'Friends' donates $100,000 to PEACE Park redesign

Nancy Levin (fifth from left), Heights Libraries director, with Heights Libraries and FOHL board members.

Friends of the Heights Libraries (FOHL) celebrated its 60th anniversary by presenting Heights Libraries’ Director Nancy Levin with a check for $100,000 on Oct. 23, at its 60th annual meeting.

The donation will be used to help redesign and redevelop Coventry PEACE Park and its playground (part of Coventry PEACE Campus, owned by Heights Libraries).Details about the plan can be found on the Heights Libraries website, heightslibrary.org.

Ketti Finneran, FOHL board president, said, “I am proud that our mighty group of volunteers has successfully raised significant funds through our used-book sales and members’ contributions. The libraries in Cleveland Heights and University Heights act as gathering places for the community. Helping to fund the refurbishment of the Coventry PEACE Park at the corner of Coventry Road and Euclid Heights Boulevard represents a huge opportunity to add to, and improve upon, a huge community asset.”

FOHL, a 501(c)3 organization, was established in 1962. Its mission is to help Heights Libraries enhance programming and develop special projects by raising money through used-book sales, membership dues, and gifts.

Also at the annual meeting, in addition to announcing its donation for the park's redevelopment, FOHL highlighted other projects that it helped fund during its 2021-22 fiscal year, totaling more than $42,000. They included:

  • $3,200 toward library staff support,
  • $7,635 toward the Noble Outreach and English for Speakers of Other Languages programs,
  • $4,000 to the Youth Service Garden, 
  • $4,000 to the Teen Tech Ambassador program,
  • $6,750 in college scholarship grants to library science students.

In addition, longtime FOHL members and library advocates John Janssen and the late Susan Janssen were honored at the annual meeting. They were recognized for their contributions of time, books, and financial donations. In their honor, Matriarch—a vibrant collage constructed of pages from books by local artist Gene Epstein—will be hung in the Harvey & Friends Bookshop on the second floor of Heights Libraries' Lee Road branch.

As is typical at an annual meeting of FOHL, a special guest speaker was part of the program. Local businesswoman Lynn Quintrell, the owner of Appletree Books, led a lively, interactive talk enlightening the attendees on “The Joys and Challenges of an ‘Independent’ Bookstore.” Quintrell has owned Appletree Books since 2014, when she purchased the business from former owner Jane Kessler.

FOHL is an all-volunteer citizen organization supporting interest in, appreciation of, and use of the Coventry Village, Lee Road, Noble Neighborhood, and University Heights branches of the Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library System.

Membership is open to anyone who has an interest in Heights Libraries. Volunteers are always welcome and needed. For information, send an e-mail to info@friendsheightslibraries.org.

FOHL's much-anticipated, twice-yearly Mega Book sales, featuring more than 10,000 books, CDs, DVDs and audio books) are held at the Lee Road Branch. The next sale will be held Dec. 1–4.

For more information, and to donate books, visit www.friendsheightslibraries.org.  

Rick Brown

Rick Brown is a lifelong resident of the Heights, the former owner/president of SEO firm NetTrack Marketing, and a FOHL member. He is currently producing the musical "8.1.81," based on the startup of the MTV network in 1981.

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Volume 15, Issue 12, Posted 2:03 PM, 11.30.2022