Message to the community from Luren E. Dickinson:
Thanks to Friends of the Shaker Library, we celebrated the library’s 75th anniversary in style last month. “The Jewel of Shaker: A 75th Anniversary Celebration” for Shaker Library was a sparkling benefit attended by more than 125 party-goers. Thanks to Friends President Bette Bonder and party co-chairs, Susan Gall and Christine Bretz, and their committee of Margaret Bradford, Susan Cristal, Evelyn Greene, Nancy Longman, Dale Naylor, Margaret Simon, Susie Stern, and Holly Wang. Despite the fact that Susan Gall was busy editing twenty-two publications and Christine Bretz was filing thousands of tax returns, these two energetic women managed to plan a party that everyone enjoyed. Special thanks to them for their grace under pressure. Is now the time to tell them that many party-goers suggested that we do this more often?
As we continue to celebrate the 75th Anniversary of the Shaker Library, statistics demonstrate that we are busier than ever. First quarter stats show significant changes from a year ago. While we experienced a 5% decline in the use of videos, probably due to the ready availability of streaming sources, the use of e-books is up over 80% compared to last year. Even with a slight decline in overall checkouts, the number of people walking through our doors is up nearly 3% over 2011 year to date.
One of the biggest areas of growth has been in computer use. For the first three months of the year, we are up over 30% compared to last year. With the opening of our new Computer Center and Training Lab facilities, we are 37% higher at Main Library alone. We have also enjoyed a 30% increase in the number of adults registering for library cards and a 20% increase in youth under 18 years of age!
Our partnership with Connect Ohio allows us to offer free “Every Citizen Online” training classes. The goal is to reach every citizen to teach them how to connect and become experienced in an online environment. As an incentive, Connect Ohio has offered discounts on the purchase of refurbished computers and broadband access to those who complete the course.
Shaker Library continues to be involved in the fabric of its community. Our partnership with the League of Women Voters of Shaker Heights and the Flora Stone Mather Center for Women yielded yet another successful collaborative program on politics and how to find your voice, which was attended by more than 75 women and a few intrepid men.
The Shaker Heights High School Art Department has produced another wonderful art exhibit that demonstrates the breadth and depth of the high school art department, which is on display through May 11 on the Main Library second floor. The April 27 gallery-opening reception was student-run and hosted and we welcomed more than 250 visitors. Special thanks to the high school art department and its chairman, Dan Whitely, who worked many hours after school to showcase their students’ talents. The Library is pleased to play a role in their lifelong learning.
As part of the City Centennial’s Shaker Reads: One Community/One Book initiative, we will hold two book discussions on the book, Home Town by Tracy Kidder. Read the book and join in the discussion about what gives a place a sense of home at 10 AM Tuesday, May 8 at Main Library or 7 PM Tuesday, June 19 at Woods Branch. Friends of the Shaker Library purchased forty books for the community to borrow. If Shaker is your hometown, read Home Town and discuss it with your neighbors – at the Library!
Luren E. Dickinson, Director