Heights Libraries welcome new board members

Abby Botnick

The Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library is pleased to announce the appointment of two new board members, Abby Botnick and Richard Louis Ortmeyer. Their terms begin in January.

They replace two outgoing board members: Audrey Cole, board president, who retired at the end of 2011 after a seven-year term; and Jason Stein, who resigned in June, after two years of a seven-year term, to serve on Cleveland Heights City Council. Botnick's term will be seven years, Ortmeyer’s will be five.

Abby Botnick, a University Heights resident for seven years, is an attorney with the Cleveland law firm Shapero & Roloff, and is also an associate board member of the Anti-Defamation League: Ohio, Kentucky and Allegheny Region. She brings many years of legal and advocacy experience to her board position, in addition to her love for libraries. “Public libraries are an invaluable asset to any community, and serve so many important interests,” she said. “Heights Libraries provide literacy and culture, and resources, such as educational classes that enrich the public and assist people who might otherwise not have access to these things.” As the mother of young children, Botnick feels strongly about literacy, and believes libraries provide a crucial service by bridging the gap between “the skills that children learn at school and the encouragement they receive at home.”

Louis Ortmeyer, a Cleveland Heights resident for nine years, is a principal at the architecture firm Bostwick Design Partnership in Cleveland, where he has worked on several local library projects, including the Cleveland Public Library’s Rice branch and the Cuyahoga County Public Library’s Gates Mills branch. With more than two decades as an architect, Ortmeyer has had the opportunity to work on more than 40 library projects in nine states, experience that he hopes to put to use on the CH-UH library board.

“Those projects taught me to be a skilled communicator, as they required discussions across all organizational levels, from one-on-one with staff to board presentation to large community forums,” he said. “I’ve developed a deep appreciation for the challenges, opportunities and responsibilities inherent in library projects in particular, but also any institution supported through public funding.” Ortmeyer has also been a member of the Friends of the Heights Libraries, a nonprofit group dedicated to supporting the libraries through fundraising and advocacy.

The new members were selected by the CH-UH Board of Education at its Dec. 6 meeting. Ohio law requires that the local school board be the tax authority for a community’s public library, so library trustees are, therefore, chosen by the school board.

Sheryl Banks

Sheryl Banks is the marketing and community relations manager for the Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library.

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Volume 5, Issue 1, Posted 12:51 PM, 12.13.2011