Message to the Community from Luren E. Dickinson:
Every two years, the State of Ohio passes a new budget. That process has occurred ten times in the last 20 years and funding for Ohio’s public libraries is expected to be virtually the same for the 2011-2013 budget as it was for the 1991-1993 budget.
What has happened with the Shaker Library in the last 20 years? In 1990, we were located in what is now the Stephanie Tubbs Jones Community Building and operated a smaller Bertram Woods Branch. Our annual circulation was just over 700,000. Since that time, Bertram Woods was expanded in 1991 and renovated in 2003. In 1993, Main Library completed renovations and moved in the former Moreland School. In 2010, we checked out more than 1,250,000 items. How did we make all of this progress with 20 years of flat state funding?
We renegotiated lower rates for a variety of
insurance and service contracts; reduced utility costs through efficient
lighting and new energy suppliers; reduced staff through attrition and retirements;
cut library hours of operation; spent less on library material by being more
selective and purchasing fewer copies, and pursued a variety of grants to
purchase equipment and pay for programs. We are fortunate to have an active and
most generous Friends organization, which supports the “extras” not funded by
the regular tax-supported budget. Most importantly, we are supported by a
community that uses and values its library.
We had expected to host an open house in our new Computer Center and Training Lab facility, but occupancy has been delayed due to an exterior water problem. A thorough tuck pointing and sealing of the stone and brick above the second story windows on the south side of the Main Library should resolve the moisture issues; however, work will not be completed until late June.
In the meantime, Shaker Library is continuing to do more with less. One way we can continue to serve our public by working with other organizations to offer free programs and services. Our successful collaboration with the League of Women Voters of Shaker Heights and the Flora Stone Mather Center for Women yielded an overflow crowd for our program, It’s Not Your Mother’s Politics – It’s Yours. The following week, we worked with the Shaker High School art department on the exciting student exhibit, Art Exposed II, which will be on display through May 21 at Main Library. A partnership with Cuyahoga Community College’s Career Development and Transition Services has yielded a job-seekers workshop series to be held from 1-3 p.m. Mondays, May 2, 9, 16 and 23 at the Main Library. Another interesting partnership with the Ohio Cemetery Alliance will yield an interesting photo contest exhibit. If photography is your thing, consider entering the contest. The deadline is May 7 and information and applications are available on our website.
Thinking of downsizing? Attend Rightsizing For Seniors: Relocation help for Seniors & Families at 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 11 at the Main Library when Real Estate Consultant specializing Lee-Ann Spacek will speak about downsizing housing options, transition living arrangements, and organizing a move for senior adults and their families. Our successful Knit Nights are held once a month on Thursday evenings at Woods Branch. Bring a project to our and be prepared to get or give help at this event moderated by experienced knitter, Fern Braverman.
If bicycling is your passion, consider attending one or all three of our May bicycle programs held at Bertram Woods Branch. Shaker Heights Police Department will be at Woods Branch from 2-3 p.m. Saturday, May 14 to talk about bike safety and to register bikes free of charge. Frank Hall of Bicycle Boulevard will speak about Basic Bike Know How at 2 p.m. Saturday, May 21, and author and bicycle enthusiast Rick Smith talk about his comic strip, “Yehuda Moon & the Kickstand Cyclery,” which appears in every issue of Bicycle Times magazine at 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 18.
April may be the official Poetry Month, but we will celebrate poetry and the publication of the collected poems of Daniel Thompson with co-editor Maj Ragain and other poets at The Big Book of Daniel Party at 7 p.m. Tuesday, May 17 at Bertram Woods Branch.
Library staff is busy preparing for the Memorial Day Parade and planning a summer of reading fun for children, teens and adults. This summer, we join with other libraries in a collaborative approach to summer reading and have planned an interesting line-up of programs for children, teens and adults.