From the Director: January 2017

On December 14, the Library Board accepted the amended facility options study and recommendation to renovate upgrade both facilities as its final document. Appendix M, “Community Feedback on Shaker Library’s Facility Options Study” and a summary of community comments in the executive summary of the document were added to the original draft document. The facility study information can be found online. The Board agreed that the facility study showed a thorough, thoughtful analysis of the library’s options. Additionally, the Board felt that we owe it to the community to fully explore OPTION 3: UPGRADE, and to give the community the opportunity to voice its support.

 The Board takes its responsibility to act as Shaker residents’ fiduciary seriously. I appreciate the thoughtful and careful approach board members took to the facility study and to listening to community feedback about their recommendation. The next step is to determine the final budget and to propose funding means and tax level for community review. Preliminary financial projections were prepared as part of the study and the next thing we need to do is to develop the final budget for the project. The earliest we would be on the ballot is November 2017. That is not only because of the work we need to do, but also because we have great respect for the schools’ process and want voters to have the opportunity to address each issue separately.

When we began studying the best way to address our facility needs we believed that one new facility to replace two aging facilities was a good choice for Shaker Heights, and we hired Triad Research Group to conduct a representative poll of registered voters in our school district. Although we didn’t know millage associated with options when we conducted the poll, we did know it was more expensive to keep both buildings than to have just one new facility designed as a library. Even if it meant saving one million dollars.

  • 29% supported building a new Main Library and closing Bertram Woods Branch
  • 74% thought Main Library should be preserved as an historic building
  • 72% supported updating and renovating both buildings
  • 64% said keeping Bertram Woods Branch open was more important than building a new Main Library

In response to the suggestion that we seek inclusion with Cuyahoga County Public Library, the board noted that seeking inclusion eliminates the opportunity to explore other options and that it’s important to give voters a voice before irrevocably giving away an asset Shaker residents have spent the last 80 years building and supporting.

The Board agreed that partnerships and close collaboration among the Library, the Schools, and the City is important. The need for partnerships and a shared vision for Shaker Heights were common themes in community discussions, including our recent meetings with City Council and the School Board, as well as the League of Women Voters Forum.

Amy Switzer, Director

From the Director: November 2016

November has been a busy month at the Library as we settle into new routines and new leadership. Maureen Brodar was hired as Deputy Director for the Library and has transitioned from Interim Main Library Manager into her new role. The School Board appointed Thomas Cicarella to fill the unexpired term of Peter Anagnostos, and he will be sworn in at the November 14 board meeting.

Our Facility Options Feedback sessions are scheduled for 11 am Saturday, November 12 at Woods Branch, 2 pm Sunday, November 13 and 7 pm Thursday, November 17 at Main Library. We will offer a brief presentation followed by a Q&A Session moderated by Library Board President Chad Anderson. Our intention is to hear what our residents have to say. Please join us and share your thoughts about the future of the library.

I want to share information with you about the present status of funding for Ohio’s public libraries. At the state level, we are fortunate to be funded through the Public Library Fund (PLF) which receives a percentage of the state’s tax revenues from the state’s General Revenue Fund (GRF). Revenue sources for the GRF include the state personal income tax, sales and use tax, business taxes, etc.

The Public Library Fund is currently set at 1.7% of Ohio’s General Revenue Fund, but will be automatically reduced to 1.66% on July 1, 2017, cutting state funding for all Ohio public libraries.

The Ohio Library Council (OLC) is working with Ohio’s public libraries to educate members of the Ohio General Assembly and those that will be elected in November on the status of our state funding. We know that Ohioans value their public libraries and that public libraries create opportunities and transform lives. We will be working with the OLC during the next several months to protect state funding for Ohio’s public libraries. I will keep you posted with updates as we work through this process.

Friends of the Shaker Library continues to support our programs and services and to help fill in the financial gaps. Their Fall Book Sale kept the library buzzing and their profits hold steady, proving that people still do read books in print. We were fortunate to have Discover Books pick up the remaining books and the Friends now has a good working relationship with them.

We received news from Sisters in Crime, an organization that promotes mystery and crime writers that we were the October Lottery winner in their We Love Libraries promotion, and will receive $1,000. Thanks to the efforts of librarian Pam Tidwell who suggested we enter.

