Cleveland Heights University Heights Library Board of Trustees meeting highlights 3-20-23

MARCH 20, 2023


  • Unpacking history programs
  • Board actions
  • Director’s report
  • DEI report
  • Public service report


Present were President Max Gerboc, Vice President Vikas Turakhia, Secretary Annette Iwamoto, Patti Carlyle, Dana Fluellen, and Melissa Soto-Schwartz. Ty McTigue was not present. The meeting lasted 90 minutes.

Unpacking history programs

John Piche, adult services librarian, provided an overview of the status of the “Unpacking History” program, formerly the 1619 Project. There have been over 40 interviews, since 2020, with lawyers, authors, and professors of academia discussing the content of the New York Times 1619 project. A Carnegie-Whitney American Library Association (ALA) Grant for $5,000 will fund organization of a new website dedicated to these interviews to allow for searchability of the collection on the Cleveland Heights/University Heights Library website.

Board actions

The board:

  • Authorized a contract with JMC Consultants to provide expert assistance in overseeing bidding and construction of the addition to the Noble Neighborhood Branch Library, renovation of the University Heights Branch basement, the Lee Road Youth Services room, and improvements to the PEACE Park.
  • Approved a memorandum of understanding among the libraries participating in the “Cuyahoga Reads” initiative funded by the Ohio Department of Education’s Libraries Accelerating Learning Grant for approximately $21,000 for each participating library.
  • Approved an agreement with Corrigan Movers to box and store all library materials from the Noble Neighborhood Branch during construction from April 2023 until June 2024.
  • Approved a contract for repairs at the University Heights Branch.
  • Approved a resolution opposing Ohio House Bill 1, which would cut local government funding.

Director’s report

The library will have an Ohio Means Jobs representative on site in the Levy Room on Wednesdays starting in April. A resource officer from the Centers for Families and Children will work out of the library on Fridays.

The library is sponsoring a movie at the Cleveland International Film Fest called “Aliens Abducted My Parents (and I feel kinda left out).”, showing once on March 24.

On May 21, a documentary about dementia, “Alive Inside,” will be screened at Dobama Theater as part of Dementia Friendly Week.

A new provider will boost the Internet speed in the library.

Communications has promoted new online job-search resources: JobNow and VetNow. Both are now accessible on the libraries’ website on the Job Search and Job Training Resources.

DEI report

The 2022 diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) progress report included the following: 

  • The collection services department continues to work at maintaining and increasing a diverse collection of materials. Twenty percent of the library collection covers diverse topics, more than the industry average. 
  • The library expanded recruitment resources to include sources where African American or Black professional candidates may visit to seek jobs, such as LinkedIn, Black Caucus of American Library Association, and the online news publication, Black News. The library also partnered with Youth Opportunities Unlimited (YOU) to provide an opportunity for youth to intern at the library over the summer.
  • The staff association co-chair is also a member of the DEI Committee in order to a have a direct connection between staff and DEI committee members.
  • The library established a budgetary process to support all specialty teams, including the diversity team, and purchased collection software to provide a monthly diversity audit of the collection.

Board Members Dana Fluellen and Melissa Soto-Schwartz offered suggestions for specific target groups and organizations to reach.

Public service report

Results from the 2022 annual public service report include: 

  • Total circulation (physical and e-media) in 2022 was 1,505,633.
  • Library cardholders totaled 44,960. 
  • Circulation staff created 3,795 new library cards. 
  • The passport acceptance service, relaunched in April 2022, completed 522 passport applications, 626 photos, and generated $32,372. 
  • Adult outreach staff delivered 1,100 items to Judson Park and Council Gardens. 
  • Homebound delivery staff sent out 1,416 items to 27 individuals, including seven new customers. 
  • The seed library service expanded to all four branches in 2022. 
  • Lee Road’s youth services department expanded homework help through partnerships with Cleveland State University and Case Western Reserve university, instructed Fifth graders in evaluating online sources and basic research skills, added a weekly art program, and expanded outreach to school sites with 21st century grant programs. In addition, a full time librarian was hired to introduce and expand services to meet the needs of tween visitors. 
  • Summer reading program registration included 1,318 children, 152 teen and 1,950 adults. 
  • The monthly Greater Cleveland Food Bank Mobile Pantry served 1,318 people and 596 households.

The next board meeting will be on April 17, 6:30 the Lee Road Library.

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 5, Posted 1:01 PM, 04.04.2023