Cleveland Heights University Heights Library Board of Trustees meeting highlights 1-23-23

JANUARY 23, 2023


  • Swearing in
  • Financial report
  • Board resolutions
  • Planning & external relations committee
  • Personnel report
  • Director’s report
  • Public service report


Present were President Max Gerboc, Vice President Vikas Turakhia, Secretary Annette Iwamoto, Patti Carlyle, Dana Fluellen, Tyler McTigue and Melissa Soto-Schwartz. The meeting lasted 80 minutes.

Swearing in

Mark Musson, Assistant Cuyahoga County Prosecutor, administered the oath of office to new board member Melissa Soto-Schwartz; new board officers President Max Gerboc, Vice President Vikas Turakhia, and Secretary Annette Iwamoto; also sworn in were Fiscal Officer Deborah Herrmann and Director Nancy Levin.

Financial report

Ms. Herrmann provided the board with a historical perspective of revenue and expenditures, comparing pre-pandemic with post-pandemic years. While expenditures have increased with a full complement of staff post pandemic, interest rates (4.58 percent) have been favorable for the library. Cash balance on hand at the end of December, 2022 was $21,181,946.26.

Board actions

The board:

  • Adopted the 2023 planning calendar. Regular board meetings are held the third Monday of each month.
  • Accepted donations made in 2022 to the general and memorial funds.
  • Approved 2022 encumbrances, purchase orders made before the end of the year.
  • Approved replacing a flat roof on the north side of Noble Branch Library.
  • Approved additional pay for library managers who assumed interim roles in addition to their regular job responsibilities, while the adult services manager position was vacant at the Lee Road Branch Library.

Planning & external relations committee

Noble Branch Library construction. The library is able to fund all of the Noble Branch Library expansion with its $10 million construction fund. A recent zoning meeting for the plans was successful. Ground-breaking is expected in May.

Coventry PEACE building. Negotiations with occupants are nearly completed with just a few items remaining. The library has agreed to begin rental leases with Cresco property manager in January 2023 rather than December 2022. Both sides have reached an agreement on the amount of time for announcing increases in operating expenses. With Cresco managing the property, making repairs, and dealing with tenants, the library board members stated they will be able to return to their primary focus, the library. 

Personnel report

The open part-time technology assistant position was filled. Interviews are underway for two remaining positions in the Lee Road Branch Library adult services department. A continuing education manager position was recently advertised, with a new focus on management of the HKIC (Heights Knowledge and Information Center) and development of public training and programs for all age groups. 

Director’s report

Heights Libraries has joined the MYCom network in Cleveland to serve teens. MyCom Network works to elevate youth access to caring adults and quality programs throughout the community to provide skills needed to become successful adultsThe network provides grants for teen programs and professional development opportunities for people who work with teens. Sam Lapides, youth services manager at Lee Road, is the point person for this partnership.

Disciples of Christ Church has agreed to locate children’s programming in their building on Mayfield Road while the Noble Neighborhood Library is under construction.

Library Director Nancy Levin announced the resignation of FRIENDS of the Library President Ketti Finneran. She will be replaced by Interim President Roji Rao and Kathy Frederick will become vice president. Ms. Levin expressed gratitude to Ketti Finneran for her more than five years of leadership.

Fundraising is now halfway to the goal of 1.2 million dollars for Coventry PEACE Park renovations. The Fund for the Future of Heights Libraries (FFHL) voted to engage Earthscape company of Ontario, Canada to refine the design of the playground and provide a quote for the equipment. 

Jamie Mason has become director of CLEVNET. This position is responsible for the strategic direction of CLEVNET as well as its day-to-day management including the integrated library system [ILS], eMedia, and library databases. Nancy Levin recognized Larry Levin, CLEVENET Director of IT who is retiring in March, for his significant role in the growth of CLEVENET over the past 35 years.

Noble staff and Diana Hildebrand from Bike Cleveland are collaborating on a grant proposal to support an expanded youth bike safety and literacy program. 

Planning is underway for the STEAM literacy experiences funded by the Libraries Accelerating Learning grant from the Ohio Department of Education. These programs will coincide with this year's summer reading program.

Heights Libraries is collaborating with Euclid Public Library and other partner libraries and organizations to increase the knowledge of literacy resources and programs through the Smart Restart program funded by a Libraries Accelerating Learning grant.

The HKIC staff is hosting Interplay Learning information sessions. The first round of customers who signed up for the software will receive access on Monday, January 23.

Public Service

Adult Services Associate Luke Neubecker created a Matchmaker Review Booklet, containing each Matchmaker’s favorite book reviews from 2022.

The library executed 60 passport applications and 78 photos. Total income for processing passports for the month was $3,270.

The HKIC welcomed its first social robot to the library family. “Misty” is equipped with a unique set of physical and social skills, designed, according to producer Misty Robotics, for the purpose of “opening access to social robots and taking down today’s barriers.”

Coventry Branch Library adult services staff member Ben Gulyas arranged with local journalist David Budin to offer a program on the history of the Coventry neighborhood. Eighty-four people showed up to enjoy Mr. Budin’s presentation and offer some of their own remembrances.

Take and Make kits continue to be extremely popular at the University Heights Branch Library. In December, 143 people took part in one of nine different kits for a wide variety of ages.

Circulation in 2022 was 1.5 million items.

The next board meeting will be Feb. 20, 2023, 6:30 p.m. at the Lee Road Library.

LWV Observers: Elizabeth Tracy and Judith Beelers

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

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Volume 16, Issue 3, Posted 8:54 AM, 02.10.2023