Shaker Heights Public Library Facility Options Study October 10, 2016

The Library Board presented its Draft Facilities Options Study at its October 10, 2016 Meeting and presented its Executive Summary as follows. The complete report and all the appendices are included as links at the end of this Executive Summary. If you have comments, please contact the Director or members of the Library Board.



A 2014 study identified approximately $5 million in capital repairs and maintenance for Shaker Heights Public Library facilities. Of these repairs, approximately $4 million is required for the Shaker Main Library and $1 million for the Bertram Woods Branch. Completing these repairs, however, will not update or modernize the library for 21st-Century needs; it merely maintains the status quo. The Bertram Woods Branch was last renovated in 2003. An updated computer center was created at the Main Library in 2011, but prior to this addition, the last significant renovation to the Main Library was in 2001.

This study was initiated to help guide the Shaker Heights Public Library Board of Trustees to the best solution for meeting the Library’s facilities needs.

Options Studied

With the advice of Library staff, the Library Board of Trustees identified seven options for addressing its facilities needs. These options are analyzed as part of this study:

Option Name Description
1 Maintain Keep both buildings as they are; make the required repairs noted in the 2014 facility assessment; do not undertake service or facility improvements.
2 Replace Replace two aging facilities with one new, up-to-date facility.
3 Upgrade Keep and update both facilities to make them more modern and flexible.
4 Limit Keep both buildings but significantly reduce service at the Main Library in an effort to reduce costs.
5 Joint/Co-Locate Partner with the Shaker Schools on a joint or co-located facility at the Bertram Woods branch location while upgrading the Main Library.
6 Contract Operate within current revenue and avoid going on the ballot.
7 Combine Join the Cuyahoga County Public Library system.


At their March 3, 2016 retreat the Library Board of Trustees agreed upon the following criteria to assess each option:

Is the option Forward-Thinking and Differentiated?
Will the option be Uniquely Shaker?
Will the option be Less Expensive?
Will the option encourage Community Partnerships?
Will the option Grow Usage and usefulness to the community?
Will the option make Shaker Library a Destination?


The Shaker Heights Public Library Board of Trustees accepts the analysis of the facility options in this report. Based on community feedback and the results of this facility study, the Board has determined that maintaining two full-service branches is important for the Shaker Heights community. Therefore, the Board recommends pursuing Option 3: Upgrade.

Option 3: Upgrade received the highest score based on the criteria. It provides the most value to the community and is responsive to the clear preference expressed by residents for Shaker Heights Public Library to maintain both the Main Library with its traditional architecture in the Moreland neighborhood and the Bertram Woods Branch.

Another viable option the Board considered was Option 2: Replace, the second-highest scoring option. It provides substantially lower costs over the long-term; however, it is not responsive to community preferences in regard to historic architecture and branch count. Other options that were less expensive do not provide the value to the community that maintaining and updating the current locations provides.

As a contingency option, the Library is open to exploring Option 5: Joint/Co-Locate at the Shaker Heights Middle School location, if it offers both an upgraded Main Library equivalent to that in Option 3: Upgrade and provides a branch facility designed to be equivalent to an upgraded Bertram Woods with respect to parking, access, grade level, and approximately 12,000 square feet for public library services at typical public library hours. Option 5: Joint/Co-Locate was evaluated based on these specifications.

Next Steps

To allow time to solicit community comment, the Library Board of Trustees introduced this study at its October 10, 2016 meeting and intends to vote on the recommendations it contains at the December 14, 2016 Board Meeting, which will be held at the Main Library.

Decisions about the precise funding method to be proposed (e.g., operating levy v. bond issue) will be made after further research and discussion.

Community Feedback Summary

The library held community feedback forums on November 12, November 13, and November 17. The library presented the facility recommendation to city council on December 5 and to the school board on December 13. The library also participated in a League of Women Voters Forum with the city and schools on December 8.

Most respondents from the community indicated support for the library’s recommendation or requested more information about the options. A minority expressed a strong preference for the library to pursue inclusion with Cuyahoga County Public Library.

Mayor Leiken has reiterated his position that the Shaker Library should pursue the option of inclusion in the County library system.  Members of City Council have expressed concern about taxes and Shaker’s long-term sustainability, and have emphasized the need to find less expensive ways to provide services.

There is consensus among the library, the schools, and the city that collaboration and partnerships to address tax issues in Shaker are important.

See Appendix M for more information about the community feedback the library received about the facility options study and recommendation to pursue Option 3: UPGRADE.

Report: Facility Options Study


Appendix A: Auditor’s Review  Appendix B: Facilities Assessment and Maintenance Master Plan (April 2014)  Appendix C : Community and Staff Visioning Sessions (World Cafe Summary (September 2014 )
Appendix D: Criteria Research with Sources Appendix  E: Usage Driver Assessment Appendix F: Research on Joint Facilities
Appendix G: Questions on the Proposed Analysis of the Possibility of the Cuyahoga County Public Library Providing Service to the Shaker Heights Public Library District Appendix H: Summary of Responses from Cuyahoga County Public Library to Shaker Library’s May 2016 Questions Appendix I: Assessment of Likely Operating Profile for the County Inclusion Option
Appendix J: Source Documents for Assessment of Likely Operating Profile for County Inclusion Option Appendix K: Financials Appendix L: 2014 Return on Investment
Appendix M: Community Feedback Fall 2016