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