Cleveland Heights University Heights Library Board of Trustees meeting highlights

FEBRUARY 20, 2023

Board members present were President Max Gerboc, Vice President Vikas Turakhia, Secretary Annette Iwamoto, Dana Fluellen, Tyler McTigue, and Melissa Soto-Schwartz. Patti Carlyle was not present. 

Strategic projects update

Kaela Sweeney, strategic projects manager, presented a strategic project update to the board. Coventry PEACE Park fundraising has raised $609,945 to date, toward the final goal of $1.2 million. Work with the Hodge Group has been a good collaboration, yielding more than 70 prospects and 32 secured gifts. Currently, there is $59,202 in funded grants and projects. Two grants have been submitted since 2023 began: one for an expanded partnership with Bike Cleveland, and another to support memory cafés.

Financial report

Deborah Herrmann, fiscal officer, pointed out that, if passed, Ohio HB1 would reduce the amount of state money for local communities. The library could lose $793,000. Cash balance on hand at the end of January 2023 was $21,006,289.70.

Board actions

The board:

  • Authorized an agreement with Bostwick Design Partnership for redesign of the Lee Road Branch children’s room.
  • Approved the purchase of a programmable digital meeting room notification system for Lee Road Branch meeting rooms.
  • Approved an after-the-fact purchase order for furniture as part of the Coventry Village Branch renovations.
  • Approved a contract to install two new cleanout drains to prevent future flooding at the University Heights Branch.
  • Declared an urgent necessity to repair the lower level of the University Heights Branch. The library’s insurance has made a $135,000 payment for repairs and replacements. A general contractor will be hired to make the repairs within that budget. Dana Fluellen asked if the requirement to consider minority firms still holds, even though a request for proposal will not be used. Library Director Nancy Levin replied that the requirement remained. 
  • Approved a new maintenance agreement for the Coventry Village Branch HVAC.
  • Approved a memorandum of understanding between the Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library System and Disciples Christian Church for the temporary use of space for children’s programming while the Noble Neighborhood Branch is closed for renovations.

Year-end personnel report

There were 32 positions filled in 2022, compared to 46 in 2021. Turnover decreased from 24.43 percent in 2021 to 11.68 percent in 2022. Four employees were promoted. A new assistant facilities manager job was created, into which Leroy Hamby, maintenance technician, was promoted. Staff received a 2-percent wage or lump sum increase. Medical, dental and eye care benefits continued, with slight changes in employee contributions. Eight human resources policies were reviewed and updated. 

Sick leave used in 2022 was the highest since that data has been tracked, primarily due to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's mandated isolation after COVID exposure (a policy which has since changed). 

The Annual Staff Development Day in 2022 was a success, with 121 employees attending. Staff also sought numerous education programs to further develop a job competency or meet a learning goal. The diversity, equity and inclusion report will be presented next month.

Director’s report

Director Levin will present to Cleveland Heights City Council [an update on] Noble Neighborhood Branch renovations, Coventry PEACE Park funding, traffic calming at the Lee Road and Noble Neighborhood Branches, and the strategic plan for 2023–25.

All tenants have signed leases at the Coventry PEACE building. 

Staff evaluations will be completed in mid-March. 

A new hire for continuing education manager is anticipated. 

Public service report

Heather Howiler, formally the library system’s continuing education manager, started as adult services manager on Jan. 9.

Unpacking Our History and the 1619 Project discussions and programs continue to be popular with the community.

In January, 117 passport applications were executed. Total income from passport services for the month was $7,283.05.

The African American Read In was attended by 50 people of all ages. "Celebrity" readers included Cleveland Heights Mayor Kahlil Seren, CH Council Member Gail Larson, civic leader Barbara Danforth, and Noble School Community Learning Center Organizer Kristiaun Copez Minor. Seven children, in grades two through eight, also read.

Librarians E Hogan and Angela Clock returned to Fairfax Elementary School for the second book club meeting—a "smashing" success with 76 participants.

Associate Felicia Muhammad organized a blanket-making craft [project] for a group of Roxboro middle-schoolers from the Roxboro Connect program. 

Tech trainers conducted in-house and public orientation meetings featuring the SkillMill catalogue and virtual reality demonstrations.

The continuing education department began monthly Ask a Tech Expert branch visits.

LWV Observers: Elizabeth Tracy and Judith Beeler.

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

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Volume 16, Issue 4, Posted 10:00 AM, 04.02.2023