WPPL Rakes in Kudos
Westlake Porter Public Library has once again been ranked as one of the best in the nation and named "Best in Cleveland."
The library was ranked #2 in the nation among the 928 public libraries serving a population of 25,000 - 49,000 by Hennen's American Public Library Rankings (HAPLR). WPPL has consistently been in the top 10 for its population category since HAPLR's inception in 1999.
The week after the rankings were released, Scene Magazine named WPPL the "Best Library" in its annual "Best of Cleveland" issue.
The HAPLR rankings are based on 2005 usage and service data, including circulation, materials, reference service, number of visitors, staffing levels, and funding. The 15 statistical factors used to compile the ratings indicate that the library is heavily used by the community, and is efficient and cost-effective in its use of the funds provided by the state and Westlake residents.
This is the second time WPPL has been honored by Scene Magazine - it was also named "Best Library" in 2006. In giving Westlake Porter this year's nod, Scene said, "The six year-old Porter has everything a modern library should have...."
"This is an honor for everyone involved with the library - the staff, the Board of Trustees, the Friends of the Library and our loyal customers," said Director Andrew Mangels. "It reflects the loyal, consistent and heavy usage by our community and the staff's dedication to providing exceptional customer service to each and every person who walks through the doors."
Director's Notes:The Best of Times...The Worst of Times
It has been a good year at the library. Last month Hennen's American Public Library Ratings were released, and once again we ranked number two nationwide for libraries with a service area of 25,000 - 49,000. Shortly thereafter we appeared in the local Scene Magazine as "Best Library" in the Cleveland area. To quote from the article, "The six-year-old Porter has everything a modern library should have; free Wi-Fi, computers everywhere, spacious meeting rooms, a cafÃ© and tons of CDs, magazines and DVDs." Earlier in the summer a report was released by the Gannett News Service that showed Westlake Porter Public Library as having the fourth highest circulation per capita in the entire nation for all libraries with a population over 10,000.
Unfortunately the news has not all been good. Like every other household and business in Northeast Ohio, the library faces the realities of the current financial landscape.
Almost 30%, or $1.3 million, of our budget comes from the state of Ohio. As the state budget continues to experience shortfalls the amount of funds transferred to libraries is greatly affected. It has been recommended that in 2009 we should plan, at least initially, for a 6-8% decrease in the amount we receive from the state.
As we finalize the 2009 budget and plan for the next several years, we remain committed to being a fiscally responsible and efficient organization while continuing to maintain the quality and level of service that has been the hallmark of Westlake Porter Public Library.
In 1884 two entities were created; Westlake Porter Public Library and the Knickerbocker Trust Company (which became one of the largest banks in the country at the time). After some dubious financial practices by the company's president, Charles Barney, a run on the bank's deposits caused its failure and was a major factor in the Panic of 1907.
The Knickerbocker Trust company is no longer in business. The Porter Public Library is still going strong heading into its 125th year. Studies have shown that in tough economic tes public library usage increases. If you haven't been by in awhile, come find out why we have been around for over a century.
-- Andrew Mangels, Director
Friends Donate New Outreach Van
Thanks to the wonderful Friends of Porter Public Library for our new Outreach van. The group donated funds to purchase a new van when it was determined that one of the old vans was no longer reliable, and that maintaining it would not be cost-effective.
The new van provides reliability and safety for our Outreach Services staff, who deliver library materials to local senior residential facilities and nursing homes throughout the month. Outreach staff transport large numbers of books, DVDs, CDs, magazines and audiobooks, making a van a necessity for providing the service. Outreach visits are the only way many residents of the facilities serviced receive library materials.
The new van replaces a 1995 vehicle that had been in service at the library since the fall of 1994. Funds for that van were also donated by the Friends of the Library. The Friends also donated funds for a van purchased in 2004.
Having two vans allows the library to provide Outreach deliveries while accommodating other deliveries and supply pick-ups, along with staff travel for required meetings and continuing education.
The vans are only one of the many ways the Friends of Porter Public Library support the library and allow staff to provide additional services and resources to the community. In addition to funding the library's annual summer reading program, the group has donated funds to the building project (providing the Grandma's Attic Imagination Station, the Quiet Reading Room, and additional meeting room equipment), underwritten the 2005 and 2007 Westfest author festivals, and much more. It is truly one of Westlake's greatest resources!
