Cleveland Heights University Heights Library Board of Trustees 9-18-2023

SEPT. 18, 2023

  • Presentations
  • Financial report
  • Board actions
  • Personnel report
  • Director’s report
  • Public relations report

Present were President Max Gerbec, Vice President Vikas Turakhia, Secretary Annette Iwamoto, Patti Carlyle, Dana Fluellen, Tyler McTigue, and Melissa Soto-Schwartz. The meeting lasted 65 minutes.


Kathryn Semo, NE regional liaison of the Ohio Auditor of State’s office, presented to Debbie Herrmann, fiscal officer, an Award with Distinction to CH-UH Public Library. This award is presented for excellence in financial reporting related to the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report and compliance with applicable laws for the fiscal year ended in 2022. This exemplary reporting serves as the standard for clean, accountable government, representing the highest level of service to Ohioans.

Sheryl Banks, communication manager, reported on the monthly mobile pantry that is held at the Lee Road Library. The mobile pantry began in May 2019 at Coventry Library. It is a volunteer-driven service with only two or three staff members. With COVID, drive-in distribution became necessary, and the pantry was moved to Lee Road Library. The library offers this service as the poverty rate in this service area is high. Sixteen percent of Cleveland Heights, 12 percent of University Heights, and 39 percent of East Cleveland residents live in poverty. In 2023, 2,016 individuals have been served. Residents aged zero to 17 represent 25 percent of those served.

Financial report

Investments earned the highest rate of return, 5.52 percent, since 2007. Revenue is good. All taxes have been received. Two new grants are coming in: Youth Services was awarded a MyCom Partners Support Grant of $1,500, and the library was awarded $34,476 in support of the Healthy Urban Tree Canopy Grant Program, with the library matching $26,797.

Board actions 

The board:

  • Approved a resolution supporting the freedom to read. This resolution will be sent to appropriate elected representatives.
  • Approved change orders for the Noble Road Branch construction and renovation.
  • Amended the Materials Evaluation Policy and the Bylaws of the library board. These will be placed on the library’s website.
  • Approved purchase of replacements for equipment and software that have reached the end of their life in the amount of $15,191.35.
  • Accepted the budget for MyCom and Urban Tree Canopy grants (as reported above).
  • Approved a contract with Neptune Plumbing to place backflow valves to prevent stormwater seeping through drains into the University Heights Library Branch basement.
  • Upgraded the position of technology assistant to associate. This request came after completion of a job analysis.

Personnel report

Five new employees started Sept. 11. There was one resignation.

Director’s report

Heights Libraries are currently seeking a new trustee. Information for prospective board members can be found at Deadline to apply is Nov. 17.

All nine library systems in Cuyahoga County are teaming up to fight learning loss due to the COVID-19 pandemic through the Cuyahoga Reads program, which is designed to help families of students in grades kindergarten through 12 make reading a priority through fun programs and reading challenges. Each partner library hosts two targeted literacy programs per month through October 2024.

Director Nancy Levin commended the staff on their expert handling of the power outage following a storm on Aug. 25. Those working in buildings with power opened up meeting rooms to help people power devices or work from the library.

The Fund for the Future of Heights Libraries has collected more than $350,000 from donations toward the PEACE Park Renovation. The next fundraising event , Party for PEACE Park, will take place Nov. 5 at the Grog Shop.

Work on the Healthy Urban Tree Canopy grant will start with mulching the area behind the Coventry PEACE Building and cutting down dead and diseased trees. Using $34,426 from the Cuyahoga County Healthy Urban Tree Canopy Program, the Heights Tree People will create an urban mini forest behind the Coventry PEACE Building.

Public service report

Despite a two-week shorter duration for the 2023 summer reading program, total entries increased by 80 percent compared to 2022, and the number of unique participants increased by 91 percent. This represents a return to pre-Covid participation levels. The summer program ended with a total of 1,373 registrations.

Staff accepted 133 passport applications and took 187 photos. Total income was just over $7,600.

In July, Coventry Branch featured an American Sign Language (ASL) story time with local deaf storyteller Liliana Pokorny. Coventry plans to continue ASL story time quarterly.

Noble Neighborhood Branch Library focused on summer outreach efforts, reaching 2,032 children, families, and seniors.

LWV Observers: Judith Beeler and Elizabeth Tracy.

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

Read More on Library
Volume 16, Issue 11, Posted 1:52 PM, 10.19.2023