missing youth. Our staff has met with Shaker Schools staff who are eager to help us promote this service to all Shaker families and we have notified the city and the police department.

Board President Brian Gleisser and I connected with our community at the League of Women Voters Community Forum on Wednesday evening December 13, but even before that, we reached out to the city and school representatives to schedule a meeting to talk about our shared visions. I am proud to say that connecting and collaborating is something the library does very well.

As we near the end of 2017, I want to extend my thanks to my seven-member Board of Trustees, who are engaged in our community, and work long hours reviewing policies, budgets, and facilities issues. I am thankful for their expertise and most thankful that they are connected to our community and help share our library story in their neighborhoods. I am also thankful for a dedicated staff who deal with HVAC and building challenges and come to work every day ready to not only connect our community to all of our resources, but also to teach them how to use them. Whether it’s teaching a computer class or teaching the owner of a new device how to download books, our staff is patient and eager to help.

The year 2018 begins with our collaboration with the City Club of Cleveland, Playhouse Square, and nine local public library systems on One Community Reads, a shared reading experience for the greater Cleveland community. The selected book is the Pulitzer prize-winning book, Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond. Library staff has prepared a number of opportunities for the community to come together and discuss the book and the issues surround it.  I hope you will plan to join us.

Amy L. Switzer
Director, Shaker Heights Public Library
director@shakerlibrary.org

From the Director November 2017

Shaker Library Facility and Funding Update

Shaker Library belongs to the residents of Shaker Heights. It was conceived and built through the efforts of generations of Shaker residents. Shaker Library is one of Shaker Heights’ most valuable civic assets and the Shaker Library Board is charged with protecting it and ensuring it provides benefits and services to current and future generations of Shaker residents.

As its Director, one of my most important jobs is to regularly update our community about the health of their Library.

I’m happy to report that Shaker Library is one of the best library systems in America. We are fiscally sound and in 2016, Shaker Library was ranked in the the top 2% of libraries its size nationally. Four out of five residents use Shaker Library annually, and more than half use it at least once a month. In 2016, Shaker Library users borrowed nearly one million items and visited our Library nearly half a million times.

Shaker Library is serving Shaker well and we are working hard to ensure it can continue to do so.

In 2014, Shaker Library completed a comprehensive building assessment that concluded that its facilities need $5.1 million in repairs and maintenance. These needs may not seem obvious at first, but they have significantly affected library services. Problems with the Main Library’s HVAC system regularly make the library either too hot or too cold for visitors. At times, the Main Library has been forced to close because of its HVAC challenges. Leaks in the roof threaten to damage the library’s collection, and last year a problem with a sewer line created a stench in the library’s lowest level.

Throughout 2015 and 2016, we worked to find the right answer to our facilities challenges. We held a series of public meetings, gathered feedback from residents, worked with architects and engineers, and conducted an extensive study of seven possible solutions. The options we studied varied dramatically and included drastically curtailing library operations, consolidating library services into a single, new facility, and investigating whether Shaker Library should become part of the Cuyahoga County Public Library system – a process that Ohio law calls “inclusion.”

We learned a lot during this process. Initially, the Library Board and staff preferred the idea of building a single, new library to replace the existing Main Library and Bertram Woods Branch. Shaker residents, however, thought differently, preferring that we upgrade and continue operating our two current locations. We listened and shifted our thinking.

In December 2016, the Library Board unanimously decided to repair and renovate both library facilities, which will create important opportunities and benefits for Shaker residents, including:

  • Improved meeting and community gathering spaces.
  • Greater convenience and accessibility throughout the Library.
  • Adaptable rooms that can be reconfigured to meet group learning and collaboration needs.
  • Up-to-date technology and trained staff to help residents use it.
  • Tools to ensure that all residents can connect with the digital world.

Throughout 2017, we have worked on refining our plans and finding ways to minimize our costs, while ensuring Shaker residents receive the Library services they want and deserve.

Throughout its 80-year history, Shaker Library’s goal has been to maximize Shaker’s return on investment and deliver the best-possible library services at the lowest possible cost. As thoughtful stewards of taxpayer dollars, we have worked hard to minimize what Shaker Library asks of taxpayers. Shaker Library receives a tiny portion of Shaker Heights property tax revenue. Shaker Library’s 4.0 voted mills is just 2% of Shaker’s total property tax millage and is below the average tax millage of the nine public libraries in Cuyahoga County that have property tax levies.

Since 2008, the revenue Shaker Library receives from the State of Ohio has decreased by 19% and revenue from local property taxes has declined by 18%. As a result, Shaker Library’s revenue is now the lowest it has been in 10 years. Instead of asking voters for more money to make up for these decreases, Shaker Library cut costs, including reducing its staff by 16%.

 We can’t upgrade our facilities, however, just by cutting costs. So, in the coming weeks the Shaker Library Board will vote on placing a small millage increase on the May 2018 ballot.

