LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS/Cleveland Heights University Heights Library Board of Trustees meeting highlights

JUNE 26, 2023

  • Summer reading program
  • Noble library building
  • Board actions
  • Director’s report
  • Public service report

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

Summer reading program

Nearly 300 people attended the summer reading kickoff program. Youth Services Manager Sam Lapides and Adult Services Librarian Jen Mihalik shared positive feedback about the summer reading program, which runs from June 1 to August 11. The youth program requires that participants read, or are read to, for 20-30 minutes each day. Youth sign-ups number 1,100. The adult program offers an opportunity to enter a raffle with each book read. To date, there have been 689 entries. Details for these programs can be found on the website https://heightslibrary.org

Noble library building

The interior demolition has progressed well. Steam piping is underway. Digging the trench for underground wiring has begun. Budget remains as expected except for a recent significant increase for Cleveland Heights city permits.

Board actions

The board:

  • Authorized a contract with Preferred LLC for painting exterior metal items at the Lee Road branch and HKICC buildings.
  • Approved a purchase order to Cresco Real Estate to advance cash for repairs with the expectation that the library will be reimbursed in the future.
  • Approved a contract with Findley Landscaping to improve the grounds around the Lee Road Branch and the HKIC and to relaunch the children’s garden at the Lee Road Branch.
  • Approved the lease with People’s Choice Payee Services at the Coventry Peace Building. This is a nonprofit organization that empowers people with resources they need to thrive and to live the lives they envision in their communities of choice.
  • Approved a Procurement Diversity Policy.
  • Approved 2023-2024 employee medical and prescription coverage with CIGNA. Employees will continue to share the costs. The plan provides three plan design options and four coverage levels for eligible employees.
  • Approved an additional 35 cents per hour additional pay to those certified as Passport Application Agents.
  • Approved an increase in base salaries for 2023 (two to five percent based on market ranges) for all active employees effective June 25. This includes a step pay increase for pages starting at $15 per hour and a $1,500 lump sum payment to librarians with page supervisor responsibility.
  • Approved the elimination of page PTO (paid time off) policy to be replaced with ETO (earned time off) and sick policy. Current PTO earnings would go into the new ETO bank and/or sick leave banks.

Director’s report

University Heights branch meeting rooms and the lower-level areas for children and teens will reopen on or before July 10. Staff are currently reshelving all the materials that were moved due to the flood. 

A $50,000 matching grant has been received by an anonymous donor for the PEACE Park building project. All donations made between July 1 and October 1 will be doubled. Another $50,000 needs to be raised. F. Buddie Contracting and Regency Construction have submitted bids for the PEACE Park building project, which the board will review. 

Coventry merchants have provided donations and discounts for the summer reading program kick-off event.

A website, cuyahogareads.org, was designed for the grant-funded Cuyahoga Reads partnership. The Cuyahoga Reads program will kick off August 5 at the Great Lakes Science Center. Admission is free and there will be programs all day for families.

A staff and board training opportunity on book banning from the Library Journal will be available Sept. 27.

The University Heights and Lee Road branches will be polling places for the August 8 Special Election.

If approved, changes proposed in the Ohio State Budget could lead to a Public Library Fund reduction of about $39 million dollars over the biennium and would significantly impact public libraries.

Public service

John Piche, Adult services Librarian, helped coordinate a programming for a very successful Dementia Awareness Week.

The third Heights EcoFest, co-sponsored by Coventry Branch and Cleveland Heights Green Team in PEACE Park was held on May 27 with over 500 people in attendance.

Noble Neighborhood Branch opened the temporary location at the BNH building on Noble Road. Afterschool programming and Friday Story Stop continues at Disciples Church. Community Story time at Right Start Church has had 15 children in the last two weeks.

Associate Shamekia Chandler, youth services, had 34 participants in her Snack GEO program, a sampling of international snacks.

University Heights Branch Youth Librarian Hannah Van Jura presented information about the library’s summer reading program at a Gearity Elementary School pre-K event.

LWV observer: Judith Beeler

Information about the board, board meeting minutes and audio recordings of board meetings can be found at https://heightslibrary.org/locations/heights-libraries-board/

Read More on Library
Volume 16, Issue 8, Posted 9:59 AM, 08.15.2023