Coventry Library vital part of Coventry Village

To the Editor:

Though it offers a different kind of activity from the bustling eateries, taverns and shops just down the street, Coventry Village Library—a branch of the Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library system—is very much a part of the Coventry Village neighborhood. In fact, with its dignified English Medieval Vernacular (according to the library website) architectural style, and its noncommercial land use, the library helps ease the transition from Coventry’s mercantile strip to the residential areas down Washington Boulevard.

The library website indicates the Coventry branch was built in 1926 and, from then until 1968, served as the CH-UH Library’s main branch. From 1974 to 1980 the building was owned by the Fairmount Center for Creative and Performing Arts. It was declared a Cleveland Heights Landmark in 1980, and shortly after that was repurchased by the library board.

On a recent Saturday around 11 a.m., nearly all of the public Internet-connected terminals were in use. Two young girls enjoyed a pre-digital activity—playing with magnetic alphabet letters in the children’s area—and by the time I left around noon, a younger boy had joined them in playing harmoniously and animatedly with the letters. A late-middle-aged man told me that he comes to the branch “about once a week,” mainly “to take advantage of the Wi-Fi”, though I noticed that he also read a printed Plain Dealer while I was there. Throughout the hour, there was a steady stream of people picking up or dropping off reserved books, DVDs and other media forms, and many of them also stopped to browse the shelves.

At the Friends of the Heights Libraries 50th anniversary celebration on Oct. 21, CH-UH Library Director Nancy Levin stated that the library was starting a foundation to raise money for capital projects, and that one of the first priorities of this effort would be a renovation of Coventry Village Library. Levin later explained that renovations would focus first on needs that have to do the soundness of the building and on energy efficiency, and “secondarily . . . on beauty and usability” of the building. Levin emphasized that “the funds for these repairs in 2013 are coming from the Library Building and Repair Fund, not the foundation,” which has not yet begun to raise money. She added, ”I hope we will get that underway in 2013 as well.”

Anyone who would like to learn more about anticipated renovations to the Coventry Village Library or the new Fund for the Future of Heights Libraries, or to make a donation to the fund, is invited to contact Nancy Levin at 216-932-3600 x240 or

Mike McGraw

Mike McGraw
Cleveland Heights resident, and member of Friends of the Heights Libraries

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Volume 6, Issue 1, Posted 7:09 PM, 01.02.2013