The small increase our Board will vote to approve will be the first millage increase for Shaker Library in over 20 years. The last time the Library asked for an increase in millage was in 1997.

The cost of this increase to Shaker Heights property owners would be $67 per $100,000 of home value—a little more than 18¢ per day. Two-thirds of the funds this levy would generate would be allocated to repairing and upgrading the Library’s facilities. The remaining one-third of the funds would pay for library operating expenses, including adding year-round Sunday hours.

In the coming weeks, Shaker Library will make presentations to Shaker Heights City Council and the Shaker Heights Board of Education to discuss its intentions for the future. We will keep you updated regularly on our progress and look forward to talking with you more about the benefits of an upgraded, independent Shaker Library.

Amy L. Switzer
Director, Shaker Heights Public Library
director@shakerlibrary.org

From the Director – August 2017

Where did the summer go? The season passes so quickly and sightings of yellow school buses crisscrossing the town are now a regular part of our mornings. In the Children’s Rooms, our Summer Reading material has been put away and we are busy planning story times, music programs, STEAM programs, and a Drop-in Roald Dahl Day because according to Dahl, “A little magic can take you a long way.” Be sure to browse our Fall Program flyers for children and teens to see what excites you and your family.

Our Adult Summer Reading Challenge was another successful program where readers “earned” a generous $500 donation to the Library from OverDrive. Library staff created a survey for book club members or want-to-be book club members and has planned a Reading Group Rendezvous for Book Lovers the evening of September 13. Joining us that evening will be Lorraine Nelson of CWRU Continuing Education, Harriett Logan of Loganberry Books and we will have material from Appletree Books and Mac’s Backs. Participants can enjoy refreshments, meet other book club members, and learn what the library offers as well as many other enriching opportunities in our community. Bring your book-loving friends and join us.

We were busy taking the library to the community this summer and will continue to do so in the fall. Look for us in Chelton Park, at The Dealership, at Shaker Football Games, and at Shaker Heights PTO CommUnity Market Nights. We will co-sponsor a Forum on the Ohio School Board on September 25 at the Main Library and a Meet-the-Candidates Night on September 28 at the Shaker Middle School with the League of Women Voters Shaker Heights Chapter.

September is Library Card Sign-Up Month and again this year we join with other libraries in the county to help ensure that every child under 18 years of age has a library card. The initiative, A Card for Every Kid Library Challenge, occurs during National Library Card Sign-up Month (September 1 – 30) and is a cooperative effort to raise awareness of the importance of owning a library card and to better understand the factors that keep some children and teens from getting one. Children in grades K-12 can sign up for a library card or have their fines forgiven on their existing cards throughout the month of September.

We have also debuted our new Three for Teens card for ages 13-18. Because there is no parent/guardian signature requirement, teens can sign up at the Circulation desk and borrow up to three books and gain access to emedia right away. This card follows the same principles as our Three for Me card for children ages 12 and under. We want to ensure that everyone in our community has access to the library.  Do you teach? We now offer Educator cards with expanded access to our resources and materials. Cards are issued free of charge to educators who provide proof of employment at a school or licensed preschool or daycare facility. Stop in today to get yours. Get ready for success in school and be sure to have the most important school supply – a Shaker Library card.

What’s new? Overdrive has a new app called Libby, which you can use to discover and instantly enjoy thousands of ebooks and audiobooks from the library for offline reading, or stream them to save space. If you prefer reading on your Kindle, Libby can send your library books to it. All your loans and holds are consolidated on a single shelf and you can sample any book with a tap — nothing to download or delete. All you need is a library card.

Our new Spaces reservation system has made it easier and quicker to reserve one of our meeting rooms. Whether you need a meeting room for six or 100, we have the spaces and we have made it easier for you to reserve them.

While you can’t reclaim the expansive hours of a summer past, you can still find time to relax, refresh, and rejuvenate by visiting the Library. Find a comfy chair and a book or magazine that appeals and take some time for yourself. Our doors and shelves are open for your reading, listening, and watching pleasure.

From the Director – July 2017

When Shaker Library opened its doors more than 80 years ago, we were a quaint little library. Today, we are a vibrant community institution and economic driver. Last year, more than 8,500 came through our doors every week and many more visited us virtually through our website. 3,600 people used our study rooms and 1,300 groups reserved our meeting rooms. We answered more than 64,000 reference questions and enlightened, entertained, and educated more than 21,000 adults and children at a variety of programs and classes. In addition, we provided more than half a million hours of internet access on our free computers.

Most importantly, long after we have provided a safe, comfortable place to meet, taught a new computer skill, or sparked our visitors’ imaginations, it is when our visitors share their newfound knowledge that the influence of the library ripples out to our entire community.

