Special projects manager focuses on community and library needs
Beth Hatch has been working as the special projects manager for the Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library System for only three months, but has hit the ground running.
“I often get asked what a special projects manager is by coworkers and colleagues in the profession. When I tell them my title they say, ‘Great! But what do you actually do?’ ” said Hatch.
Hatch is a librarian, but her focus is to take on the larger-scale projects that the library wants to implement, that staff on the floor doing reference, circulation or administration don’t have time to manage.
“I collaborate with people in all departments to come up with new ideas, get the right people behind them, and figure out where the money comes from, whether it's from grants or within the library budget,” Hatch explained.
One special project she’s taken on is the library’s On the Same Page initiative. This is a communitywide read, meaning the library encourages people across the community to pick up the same book and come together to discuss the book’s issues and themes through a variety of library programs.
Last year’s book was The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie, a contemporary young adult book about a boy growing up on a reservation. The library held a screening of the film “Smoke Signals” (based on the book), and held book discussions and programs on Native American life and exploring diversity through the perspective of age.
For the next On the Same Page program, for fall 2016, the library sought community feedback on what book to read. Library staff and librarians from the CH-UH schools selected five books: a few young adult novels, nonfiction, and a book of poetry, and opened up voting to the community. The book chosen is Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson.
Woodson’s book is a memoir written in free verse about her childhood as an African American growing up during the Civil Rights movement. “Many libraries categorize it as children’s or middle-reader, but it really transcends that. Woodson is able to address complex themes and sentiments through a child’s voice. It’s a great choice for On the Same Page,” said Hatch.
Hatch is leading a local and library history committee, and has successfully applied for a grant from the American Library Association (ALA). She recently announced that, in 2017, the library will host ALA’s STARnet Discover Space: Exploring our Solar System and Beyond exhibit.
Julia Murphy is the marketing and volunteer coordinator for the Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library.