Cleveland Heights University Heights Library Board of Trustees meeting highlights

FEBRUARY 19, 2024

  • Nancy Zelman retires 
  • Fund for the Future of Heights Library
  • Family Connections 
  • Board actions
  • Director’s report
  • Public services report

Present were President Vikas Turakhia, Vice President Annette Iwamoto, Secretary Patti Carlyle, Dana Fluellen, Tyler McTigue, and Melissa Soto-Schwartz. Hallie Turnberrez was not present. The meeting lasted one hour and ten minutes.

Nancy Zelman retires

Librarian Nancy Zelman joined the staff of the Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library in 1993, as a part-time circulation associate. On Sept. 29, 2013, she advanced to full-time adult services librarian at the University Heights Branch. She has provided excellent customer service for 31 years; impacted seniors through her program, the Senior Spot; and implemented the Bookmobile during the time the University Heights Branch was closed. Her steadfast commitment to the library’s positive image, her wisdom, and her dedication and service to the community will be greatly missed when she retires March 1. 

Fund for the Future of Heights Library

Jack Valancy, president of the Fund for the Future of Heights Library, reviewed present and future fundraising efforts for the library. 

Family Connections 

Family Connections of Northeast Ohio partners with the Heights Libraries; representatives described their program, which provides support for the family playroom at Lee Road and offers year-round, free programs and services for families and children at locations throughout Northeast Ohio. Family Connections engages families with young children to nurture social connections, enhance child development, and improve school readiness. For more than 40 years, they have provided parenting support and educational opportunities for families with children from birth through age six. 

Board actions

The board: 

  • Approved the Guaranteed Maximum Price contract #2 for construction at the PEACE Park.
  • Extended the JMC Consulting Contract for Eric Gonczy’s services to manage the PEACE Park project.
  • Approved the contract with Layercake LLC for landscape architect services for Coventry PEACE Park. (Andrew Sargeant, LLC, the principal landscape architect on the Coventry PEACE Park project, recently established a new company named Layercake LLC.)
  • Approved the transfer of $2,100,000 from the Library General Fund to the PEACE Playground Fund with one dissenting vote by Dana Fluellen, who felt that library funds should be used for library-related activities such as programming, circulation, etc. She maintained that diverting additional funds to an extracurricular project such as the Coventry Peace Park (just because the library owns the property) beyond what has already been assigned to the park directly from the library was not good stewardship of the library's dollars.
  • Approved the purchase of 73 desktop PCs, 14 black and white printers, and 7 color printers.
  • Approved revised hours of operation during the April 8 Solar Eclipse so that staff can enjoy the eclipse. Those hours can be found on the Heights Library website.  
  • Approved a sustainability policy, which is “environmentally sound, economically feasible and socially equitable.”
  • Approved a two-month extension to the leave of absence for Laurie Marotta.

Director’s report

Deputy Director Kim DeNero-Ackroyd, is running for president of the Public Library Association.

Lee Road Youth Services Librarian E. Hogan, was selected to serve on the ALA Stonewall Book Awards children’s and young adult subcommittee, which honors books from the LGBTQIA+ experience published in the previous year. 

June 2 will be the the Noble Road Library grand opening and the beginning of the summer reading program.

The library will sponsor a program by Jeff Smith at the Heights High auditorium on Oct. 19.

Public service report

Tri-C’s ASPIRE ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) program at Lee Road continues to be popular with the community. This month’s ESOL orientation attracted 40 participants, while 72 students attended the twice-a-week classes.

Passport applications increased compared to the previous month with 97 passport applications, and 119 pictures. Total income for the month was $5,180.

Cricut Crafting Equipment has arrived. Classes will be offered to the community. This equipment allows makers to unleash their creativity to do activities such as customize baseball caps; cut, emboss, and engrave; make custom mugs; design greeting cards; and heat press designs on a variety of items. 

Participants in the Coventry January Earthworks program, facilitated by Branch Manager Maggie Kinney, learned how to make paper using recycled materials. Everyone left with their creations and skills to recreate the project at home. 

University Heights Sound Bath program, led by one of the storytime parents, has been a big hit with attendance growing each week. A sound bath is an experience when one is bathed in pure sound bringing a relaxed and meditative state. Once the sound experience is complete the participant should feel relaxed, centered, and grounded in their physical and mental well-being.

LWV Observer: Judith Beeler.

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

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Volume 17, Issue 4, Posted 12:07 PM, 03.28.2024