Our Children’s Summer Reading Program with its prizes of necklaces, beads, and brag tags has been very popular with parents and children alike. Parents like the pattern making and counting aspect of the chain and bead system, and children like the instant gratification and incentives the beads provide as they read to add beads to their chains. More important than the reading incentives, however, is the encouragement our Children’s Services staff offer children on their summer reading adventures. Our immediate goal is to help prevent learning loss during the summer months so children will start school ready to learn. Certainly our long-term goal is to help them develop a lifetime love of reading―and appreciation for their library.

Children’s staff has been busy planning Teddy Bear Tea parties, Stuffed Animal Sleepovers, and Mini Drive-in Movie programs for little ones and Free ACT Prep Classes for Teens.  We want to stimulate young minds and to help teens overcome testing hurdles.

Thanks to Friends of the Shaker Library for underwriting the purchase of Rosemary Wells’ Max’s ABCs. Literacy Outreach Specialist Wendy Simon will present the books to 18 young graduates of the CNS Get Ready! Program. We hope the gift book will help to inspire our young readers to get ready to read.

Our summer series of programs for adults has been popular with an appearance from Thrity Umrigar, author of Everybody’s Son and When I Carried You in My Belly. Authors, professional organizers, sisters, and alumnae of Shaker Heights High School Katie (Class of 1988) and Kelly (Class of 1991) McMenamin visited Woods Branch to prove it’s never too late to get organized and to promote their book, Organize Your Way. Job seekers might find summertime to be the perfect time to schedule a visit to the Career Transition Center at the Main Library or to sign up for a class on Keys to Finding the Hidden Jobs, How to Network Effectively, or How to Write a Resume.

The League of Women Voters and the Library continue to collaborate on offering provocative discussions on notable community issues. Join us at 7 pm Tuesday, July 25 for a public policy forum on Shaker Square: Its Past, Present, and Future moderated by Steven Litt. At 7 pm Tuesday, August 22 join us for The Ohio Board of Education AKA the State School Board with panelists Meryl Johnson Member, Board of Education; Peggy Lehner, Ohio Senator (R-6) Chair, Senate Standing Committee on Education, and Mary Rose Oakar Former Member, Board of Education.

Whether you want to spend a morning coloring, an evening knitting or discussing books, or sharing coffee and conversation with neighbors, we encourage you take advantage of the many opportunities available at your Shaker Library.

From the Director – June 2017

Summer Reading is now in full swing. As of June 12, there were 142 preschoolers, 549 school-age children, and 72 teens registered for summer reading, and 81 adults have reported reading 79 books. This auspicious beginning is likely related to our Youth Services staff visits to the Shaker elementary schools to promote the programs, along with the excellent staff and Board participation in the City’s Memorial Day Parade. The Book Cart Brigade was again on a roll and we heard many “We love the Library” comments. Thank you to all who helped to make our presence known.

Our Sounds of Summer Kickoff event on June 5 at Main Library was a successful collaboration with the Shaker Schools Family Engagement Team and the City Recreation department. Library staff pitched in to make it a fun family evening that celebrated the end of the school year and the beginning of summer reading.

Our children’s reading program this summer is Reading Sounds Good: Tune In. Our graphics and activities focus on the theme of music and so we apply that theme to reading. Musicians get better with practice and children become better readers with practice. It doesn’t matter what they read, as long as they are engaged and read every day. We want them to fine tune their reading so they will be ready for school in the fall. Don’t let their instruments get rusty! We encourage all parents and caregivers to bring their children to the library. Let us help them chose a book they will love this summer―and they will be better readers for it when school begins this fall!

This summer our staff has extended its outreach. They will provide a rotating collection for the Shaker Schools Summer Exploration Learning and Fun camps (SELF) and will make weekly visits to share stories and encourage reading.

Thanks to the Friends of the Shaker Library for its sustained support for summer reading. This year, they applied for and received a grant from Aldi’s, which will be used to purchase snacks for our Snacks and Stories for Summer Afternoons.

At the end of May, Sisters in Crime Northeast Ohio presented the Library with a $1,000 check. Since the organization’s mission is “to promote the ongoing advancement, recognition and professional development of women crime writers,” we will use the money to purchase books by women crime writers.

News on State Library Funding continues to be disappointing. The graph at left is a visual representation of the Ohio Public Library Fund. Public libraries are receiving $119 million LESS in state funding than what they received in 2001–a 24% reduction in funding over the last 15 years with no adjustment for inflation. Recently, The Ohio House passed its version of the state budget lowering the Public Library Fund (PLF) for the next two fiscal years to 1. 66%. The Senate’s version of the bill is anticipated to reset the PLF at 1.68% (down from the current 1.7%) of the State’s General Revenue Fund. (GRF).

Ohio’s public libraries have the highest use per capita in the nation and continue to be a sound investment. Every $1 spent by Ohio’s public libraries yields a $5 return on investment. We know that Ohioans value their public libraries and we have urged the Senate to maintain the Public Library Fund.

On a happier note, please be sure to check our website calendar and choose from the many exciting summer reading activities we have planned for you. Connect. Read. Learn. Grow.