What is the most enjoyable part of the holiday season? The opportunity to thank you for visiting us, borrowing from us, seeking information from us, discussing books with us, partnering with us, and supporting us. Before we put on our party hats and begin the New Year festivities, we’d like to take a moment to look back at 2019 and reflect on some of the year’s highlights made possible thanks to you—our taxpayers.
January: We partnered with the Center for Arts-Inspired Learning and ten other libraries and cultural organizations on the NEA Big Read, a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest. The book selected was Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine. Programs offered in support included the production of Hoodie: Between Black & White, directed by Monica Boone.
February: Our Black History Month programs featured a lecture on Malcolm and Martin by former Library Board president Dr. Donna Whyte, a community dialogue on the Underground Railroad with Restore Cleveland Hope which presented the story of Lucy Bagby, the last fugitive from slavery to come through Cleveland before the Civil War.
March: We presented our 20th Barbara Luton Art Competition and celebrated 20 years of art at the Library. We collaborated with the Cleveland Seed Bank and debuted our Seed Library and presented several gardening programs to complement it. The seed sharing initiative was suggested by community members at Moreland Neighbor Nights.
April: Children’s Services and Adult Services collaborated on a Pet-A-Palooza with programs about pets, including a community conversation about Cats and Dogs in the Neighborhood, a pet adoption opportunity, a pet show, and an opportunity to meet the author of I Let the Dogs Out, a tongue-in-cheek guide to shelter adoption by a longtime long-time volunteer with the Cleveland Animal Protective League. We collaborated with the City Tree Advisory Board on our fifth Poster and PoeTREE contest for children.
May: We hosted our 10th Art Exposed exhibit with the Shaker Schools’ Art Departments—one of the community’s favorite exhibits providing an opportunity for them to see the exciting art opportunities the schools offer their students.
June: Summer Reading kicked off with the festive Sounds of Summer and featured entertainment by the Shaker Library Band, outdoor activities, and hot dogs grilled by Shaker Schools’ Keith Langford and served up by City Council members, Sean Malone and Anne Williams. We celebrated Juneteenth with the African-American Quilt and Doll Guild and offered Free Reading & Math Summer Review for Students Entering Grades 1-8.
July: We commemorated the 50th anniversary of Neil Armstrong’s Moon Walk with the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, which brought its inflatable traveling planetarium to Main Library. In another fun program, children’s staff invited children to bring their stuffed animals for a Stuffed Animal Sleepover, and then to come back the next day to see what fun they had in the library.
August: Joseph Blake, SHHS Class of 1964 presented The Van Sweringens Remake the Face of Cleveland to a capacity audience on a Saturday afternoon at Main Library.
September: Dr. Deborah Abbott of the African-American Genealogical Society presented Paul Newman: The Genealogy of Shaker’s Favorite Son and we celebrated the 125th anniversary of the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument with Lauren Pacini.
October: We sponsored a visit from Susan Orlean, SHHS grad, staff writer for The New Yorker and author of the best-selling book, The Library Book. Friends of the Shaker Library and the Shaker Schools Foundation hosted a reception to meet the author before her talk at Shaker Middle School.
November: We partnered with the City Landmark Commission and the Shaker Historical Society on a tour of the Warrensville West Cemetery. We celebrated Native American Heritage Month in the Children’s Room and enjoyed polka music by the Chardon Polka Band.
December: Dr. Clara Mosely Hall, author of Paris in America: A Deaf Nanticoke Shoemaker and His Daughter, shared what it was like to grow up as the daughter of a deaf Nanticoke Indian. The program was enhanced by two ASL interpreters from the Cleveland Hearing and Speech Center. The Children’s Department hosted a Retro-Techno Touch and Feel where children learned about the technology of yesteryear—typewriters, telephones, and phonographs.
And these are only highlights. We offered ELL and GED classes; sponsored book discussions, game nights, chess nights, knitting programs, music programs, poetry programs, meet-the-author opportunities, art exhibits, story times, STEAM programs, out-of-school time activities for children and teens, and parenting workshops with Family Connections.
We served up evening community conversations on pertinent topics, morning coffee & conversations with staff and neighbors, and civic forums with the League of Women Voters. We provided educational opportunities for seniors to learn about Medicare, plan for retirement, get free tax prep help, and learn how to downsize, along with opportunities to keep fit with Tai Chi classes with Shaker Rec.
We went fine free and we moved Forward Together with the Schools and the City. We financed the Main Library renovation, hired a project team, and began renovation planning. And we did all this while helping the community find the books, music, and movies they wanted.
So cheers to all for a successful 2019. Enjoy a healthy and Happy New Year! Plan to join us in 2020 as we focus on more programs and partnerships to benefit our community of readers. Now let’s raise a cup of kindness yet for auld lang syne.
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