We Transform LivesWe are the "People’s University," the center of learning for a diverse and inclusive community.
How are we transforming?
We collaborate. In 2013, we identified certain needs in the community and invited others to join us in fulfilling those needs. This included our partnership with CareSource that helped people navigate the complexities of the Affordable Healthcare Act; our partnership with The Legal Aid Society of Cleveland that offered free legal advice clinics for low-income individuals; our partnership with The Plain Dealer to teach digital literacy; and our partnership with the Cleveland FoodBank to provide snacks to the students in our after-school programs so that hunger did not distract them from learning.
We invest. The Library recognizes the impact that the digital revolution has had on the ability of people to access critical information. We continue to invest in the equipment, services, and personnel necessary to provide much needed technology and training. Library users logged in over one million computer sessions in the past year alone.
We create. We never were simply a place to go and read books. We have created an environment that fosters learning and inspires Clevelanders from all walks of life to continue to learn, share and seek new knowledge. Among other initiatives, we increased the number of Learning Centers in our branches and offered additional tutoring sessions for children. Adult offerings included GED/ESOL, computer training, college preparedness, and resume writing.
We listen. The changes we are making are in direct response to what the community is telling us. We’re continually asking questions, seeking alternatives and requesting feedback to make sure that what we offer is relevant, valuable and in line with our established strategic priorities.
We engage. Not everyone learns in the same way or is inspired by the same things. We’ve worked hard this past year to expand our approach to programming, offering more hands-on workshops, exhibits and classes that are designed to inspire passion about learning. Our Mini Maker Faire, numerous MakerLabs and art and music-based literacy programs are just a few examples of the many well-received new initiatives this year.
We invite. We have never been a library content to sit back and wait for people to come through our doors. Rather, we invite them in and give them a reason to come back again and again. This past fall, for example, as part of our “I’m Ready to Read” initiative, we mailed out more than 2,300 library cards to children entering kindergarten in the Cleveland Metropolitan School District and invited them to embark on a journey of learning.
We are. We continue to be The People’s University, focused on serving the community in so many different and exciting ways. For those who viewed going to college as a challenge, we helped them prepare. For those who needed help finding a job, applying for a loan, or researching information about healthcare coverage, we offered the programs, computers and Internet access they needed. For those who struggled to meet the reading requirements necessary to pass the third grade, we offered assessment and tutoring.
We are beginning to see the results of our efforts–and what we see is very encouraging. Together with our community partners we have been able to provide an environment of learning that is accessible for everyone.
We are excited to share with you, through this 2013 Report to the Community, all the exciting things that are happening at Cleveland Public Library to help make a difference in the lives of so many.
Felton Thomas, Jr.