Heights Libraries celebrates 100 years in 2016

Cleveland Heights High School served as Heights Libraries' first home, in 1916. [photo courtesy Cleveland Historical]

Heights Libraries marks its centennial this year and, starting in March, will celebrate in ways both big and small.

In 1915, John Barden was elected to the board of education of what was then the Village of Cleveland Heights. Part of Barden’s election platform was a promise to start a public library for the village. In 1916, Barden headed a committee that selected the first members of the future public library board, which was established that same year. The fledging library didn’t have a building yet, so it was located in the high school.

When it was founded in 1916, the new library had one employee, librarian Helen Keeler, and fewer than 2,000 books.

Today, 100 years later, the Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library has roughly 160 employees in four buildings, and its collection has grown to more than 418,000 items, including books, CDs, DVDs, mp3s, eBooks, eReaders, and digital music and movies.

Beginning in March, library staff will sport new purple centennial lanyards, and all four libraries will be decorated with banners, inside and out.

Customers can trade in their current library cards for a limited-edition centennial card featuring the library’s centennial logo.

Local history fans can learn about the library’s past through an interactive timeline on the library’s website, www.heightslibrary.org, which will also feature the audio remembrances of former library staff and board members.

Heights Libraries will celebrate its Centennial Kick-Off on Sunday, May 1, starting at 2 p.m., at the historic Coventry Village Library, 1925 Coventry Road. Local author Mary Doria Russell will give a special talk, followed by a time capsule burial, birthday cake, live music and children’s activities. The event will be presented in partnership with the Friends of Heights Libraries and the Fund for the Future of Heights Libraries.

Centennial-related programming includes activities for kids: a centennial poster contest and Picture Book Madness, which gives kids the opportunity to vote for the best picture book of the past century.

The results of both contests will be included in the library’s time capsule.

Visit www.heightslibrary.org for information on all of Heights Libraries' centennial-related programs.

Sheryl Banks

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

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Volume 9, Issue 3, Posted 9:01 AM, 03.01.2016