Message to the community from Luren E. Dickinson
Seventy years ago the Golden Gate Bridge opened to vehicle traffic, Kraft invented its Macaroni & Cheese dinner, DuPont patented nylon, Disney released Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, J.R.R. Tolkien published The Hobbit, a gallon of gas cost 10˘ and the Shaker Heights Public Library was founded.
The Shaker Heights Public Library District was officially created in April 1937 and the newly appointed Library Board of Trustees met for the first time that month. Originally, the public library facilities that existed in Shaker Heights were housed in a variety of school buildings. One of the first things the new Board did in 1937 was to establish a “Housing Committee” to find a location for the new library. They chose a storefront at 3486 Lee Road near Kinsman (now Chagrin Boulevard).
Even before occupying the new quarters, the Board was in agreement “that the new library room should contain an informal reading corner, with open fireplace, and a homelike atmosphere.” The original library (now the Shaker Community Building) had a fireplace flanked by couches, tables with lamps, draperies at the long windows, and easy chairs evocative of a living room rather than an institution. These qualities are still prized today, even in modern library construction and they were more fully realized when the first Main Library facility was built at 3450 Lee Road and opened in 1951.
By the 1980s the Main Library was outgrowing its quarters and the library board cemented its commitment to the city by agreeing to renovate the Moreland School building relocating to its new larger site in 1993. Library usage has grown significantly since that time. A $1 million Bond Issue in 1996 enabled the library to continue its renovation to the second floor of the Main Library and to serve the community with a Computer Center, Teen Center, more meeting rooms and an art wall for the community’s use.
As we observe our 70th anniversary, we celebrate the service of retiring board members Dr. Emma Benning and Mimi Karon and welcome Dr. David Hutt and Judith Allen as new members of the Board. We have a proud history and a bright future.
As part of that history, we hosted the 8th Annual Barbara Luton Art Competition with the help of former library director Barbara Luton, who presided over the awards ceremony. Sue Koletsky, Director of the Temple Museum of Religious Art at Temple Tifereth Israel, was the juror for this year’s show. The 57 pieces of art are on display and available for sale through May 6.
We will welcome the community to help us envision our future at a public meeting at 7 p.m. on Thursday, April 12 at the Main Library. How appropriate that this year’s National Library Week (April 15 – 21) theme is, “Come Together at Your Library.”
Luren E. Dickinson,