Daily Question

Question for Tuesday, January 21st, 2014: Previous Next

The CH-UH Public Library Board recently closed the Coventry Village Library on Fridays to enable the University Heights Library to be open on Sundays. Do you agree with this decision? What suggestions do you have for the library to save money, other than reducing hours?

No, this is a very bad decision. Outrageous!
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I'm always happy to see authentic civic engagement.

It saddens me, though, when those engaged only do so regarding "their" library, or "their" elementary school.

Where were the online petitions when the Dension Pool was demolished?
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The board no doubt considered the patron foot traffic and acted accordingly. As for other cost saving measures, the board should continue to pursue online access to the library's resources, encourage the cost sharing of computer access with other government bodies (school system-municipality), promote greater digitalization of books, cd's, dvd's, etc.; outsource information requests where at all possible and cost effective. The building and infrastructure should be phased out just as is happening with retailing, etc.
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One of the main justifications for the existence of the CH-UH system as a separate entity in our balkanized county and region is the ability of small neighborhood branches to serve people where they are.
I am in favor of increasing services at branches, but I think it is a major mistake to cut services at one branch in order to increase them at another.
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Perhaps staff at the Main Lee Road branch could be cut. I would hate to see any person lose their job, but when I visit the main library there always seems to be an abundance of personnel on the main floor, many of whom don't seems to be needed with the computer checkout system. Could this be explored? Closing Coventry Library on Friday is a mistake.
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It seems grossly unfair to close a day at Coventry to open an extra day University Heights. Why can't University Heights patrons do one day what Coventry patrons are now forced to do two days-use the Lee Road branch? Has anyone considered that the circulation at Coventry including books being put on reserve there, is already negatively impacted by the library being closed on Sundays? How about looking at staffing cuts to reduce operating cost: each time I am at the Lee Road library, I see staff members talking in groups of 2 and 3-usually indicated not having enough to do. It is okay to have to wait for assistance at the library. Aside from my being offended by this decision as a Coventry neighborhood resident, I don't find it is logical. It would be very interesting to learn the voting history of both communities in historical support of library funding.
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Be open every day but perhaps shorter hours on the other days so you can stay open on Fridays. Stay open only until 7:00 pm on late days.
I know there is a creative way for Coventry to stay open on Fridays.
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It is insanely wasteful to maintain a SEPARATE library system for ONE small suburb...very few suburbs do this. It costs each CHUH household over $200 for our libraries here; the rest of the county pays $60!!!! So we pay 3.5 times as much, for a library system that many of us feel is inferior. The county library serves EVERYONE; it is the No.1 or No.2 public library in the nation.

Senseless duplication of books and services serves no one -- and most CHUH residents do not realize they pay an extra $140 a year, on top of our already egregious taxes (*the highest in the state!) just to have this.
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I don't see the logic of improving branch hours by suggesting CHUH be made part of the county system. If the county library system did take over, the first thing they would do is close the three smaller branches.

Yes, the county system is one of the top libraries in the country for its service area. But so is CHUH, according to those same surveys. Having lived in a city "served" by the county system for many years, it is obvious to me that CHUH gives much better service.

That being said, I would hate to see Coventry closed on Fridays. I don't live in the neighborhood, but anything that closes a library, even for a day, is not a good idea in my book.
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I like the coziness of Coventry Library.This particular branch has a certain quietness which you don't find in other branches.It is such a wonderful place for peace and quiet especially during school hours.Wish it were open Fridays
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I'm a resident of the Coventry neighborhood and I don't like the idea of my library being closed on Fridays. I go to that library a couple times a month, often on Friday and I would believe that Fridays are less busy there than other days. One article I read called this an effort to satisfy University Hts. residents asking for Sunday hours without costing the library more money. I wonder if we would have been happier if Coventry stayed open on Fridays and the library asked for more money to open University Heights on Sunday. I also wonder how often those expressing outrage have been to the library in the last year.

Let's get to the heart of the matter and ask the question we really want answered: Is this the first step in closing the Coventry branch? This neighborhood is still angry about losing our elementary school and we don't want to lose our library too. We all know the school board bungled the school decision. Let's hope the library board isn't so stupid.
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From what I've seen the staff at the libraries seem to be very busy with customers most of the time, and I think it would be a mistake to cut staff at Lee Road. I honestly don't understand though why it's necessary to have four libraries in a small city. This costs us a lot in tax money, just like our faulty school system. We need to consider more tax effective measures. The County library system definitely wouldn't be maintaining 4 separate branches all within a few short miles of each other. The soaring tax costs in CHUH are pricing out all but the very wealthy and the section 8'ers. Realistic solutions need to be found so that the average family can continue to live in the city. The provincial attitude of each tiny little community needing to have their own branch/school/etc is desperately hurting our city and our state. When are we going to let go of the hysterical cry of home rule and move on to more practical solutions?
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Tone of the question sets up an antagonist view between residents of CH and UH. Obviously the comments bring in the schools and the Coventry school closing. I feel like the question is baiting.

Do we want to start a discussion about separating the cities with regards to schools and libraries? That could be an interesting discussion because my guess is the cities would part ways with each other in a heartbeat if the schools didn't need the UH $$. There is so much animosity in almost every conversation anyone has..and I say this as a recent entrant to the community. I have no personal knowledge or feelings about the past. But this negative feeling between the two communities with regard to the schools and libraries already makes me want to move out of the CHUH area.
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I do not agree with this decision. The process used was not clear and was made without citizen input. I would rather see the UH library close Saturdays and open on Sunday, or possibly do 4 hrs each day. Could some money come from the advertising budget? Why is our library paying for radio advertising? Is there a way to reduce staff hours without closing libraries? I think that Coventry caters to a large group of people who do not own Cars and there is no direct bus route to the Lee Library.
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There are many issues that CH-UH library system. However, that being said if you were to add Shaker Heights and CH-UH into the county system one of the large branches along Lee Road would have to close. They are too close to each other. Also, people forget that in CH-UH a lot of people walk to the library and a lot of people do not have a car. The county system is based on everyone owning a car in the suburbs. Many people in South Euclid-Lyndhurst do not use there library because it is too far and they don't have a car. However, that library is about to close and move to another location. Some radio ads are free for public libraries to use. Some advertisements are also paid for by grants. Just like the fact that public libraries in Ohio receive free cable.
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If you want to decrease the taxes in CH-UH the library is a very small part. The library is not the problem. How about cutting the 2 ex-superintendents that we pay to not work? How about if you are a superintendent and you are asked to step down that there is no compensation. You are just fired. How about cutting 50% of the administrators in the CH-UH school system that aren't needed? That would be a great place to start. How about not paying any teacher over $70,000? That would be a beginning.
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I do not agree with this decision. It pits two communities against each other --something that we do not need in this contentious era. The decision seems to be based upon circulation data; because Coventry is the smallest branch, it is likely to have the smallest circulation. It would be interesting to know per capita circulation data,ratings for staff effectiveness, relative needs of the residents in the respective service areas, proportion of patrons who walk to the libraries etc. There is also the very important question of the library's place in the fabric of the local community. The Coventry branch is a key community anchor, particularly in light of the elementary school closing. It is disappointing that the board did not seek community input both with respect to closing Coventry on Friday's and ideas for saving money across all branches. This was not a transparent process, a sad commentary on the extent to which the library's mission and values are followed in practice.
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