In 2014 we opened two new teen centers—Studio 470 located at the Main Library and Teen Rock located at our Rockport Branch. The converted spaces feature a combination of computers and iPads to assist with studying, along with TVs, video gaming systems and comfortable chairs for socializing.
Based on positive feedback, plans are in place for additional teen centers in 2015. A teen book club has also been started at the Carnegie West Branch.
Recognizing the need for our youth to have a safe environment for studying, the Library expanded its after-school programs, including additional Learning Centers and tutoring sessions.
We worked in conjunction with the Greater Cleveland Food Bank to increase the number of branches that served after-school snacks — up from eight in 2013 to 17 in 2014. At branches such as Rockport, 50+ students show up each day to eat, eliminating hunger as a possible barrier to learning.
As a public institution, the Library routinely deals with a highly diverse population. For the safety of our patrons and staff, the Library hosted training programs designed to help our staff effectively communicate critical information during a crisis and help resolve conflicts.
Branch managers additionally attended mental health first aid training to help them manage volatile patrons and potentially dangerous situations, as well as identify signs that a patron might be in trouble.
As part of our ongoing commitment to providing a safe environment, the Library invested in facility upgrades to enhance security throughout the branches including new surveillance cameras, access control systems and fire system upgrades.
In 2014, the Library also became the first non-law enforcement facility in Ohio to have direct radio communications with local law enforcement officials. The MARCS (Mutual Aid Radio Communications System) allows for faster response by emergency personnel, should an incident warrant it.