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: May 2017

80th Birthday Card to Shaker Library We celebrated the 80th anniversary of the Library on April 22 at Main Library with our wonderful Shaker community. We thank everyone who celebrated with us and who shared their library memories and birthday wishes. Comments included:

“Here’s to another 80 years.”

“An anchor of the community’s intellectual health.”

“You have blessed many lives with the gift of knowledge.”

“This really is the best library ever. We feel so lucky to be part of this wonderful community.”

We read every birthday wish and we do, indeed, plan to continue thriving for another 80 years and beyond.


Monday, May 22, we will welcome new Library Board member Doreen Katz, a  Boulevard resident, who will serve a seven-year term. She graduated from Case Western Reserve University with a B.S. in Civil Engineering and worked as a forensic engineer, investigating building failures and managing building repair projects throughout Northeast Ohio. We are pleased to welcome her to the Board.

Shaker has a wealth of generous and talented community members who share their special knowledge with us. Recently, Master Gardner Lynn-Ann Gries shared her expertise on Creative Gardening in Containers, Dr. Atossa Alavi gave us an Introduction to Intellectual Property and on May 22 Adam Giannelli, Shaker Heights High School Class of 1996, author of Tremulous Hinge, winner of the Iowa Poetry Prize, will return to his home library  to perform his poetry at Woods Branch.

In April we partnered with the City’s Tree Advisory Board on another successful Poster and PoeTREE contest for children. Gali’s Florist and Garden Center donated dogwood trees for the winners and, these proud winners’ faces say it all. May found us partnering with the Shaker Heights High School and Middle Schools’ Art Departments to present Art Exposed VIII: The Inner Workings of An Art Department. We are proud to promote our students’ amazing artistic talents and are most grateful to the teachers for providing the community with a look into the schools’ art programs. The exhibit will be on display through May 23 so be sure to visit.

With its community partners, the library works to help combat summer learning loss by offering free summer reading programs for all ages. Our Friends of the Library underwrites the summer reading program by providing prizes as reading incentives for children and teens. Community merchants, Dewey’s Gathering House at Shaker Square, Lucy’s Sweet Surrender, Simply Delicious Pies, J. Pistone Market and Gathering Place and Yours Truly at Shaker Square sweeten summer reading with gift certificates for adult readers. Sign up at shakerlibrary.org. Back by popular demand, the library’s Book Cart Brigade will once again participate in the City’s Memorial Day Parade on May 29.

The Sounds of Summer will echo throughout the Main Library from 6-8 pm Monday, June 5. Plan to join us for this family event celebrating music, books, and reading presented in partnership with the Shaker Heights Schools and the City of Shaker Heights Recreation Department. There will be many fun activities for children and adults. The Friends will hold a Pop-Up Book Sale and visitors can learn how to download books on mobile devices at our Tech-Try-It Station from our partners from OverDrive.

Please visit us often. Shaker Library is a unique and valuable community resource. It is a lifeline to the world and all the information in it.

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