Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library Board of Trustees meeting highlights 6-19-2017

JUNE 19, 2017

  • Wendy Gernsheimer retires
  • University Heights Branch adds new staff
  • Public forums on topical issues
  • Signage for University Heights Library
  • Book Bike and children’s books
  • Friends receives large cookbook collection.
  • FFHL to feature Thrity Umrigar
  • Cuyahoga County community read
  • May public service report highlights

Present were Board President Ron Holland, Secretary Chris Mentrek, James Roosa, Suzann Moskowitz and Max Gerboc. Vice President Abby Botnick and Susan Beatty were absent.

Wendy Gernsheimer retires

Human Resources Coordinator Laurie Marotta gave a heartfelt farewell to Wendy Gernsheimer, who was hired in 1995 as a library page. In 1997, she was promoted to library monitor, first working with second-floor customers and periodicals, then providing technical assistance with the library’s first computers. (Monitors also provided support to teens with the Teen Spot afternoon program. Eventually the job title was changed to technology assistant to better reflect the current duties.) Gernsheimer served for many years on the Staff Day Committee, and served on the Executive Council of the Staff Association. She will retire on June 30.

University Heights Branch adds new staff

Hannah Van Jura and Greg Osborn will be full-time staff when the branch opens after renovations. Van Jura, who will be the youth services librarian, has been with the library system since October 2013. She has a Bachelor of Music degree from The Ohio State University, and is finishing her work for a Master of Library and Information Science. She has been able to apply her creativity to programming.

Osborn will be the adult services librarian, and has been employed by the Cuyahoga County Public Library System. He has worked as a graphic designer and has a Bachelor of Science in biology from Lake Superior State University, an Associate of Applied Business in visual communication and design from Cuyahoga Community College, and a Master of Library and Information Science from Kent State University.

Public forums on topical issues

A partnership with the League of Women Voters will bring forums to the county’s east side. Steven Litt, Plain Dealer/ reporter, covered the forum on East Side Development – Prospects for Reinvention.

Signage for University Heights Library

A representative of Signets Incorporated displayed slides of both interior and exterior signage for the renovated branch. Signets will also construct a compass rose in the ceiling of the children’s room. The board approved the signage.

Book Bike and children’s books 

The library has a new partnership with Cleveland Books for Kids, a source for used children’s books, and has re-established a relationship with Half-Price Books to also supply used children’s books. These sources ensure that the Book Bike will have enough quality children’s books to distribute free at community and school events.

Friends receives large cookbook collection

Friends of Heights Libraries President Linda Lopez reported that, through a contact of Board Member Max Gerboc, the Friends received 1,800 cookbooks. Three boxes were donated to Edwin’s Restaurant on Shaker Square, and the others will be available through the Harvey and FRIENDS Bookshop on the second floor of the library.

FFHL to feature Thrity Umrigar

The Fund for the Future of Heights Libraries (FFHL) has organized a book launch party for Everybody’s Son by local author Thrity Umrigar. It will be held on July 14 at The Wine Spot, and a book is included in the price of a ticket.

Cuyahoga County community read

All libraries in Cuyahoga County will participate in making available Matthew Desmond’s book Eviction. At the initial meeting at the City Club on June 6, participants talked about possible discussion groups, a teen poetry slam, and discussions with housing authorities.

May public service report highlights:

  • An ongoing English as a Second Language Conversation Club was established, which will meet the third Wednesday [of each month].
  • A mobile hotspot program was launched on May 22, allowing customers 18 years and older to “check-out the internet” by borrowing one of the kits. As of May 25, all had been checked out. Lee Road Library will have 10, Coventry Village and Noble Neighborhood libraries will have five each.
  • Also launched on May 22 is the Reserve a Tech Expert program, which replaces the Individual Computer Tutorials. Customers can now pick the location and time of day to meet with a tech trainer, one-on-one, for 30 minutes.
  • At Coventry Village Library, local author Thrity Umrigar shared her experiences in creating her first children’s book, When I Carried You in My Belly. The illustrator is Ziyue Chen.
  • Noble Neighborhood Library participated in the We Are Noble weekend celebration sponsored by Noble Neighbors. Librarian Constance Dickerson took the Book Bike to talk to families about summer reading and to give away books. Children painted murals to decorate the library’s fence. The community potluck featured All-American and Nepali dishes.
  • The summer reading program is “Dream, Build, Share!” The youth services division staff built up support by visiting schools to talk about the program.
  • Youth Services Associate Chris Fries once again organized the annual Free Comic Book Day. This year, 115 parents and children came for a comic book and to participate in related activities. Youth Services Librarian Jessica Robinson also presented Free Comic Book Day for teens.

LWV Observer: Anne S. McFarland.

To receive regular email postings of full reports, send an email to or join through Google groups using “lwv-chuh observer reports” as a search phrase.

These reports contain member observation and selected highlights of public meetings and are not official statements of the Heights Chapter of the League of Women Voters of Greater Cleveland. This disclaimer must accompany any redistribution of these reports.

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