Library kicks off centennial celebration

Three generations of Heights Libraries directors: Steve Wood, Rachel Nelson and Nancy Levin.

Friends and neighbors of the Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library System gathered at the Coventry Village Library on May 1 for a kick-off celebration of the system's 100th birthday, with poems, a time capsule ceremony, poster competition winners, cupcakes and music. The event's keynote was a talk by local author Mary Doria Russell, who spoke to attendees of her “dark fall into book addiction,” and read an excerpt from Dreamers of the Day, her historical fiction novel, which begins, fittingly, with the creation of the Cleveland Heights Library, 100 years ago.

“The kick-off went really well, and it’s just the beginning,” said Sheryl Banks, the library’s marketing manager, who planned the celebration. “It’s great to get a chance to celebrate the library’s history, mostly as a thank you to our community for placing so much value in the work that the library does.”

Among the approximately 250 attendees were three generations of Heights Libraries directors, former board members, and retired custodial staff.

Three students won awards in the library’s centennial art competition: Zacharaya Lev Schulgasser, third-grader at Yeshiva Derech Hatorah School; Zelda Thayer-Hansen, seventh-grader at Monticello Middle School; and Linnea Covault, 11th-grader at Heights High. Poster prints of their artwork were included in the centennial time capsule, which was displayed at the event.

“We also got a really exciting late addition for our time capsule,” said Banks. “Former Heights resident Carolyn Charles contributed her library school thesis, written in 1975, about what we may see now as the dark days of the Coventry Library, when the library was condensed into the basement of the historic building.”

At the Centennial Kick-Off, Charles explained,“Those Coventry hippies are what really got the rest of the community invested [in] getting the library back where it should be, and the renewed presence dictated its increased use. It goes to show you how important the actual facility really is.”

Banks explained support for the library is visible in its circulation numbers and program attendance, and in the donations made in honor of the centennial to the “100 for 100” campaign sponsored by the Fund for the Future of Heights Libraries. “These donations were made specifically to help support our library far into the future,” said Banks. “We’re celebrating the first hundred years knowing that that the next hundred will have much more in store.”

Julia Murphy

Julia Murphy is the marketing and volunteer coordinator for the Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library System.

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Volume 9, Issue 6, Posted 10:01 AM, 05.17.2016