Library Staff Member's Detective Work Leads to Fallen
Sometimes working in the library's Reference Department is like being a detective -- just ask Reference Associate Sue Bennis. A patron's quest for the living family members of a Cleveland man killed in action during World War II took her best detective work -- and resulted in some very happy family members.
A member of the 773rd Tank Destroyer Battalion, 19-year-old Private Donald Owens was killed when his tank took a direct hit in battle on October 9, 1944. His body was never recovered, but his dog tags were found near Luneville, France, in 2007. Mrs. Bennis was working at the Reference Desk in late October when Duane Thomascik of the 90th Division Association stopped in to ask for help locating Pvt. Owens' family. He had been contacted by a regional officer of the Association, an organization of veterans and family of veterans who served in the U.S. Army's 90th Division. They had discovered that Pvt. Owens was from Cuyahoga County, and thought perhaps a local association member was better suited to finding his relatives.
Sue went right to work, first consulting standard library resources, then following leads and, with the help of Mr. Thomascik and James Rhodes High School librarian Myra Stone, patching together information on Private Owens' family. Determined to find them, Sue even continued searching on her own time, using one piece of information to find another. She consulted an online Cleveland World War II casualties list, the county marriage index, census records, death notices and certificates, Ancestry.com, and cemetery records before finding a phone number in Mobile, Alabama that lead her to Owens' nephew. He and his mother â€” Pvt. Owens' sister-in-law â€” were overjoyed at the prospect of receiving the dog tags, and overwhelmed by the caring of the 'northerners' who found them. They're hoping to visit Cleveland very soon to receive the precious memento of their brother-in-law and uncle.
125 Years of Sharing Stories:
Library to Celebrate 125th Anniversary of its Founding in 2009
Eighteen eighty-four was an interesting year. The cornerstone for the Statue of Liberty was laid. Mark Twain began writing The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Harry S. Truman and Eleanor Roosevelt were born. Grover Cleveland was elected president. Much closer to home for the people of Westlake (then known as Dover Township): Westlake Porter Public Library was founded. (Left: Library founder Leonard Porter) The library will celebrate this momentous occasion and its 125 years of continuous service to Dover Township/Westlake with a year-long series of events. The kickoff will be author David Giffels' book talk and signing at a special after-hours event on Friday, January 23, at 7 p.m. In addition, staff members are planning anniversary themes for National Library Week and our summer reading program, a cemetery walk featuring a visit to Porter's grave, and much more. We'll also share WPPL's history with you, and give you some chances to let us know what WPPL?means to you. Our celebration will culminate with a big party in December 2009, the month the library turns 125. Keep an eye on this newsletter, the web site, and in the library for special events you won?t want to miss throughout the coming year
Reserved Material Upgrade offers Speed and Convenience
One of the most popular services we offer our patrons is the opportunity to reserve library material. Patrons search the library catalog from their computers at home, or call us with requests for a copy of the latest title by their favorite author or most current movie releases. The library staff will then prepare these items for our patrons and then "hold" them on our Reserved Material Shelving. We have offered this service for many years and in July, 2008 we improved it by giving patrons the ability to retrieve their items from our new Reserved Material Shelving. Instead of standing in line and waiting for a staff member to get your material, you may now pick it up yourself. This new service has made it easier for our patrons to use the self check-out stations and decreased the number of people having to wait in line for material they have already selected.
Our staff will review your account each time you visit us and we will check to see if you have any 'holds' available. We will retrieve your material for you if you haven't already picked them up. We are very pleased and proud that we have been able to offer this upgraded service to our WPPL patrons. If you have any questions on how to reserve material, please call us or ask a staff member on your next visit to the library.
Weather Bad? Use Our Drive-Up Services!
Whether it's a snowstorm or spring rain, getting in and out of your car and into the library can be a messy hassle. Save yourself from the wet, ice and other inconveniences by using the library's drive-up window and book slots. They're both located on the south side of the building.
The drive-up window is staffed only during library hours for quick transactions. To use it just let us know at least one hour ahead of time by phone (440-871-2600) so that we can be sure to have your material at the window when you arrive. You can also sign up to have all of your hold items placed at the window by calling us or stopping by the circulation desk.
The drop-off slots are located just past the drive-up window. There are three at differing levels to accommodate different vehicle heights. Two are available 24/7.
These services make it more convenient for you to use the library. If you haven't used them, give them a try!