Our Youth Services Department was red, white, and blue with a fantasy-filled mock election for November 8, 2016. Children were invited to vote for The Unicorn or The Dragon and to weigh in on referendums on homework, longer lunch periods, and whether or not the Tooth Fairy should leave candy instead of money.

They even had an authentic polling station on loan from the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections.

The current art exhibit, From Intaglio to Collage: A World Journey, features the work of local artists, Jane Petschek and Boni Suzanne Gelfand. Be sure to see the artwork, which will be on display through December 16.

Our annual Veterans Day commemoration, Letters from the Front, is held the evening of November 11 and features the reading of letters from soldiers throughout our country’s many wars. Veterans for Peace Chapter 39 makes this event special and solemn with cello music to begin the program and the sounding at Taps at the end.

Amy Switzer, Director

From the Director: July 2016

Summertime may be the time of year when many folks relax and reassess; however, for libraries summertime is another busy season when we work to support our community in many different ways. The most obvious way, of course, is through our summer reading programs. Our staff has created appealing programs for children, teens, and adults. While we encourage reading throughout the year, in summer, we stress the importance of reading for children and families to prevent the summer slide. We foster reading for fun in all forms and formats and in all kinds of places. Whether at the beach or at camp, Shaker Library is a virtual click away to connect you to your home community and your local reading resource.

This summer we were the first library in Cuyahoga County to pilot the exciting new project of lending HotSpots. You can borrow the device to access the internet free at home, in the car, or anywhere else!  HotSpots provide FREE internet access to smartphones, tablets, and other wireless-enabled devices through the T-Mobile cellular network.

We continue to collect and preserve information important to our community’s history in our Local History Collection, and we continue to share that information with our community and beyond. Recently, Shaker Library contributed items to an exhibit at the New York Public Library Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture and Governor Kasich has appointed Local History librarian Meghan Hays to the Ohio Historical Records Advisory Board, which focuses on the preservation of and access to Ohio’s historical records.

We believe access to our material is important for everyone. To that end, we implemented a Three-for-Me card for children ages 12 and under, which allows them to borrow up to three children’s books from our library without a parent’s signature.  We also offer a number of Reading-Pays-Off-for-Teens programs throughout the summer, so teens ages 12 – 18 can read down their Shaker Library card fines to be eligible to use their cards.

Perhaps you call it reference or maybe research, either way, we call it help, and our librarians are ready to make sure that every person finds the information he or she seeks. Whether it’s an individual or a group, our librarians are here to help – summer fall, winter, and spring!

This summer, our Board of Trustees is also busy seeking a qualified applicant to fill the two-year unexpired term of Peter Anagnostos, who will resign August 1 due to a move outside our library district. Applications are available online and should be submitted by August 12, 2016.

Shaker Library is a busy, vibrant place that should be included in your summer plans.

Amy Switzer
Interim Director


Sharing Your Genealogy at Family Reunions: 9:30 AM-1PM Saturday, March 26, 2016 at Main Library

treeFamily reunions are often originated by a genealogist and heritage is what most participants have in common.  See how AAGS members incorporate family history and exhibit their genealogy at family functions to enliven, educate and pass on history to next generations.

Register for this program.


Out of the Library the Week of March 14, 2016

Monday, March 14 Stacie Anderson, Pat Randle (5-9 PM)
Tuesday, March 15 Stacie Anderson
Wednesday, March 16 Luren Dickinson, Stacie Anderson, Michelle Garnet
Thursday, March 17 Luren Dickinson, Alex Vargo, Stacie Anderson, Ed Rossman
Friday, March 18 Luren Dickinson, Stacie Anderson, Ed Rossman
Saturday, March 19 Stacie Anderson, Ed Rossman
Sunday, March 20


Server Upgrade Sunday October 18, 2015

Due to a server upgrade we will have limited access to our online catalog and customer accounts on Sunday October 18, 2015 from 9 am to midnight.

What you can do on Oct 18:

  • Check out up to 10 items with your library card
  • Check out emedia on Overdrive
  • Search for items in the online catalog
  • Use research databases in the library

What you can’t do on Oct 18:

  • Access “My Account” in Bibliocommons
  • Renew items
  • Pay your fines
  • Get a new library card
  • Place holds
  • See if a title is available on the shelf
  • Access research databases from home