Cleveland Public Library Welcomes New Board Member

Melanie A. Shakarian, Esq.

Cleveland Public Library is pleased to announce the confirmation of Melanie A. Shakarian, Esq. to the Library Board of Trustees. She was chosen by the Board of Education for the Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD) which governs Cleveland Public Library’s Board of Trustees.

“Ms. Shakarian is an excellent addition to the Library Board of Trustees. Her background in law and policy will be a welcome resource,” said Maritza Rodriguez, President of the Cleveland Public Library Board of Trustees. 

As Director of Development and Communications for The Legal Aid Society of Cleveland, Shakarian has been leading public relations, marketing, fundraising, and government relations efforts for Legal Aid since 2004. Prior to her tenure at Legal Aid, Shakarian was Director of Annual Major Gifts and Parish Services for The Catholic Diocese of Cleveland Foundation.

“Cleveland Public Library’s vision is a city in which opportunity is within reach for everyone.

Melanie understands what it takes to build a strong, thriving, and equitable community,” said Felton Thomas Jr., Executive Director and CEO of Cleveland Public Library.

A lifelong Cleveland resident, Shakarian received her bachelor’s degree from John Carroll University, and her law degree and a certificate of nonprofit management from Case Western Reserve University. She is a graduate of Leadership Cleveland, a German Marshall Fund Fellow, a past participant in the Adler Civic Leaders Mission, and an active member of the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association.

“I whole-heartedly believe in access to opportunity for all–which is why I work at Legal Aid–and why this new opportunity to serve the Cleveland Public Library as a Trustee is so meaningful. I look forward to helping the staff and patrons of “The People’s University” continue to build upon the traditions of the best library system in the United States,” said Melanie Shakarian, incoming member of the Cleveland Public Library Board of Trustees.

Shakarian replaces Alan Seifullah who resigned from the board in February 2023. Appointed in March 2007, Seifullah faithfully served the Board, supported advancements in literacy and digital services, and the creation of safe spaces for children. Seifullah’s devotion to the Library began in 1995 as the Library’s Head of Marketing and Public Relations. “The Board will miss Alan’s steadfast belief in empowering our community. He was a strong advocate for civic engagement and literacy,” mentions Rodriguez.  

Cleveland Public Library was established as a school district library under Ohio law. This law allows the CMSD Board of Education to appoint the Board of Trustees for the Library

Shakarian took her oath of office at the Library’s April 18th board meeting at noon.