Notes -- October & November 2009

It would be impossible to celebrate the 125th Anniversary of Westlake Porter Public Library’s founding without mentioning its founder, Leonard G. Porter. Who was Leonard Porter, and why did he bequeath $1,000 to Dover Township to establish a library?

The tenth of Joseph Porter’s 11 children, Leonard G. Porter was born in Ashfield, Massachusetts on March 6, 1806. He emigrated to the “wild west” — the Western Reserve — with his father. After spending his childhood helping his father clear and farm the land and attending school, he went on to make his living as a teacher at the Dover Academy. In 1838 Porter married Catherine H. Stevens.

Tragically, she gave birth to just one child, who died in infancy, before succumbing herself in 1841. From that point, Porter devoted his life to community service, becoming one of the prominent town builders of Dover. He served as treasurer for twelve years and as Justice of the Peace for a six-year term. A member of Dover Congregational Church, Porter served there as a deacon and superintendent of the Sunday School. He was an active member of the Dover Literary Society, whose constitution stated the following: “Wishing to form an effective organization for the purpose of mutual help and improvement and as one of the means this end to establish and sustain a Library…” The Society members read, discussed, and debated the issues of the time.

At his death in 1884 it was discovered that he had left Dover Township $1,000 and his personal book collection in order to start a library. On December 15, 1884, articles of incorporation were notarized, and the library came into being. One-hundred twenty-five years later, Porter’s legacy still stands, a vital part of the community. Thank you, Leonard!


“Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it is too dark to read.” – Groucho Marx

This is just one of many quotes to be found on the walls around Porter library. Behind each one is a story of love for books, reading, and education. These sentiments may be found in both the words of the quoted and in the generosity of the people who made a donation to the library to display these words of wisdom.

As for the aforementioned quip, due to his family’s financial situation, Groucho Marx was forced to quit school at age 12 and go to work. In spite of these circumstances, he became a voracious reader, self educated man, and frequent visitor of public libraries.

The backdrop of Groucho’s upbringing was the early 1900s, a period which saw several minor recessions. Over the past few months, I have read numerous articles detailing all the cuts that libraries around the state have had to make due to this economy. Many libraries have made drastic cuts in their hours of operation and the number of people serving the public at the very time circulation and visits are up substantially. We have been very fortunate, so far, to get by with just a hiring freeze and without reducing hours. Many of our cuts have not been immediately visible, such as decreases in our materials budget and general operating expenses. We are working diligently to reconcile diminishing revenues with increasing usage while remaining a #1 library that meets the needs of the community.

There has been a public library in Westlake for 125 years. It is a place where people have always come to further their education, encounter new ideas, grow a business, teach their children to read, enjoy a good book, attend a public meeting, and so much more.

There is another quote by Groucho (that is not on our walls), that sums it all up. “I must say I find television very educational. The minute somebody turns it on, I go to the library and read a good book.” More and more people are doing the same, won’t you join them?
Andrew Mangels, Director

The Groucho Marx quote was generously donated in memory of Joseph Grady by his family and friends.


Westlake Porter Public Library will unveil images of the galaxy as part of the International Year of Astronomy Image Unveiling effort in November. As an official participant, WPPL has received images of the galaxy obtained by the Hubble Space Telescope, the Spitzer Space Telescope and the Chandra X-ray Observatory. The unveiling will take place on Wednesday, November 11 at 7 p.m., and will be followed by an opportunity to view the night sky on telescopes (weather permitting).

According to the official web site, the International Year of Astronomy is a global celebration of astronomy and its contributions to society and culture. It also marks the 400th anniversary of the first use of an astronomical telescope by Galileo Galilei. It is hoped that it will stimulate interest in science and astronomy, especially among young people. A series of events celebrating astronomy will take place in November.


Join us during the week of November 8-14 as we celebrate 125 years of wonderful customers. We have planned many programs and activities to thank our loyal users for their role in making Westlake Porter Public Library #1 in the nation for our size and for their calls, letters and e-mails to state legislators about proposed funding cuts. Come celebrate you during this special week. There is something for everyone!:

Genealogy 101
Learn how to get started researching your family history. Registration required.
Monday, November 9 (7 p.m.)

The Magic Box
With imagination a box can become anything! Join us for stories, activities and a craft. For kids grades K-2. Registration begins November 3.
Tuesday, November 10 (3:30-4:15 p.m.)

The Fifty-Cent Tour
Confused by the catalog? Lost in the stacks? Stop by the Youth Services Department for a tour - kids and grown-ups welcome. Meet by the Youth Services Desk.
Tuesday, November 10 and Thursday, November 12 (11 a.m. and 2, 4 and 7 p.m.)

Celebrate the Year of Astronomy
Join us for an unveiling of images of the galaxy taken by leading space telescopes as well as a telescopic viewing of the night sky (weather permitting).
Wednesday, November 11 (7 p.m.)

Fireside Chat
Stop and chat with Library Director Andrew Mangels!
Friday, November 13 (2-3:30 p.m.)

125th Anniversary Cake Bake-Off
Kids, whip up your favorite birthday cake or cupcakes and enter our bake-off! Parents may help younger children with baking, but decorating should be done by the child. Cakes should be dropped off in the Craft Room between 9 and 10 a.m. Registration begins November 7. Categories are ages 4-7 and 8-12.
Saturday, November 14 (9 a.m.-12 p.m.)

Love LEGOs? Bring your ideas and imagination to our club! Blocks provided. Ages 7-13. Registration begins November 7.
Saturday, November 14 (2-3 p.m.)

Outdoor Games - Indoors!
We’re bringing fun outdoor games to the cozy inside!
Saturday, November 14 (2 p.m.)

Shred-It of Cleveland will be in the library parking lot to shred your sensitive documents. Two boxes per car.
Saturday, November 14 (9 a.m.-Noon)

Please visit or call 440-871-2600 to register for any program requiring it.