Library board member invites applicants to fill vacant seats
Rick Ortmeyer joined the Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library Board of Trustees in 2012. Ortmeyer is an architect, which doesn’t necessarily mean that he is a library expert, but he has actually been building libraries for more than 20 years.
“It’s been a great privilege to work with libraries and I’ve been able to really learn what libraries do for their communities,” said Ortmeyer. “In order to make a building that is best suited for its purpose, I need to know what happens in that building.”
The board is officially responsible for guiding library functions, and a big part of that is ensuring fiscal responsibility. “We talk a lot about how services are funded, where services are funded, including how long libraries are open, which days they’re open, and where we choose to spend our money in terms of collections,” he added.
There are seven trustees on the board, and each serves for seven years. Every year a new board member is elected as one member’s term ends. Ortmeyer explained that a strong board consists of diverse voices from all parts of the community.
The current board includes a schoolteacher, an attorney, a small-business owner, and a professor at Case Western Reserve University, among others. Due to the relocation of one board member, and the term limit for another, there are two open seats this year, and, said Ortmeyer, “We’d love to have more representation from University Heights.”
Although there are no requirements to join the board, besides living in Cleveland Heights or University Heights, a serious dedication to the library system is important. Ortmeyer views the CH-UH libraries as a vital extension of the education system in the community.
When it comes to early literacy, the library is the point of contact for children under the age of three—even before the school district has the opportunity to engage them.
For school-aged children and teens, the library serves as a place for learning that is separate from school. It is a place where they can go to explore their own interests at their own pace.
For adults, the library provides lifelong learning opportunities, employment help, and opportunities for social and civic engagement.
Interested in joining the Cleveland Heights-University Heights Board of Trustees? Applications are available at the Lee Road Library. The deadline for submitting applications is Thursday, Nov. 20, at noon. For more information, call 216-932-3600.
Julia Murphy is the marketing assistant for the Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library.