Library board welcomes new members

Outgoing library board member Chris Mentrek dressed as the Mad Hatter for an Alice in Wonderland-themed children's program.

The Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library is pleased to announce the appointment of its newest board members, Patti Carlyle and Gabe Crenshaw, whose terms begin in January 2020.

Carlyle will serve a full seven-year term, replacing Chris Mentrek, whose term ends December 2019. Crenshaw will serve a two-year term, replacing outgoing board member Suzann Moskovitz, who is leaving after serving five years.

Carlyle, a University Heights resident for 14 years, is the director of content marketing at Brand Muscle, a Cleveland-based Internet marketing company. She also serves on the Fair Housing Board of University Heights, and has volunteered for a variety of CH-UH nonprofits over the years, including Canterbury Elementary School PTA, the Heights Music Hop, Lake Erie Ink, and FutureHeights, where she also served on the board.

"Years of local activism seem to have pointed me here and I'm so excited to join the Heights library board,” said Carlyle. “I'm looking forward to applying my knowledge of, and affection for, our community to optimize programs, keep the CH-UH school and library connection strong, and promote initiatives that support the social safety net."

Crenshaw, a Cleveland Heights resident for 15 years, is a college counselor with a bachelor’s in management from Case Western Reserve University and a master’s in higher education administration from the University of Akron. A former trustee of the nonprofit Seeds of Literacy, and current trustee of the Black Professionals Association, Crenshaw is also a member of the Roxboro Middle School PTA and the CH-UH City School District Family Engagement Task Force.

“The library is the beginning of literacy for many people, from a young child whose parent has checked out a book to read to them, to an adult who no longer wants to be functionally illiterate,” said Crenshaw. “I believe literacy is an essential tool that is necessary to be successful in life, and the library offers many resources and serves as an essential building block toward literacy.”

Crenshaw, who is African American, sees her addition to the board as a means to support inclusivity. “I will add another level of diversity to the library board,” she said. “It is important for organizations to have leadership that represents the community it serves.”

Mentrek, the outgoing library board president, served on the board from 2015 to 2019. His five-year tenure included the Heights Libraries’ acquisition of the Coventry P.E.A.C.E. Campus, the elimination of overdue fines, and the renovation of the University Heights branch.

“The end of my term is as good a time as any to reflect on the great work the library has done during my time on the board, but those accomplishments owe far more to the everyday deeds of ordinary folks than the grandstanding of any leadership,” said Mentrek. “I'm excited about the library's work in the next five years. We have a great group of trustees on the board, with two terrific additions coming aboard in 2020.”

In addition to serving on the library board, Mentrek was a frequent library volunteer, riding the book bike to community events, helping out with the Mobile Food Pantry’s produce distribution program, and even dressing up as the Mad Hatter for an Alice in Wonderland-themed children’s program.

“There's an all-too-prevalent local attitude that civic leadership is reserved only for the great and powerful,” Mentrek commented. “Volunteering with the library board is a tremendous opportunity for everyday citizens to help shape their hometown's future.”

James Roosa, who previously served as vice president of the library board and chair of its operations committee, succeeds Mentrek as board president.

Sheryl Banks

Sheryl Banks is the communications manager for the Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library System.

Read More on Library
Volume 13, Issue 1, Posted 10:10 AM, 01.03.2020