Cleveland Heights – University Heights Public Library Board of Trustees meeting highlights 3-21-22

MARCH 21, 2022


  • Public comments
  • Financial and investment report
  • Board resolutions highlights
  • Personnel report
  • Director’s report highlights
  • Public service report highlights


Present were President Gabe Crenshaw, Vice President Max Gerboc, Patti Carlyle, Dana Fluellen, Annette Iwamoto, Tyler McTigue, and Vikas Turakhia.

Public comments

Shannon Morris, from Artful, a tenant at the Coventry PEACE building, spoke to the board.

Financial and investment report

Total cash balance across the operating accounts, Bauer Fund accounts, and investment accounts was $23,590,251.33. The recent rise in interest rates has helped the library financially. Deborah Herrmann, finance manager, received an award of financial reporting achievement from the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada.

Board resolutions highlights

The board approved security updates (additional security cameras and door access controls) for the Coventry Village branch, repair of the chiller water coil for the HKIC (Heights Knowledge and Information Center), and additional funds for removal of asbestos found during the renovation at the Coventry Village branch.

The board authorized the library director and finance manager to negotiate a contract with Playhouse Square Management/Cresco Real Estate for property management of the Coventry PEACE Campus building at 2843 Washington Boulevard.

The board approved hiring Bostwick Design as architect for the Noble branch renovations and addition. 

Personnel report

Laurie Marotta presented the year-end personnel report for 2021. Forty-six vacancies resulting from the pandemic were filled in 2021. As part of the library’s diversity, equity and inclusion focus, job advertising sources were expanded. Turnover in 2021 was 24.43 percent compared to 17.69 percent in 2020. A collection services department was created to centralize the material selection process. In January of 2021, staff received a three percent wage or lump sum increase. Significant raises were made to pay ranges. In response to COVID and the expiration of the mandated federal Paid Pandemic Leave Policies, the library created temporary policies to support working families when schools and daycares were closed. Juneteenth was added as an additional library holiday and coverage has been extended to part-time staff for all library holidays.

Director’s report highlights

FAQs with answers to questions about the PEACE campus were posted on the library website.

Librarian John Piche moderated a Heights Conversations Forum on March 10 on the Intersectionality of Intersections, highlighting a book by Clevelander Angie Schmitt on the epidemic of pedestrian deaths in the U.S. since 2009. Cleveland Heights just became a “Vision Zero Community,” meaning they are aiming for zero traffic deaths. This program was cosponsored by Heights Community Congress, FutureHeights, Reaching Heights, the Library, the school district, and the City of Cleveland Heights. The library director served on the organizing committee and stated that this type of activity is “just the space the library should be in--building bridges and diversity.”

Summer feeding strategies for children are being reviewed to see if any changes are needed to the Foodbank Pantry now that COVID infection rates are easing. The Summer Reading theme is “Growing to new heights!”

HB 327 to stop teaching or sharing of "divisive topics" by political subdivisions and schools in Ohio may move out of committee. The library director urged all to call or write Senate Speaker Robert Cupp to stop this legislation on the grounds that it is censorship.

Senate Bill 215 which allows Ohioans over the age of 21 to carry a concealed handgun without a permit, does not make any changes to the current restrictions relative to public libraries and other governmental facilities. Thus, it remains the case that the default under the law (ORC 2923.126(B(7)) is that any firearms, including concealed carry, are prohibited inside library buildings and that any library wishing to prohibit firearms on its premises should post signage consistent with the requirements of ORC 2923.1212. 

Public service report highlights

Kim DeNero-Ackroyd presented the 2021 annual public service report. Circulation, both physical and downloadable, totaled 1,393,277, still down from pre-pandemic levels. Circulation staff created 3,551 new library cards, including 910 online/e-media accounts. Heights Library is now 100 percent fine free. The library introduced tablets and Memory Kits to its collection.

Adult outreach staff delivered 907 items to Judson Park and Council Gardens. Homebound delivery staff sent out 1451 items.

The Local History Room opened in October. The new room, located on the Lee Road building’s second floor, contains the library’s local history reference book collection, City Directories, Heights High yearbooks and alumni directories, Sun Press and Cleveland Press microfilm, and local history lectures and city council meetings on DVD.

Youth Services Associate Erika Hogan registered the Children’s Garden at Lee Road as a certified habitat with the National Wildlife Federation and a pollinator garden.

Youth Services opened up the Teen Quiet Study Room in November for teens to reserve. The updated room now has sound dampening panels, a cell phone charging station, and bean bag chairs.

The Automatic Materials Handler, installed in the Lee Road Circulation Dept., can handle 2,500 items a day.

In November, the Matchmakers introduced the online service “Match Me Up”, in which they customized reading requests. In seven weeks of service, they filled 30 requests and received 10 customer compliments.

Associate Shannon Cooch introduced a fun and interactive element to the Lee Road Early Literacy Space: a realistic USPS mailbox, created by Graphic Designer Victor Cimperman. Families have enjoyed “mailing “letters. 

The next regular meeting will be Monday, April 18, 6:30 p.m. at the Lee Road library.

LWV Observer: Elizabeth M. Tracy. 

Information about the board, board meeting minutes and audio recordings of board meetings can be found at

Read More on Library
Volume 15, Issue 5, Posted 2:43 PM, 04.18.2022