Notes -- December 2009/January 2010

125 Years of Sharing Stories
Westlake Porter Public Library was founded in 1884 by Leonard G. Porter, who bequeathed $1,000 to provide a library to the community. Called the Porter Library and Literary Association, the library was initially a subscription-only enterprise. The library moved into its first home in 1886, and in 1897 became a free library.

In 1935 the library received county funds for the first time, as well as a $10,000 bequest from Sophronia Clague. After a change in state law regarding public library support in 1937, the Association became a school district library under the name Porter Public Library, and has remained an independent library serving the City of Westlake ever since. One of nine independent library systems in Cuyahoga County, the library is funded primarily through a portion of Ohio’s state income tax and by a levy approved by Westlake voters.

In 1950 the library moved into a building formerly owned by the telephone company and a new wing was opened in 1960. The library remained in that location until 1985 when it was moved into a new, larger facility to better meet a growing city’s needs. Subsequently, the City of Westlake experienced another boom and computers and the Internet became a part of American life and culture. Needing additional space as a result, WPPL asked the voters to approve a $7.2 million dollar bond issue in 1997. The resulting 2000-2002 renovation and expansion project more than doubled its size and resulted in the current building, which is a truly state-of-the-art library, educational center and
meeting place.

Other important events in WPPL’s history:

1960 – The library hired its first professionally trained librarian, Kathleen Carnall.
1972 – The Friends of Porter Public Library was formed.
1989 - The library’s card catalog was computerized for the first time.
2002 - The library was selected by the family and friends of Christina Ryook as the perfect place to memorialize the Westlaker who perished in the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center. Christina’s Corner can be found in the Children’s Department.
2005 & 2009 – WPPL was named the #1 library in the nation in its population category by Hennen’s American Public Library Ratings. It has been in the top 1O every year but one since HAPLR’s inception in 1999.
2005 - The Bernice Yates Community Reading Garden was dedicated and opened.

Director's Notes: And I Quote

“What is more important in a library than anything else - than everything else - is the fact that it exists.” – Archibald MacLeish

As 2009, and our Quasquicentennial, comes to an end Mr. MacLeish’s quote resonates loudly in Westlake. The library’s existence has been assured for the past 125 years beginning with Leonard Porter and the Dover Literary Society and continuing today with support from the Friends of the Library, Trustees past and present, library staff, and most importantly the community.
Archibald MacLeish served as the Librarian of Congress for only four years, 1939-1944, and while not a professional librarian, did more to modernize the Library of Congress and make it more accessible than ever to the public. Initially he was reluctant to accept the appointment from President Franklin Delano Roosevelt but relented, saying “The President decided I wanted to be Librarian of Congress.”
As a learned man, and someone who would win a Pulitzer Prize three times, Archie didn’t need much convincing of the need for libraries. Much more than the Librarian of Congress, he was an advocate for libraries. “He used his connections to expand the library’s services and activities and used his position to speak up for democracy.”

Earlier this year when library funding cuts were forefront in the state’s biennium budget news, we saw how many people affirmed the words of Archibald MacLeish as they insisted that libraries must continue to exist. And despite the funding reductions that will follow us into the new year, not only will Porter Library continue to exist, we will work hard to ensure that your library remains the number one library in the country.

Andrew Mangels, Director

The Archibald MacLeish quote was generously donated in memory of Robert and James Mueller by Jane Mueller, 2002.

Bad Weather? Wary of the Flu? Use WPPL's Drive-up Services!

The weather is turning cold and all too soon snow will be here. On top of that, H1N1 is making its way around Northeast Ohio in a big way. Combine the two, and you’ve got a recipe for staying away from the library. But what can you do if you’ve just been notified that a hold item is available and you’re one of the people vulnerable to the flu...or it’s a cold, rainy (or snowy) day and getting the baby out of the car seat is a no-go? Use the library’s drive-up services and after-hours lockers, of course!
The library’s drive-up window is available while the library is open. To pick up material there, simply call the library’s Circulation Department at least an hour ahead of when you plan to arrive. The library’s staff will find the on-hold item and deliver it to the pick-up window to await you. You may also sign up to pick up your library material at the drive-up window all the time by notifying a member of the Circulation Staff.

Have material to return? The drive-up book drops are next to the drive-up window. You may deposit books, audiobooks, CDs and DVDs.

Finally, if you can’t get to the library while it’s open, ask to use the after-hours lockers. Library staff will place your material in a locker and give you a code for the keypad lock. When you arrive, just key in the code and the locker containing your items will open.

So remember, there’s no reason not to use the library when the weather’s bad or the flu is running rampant.

A Word About Winter Weather

Although the library rarely closes, Ohio’s winter months can be notorious, and Westlake Porter Public Library may be forced to close unexpectedly due to road conditions and travel advisories.
In severe weather, we urge you to call the library (440-871-2600) or check the web site to make sure we’re still open, or confirm that your program is “on” before heading out. You can also check the closings lists on local TV and radio stations.
If you’re responsible for picking up a child in bad weather, call the library from time to time to see if it is closing.

Notebook Computers Now Available for Use in the Library

Need to use a computer at the library, but the public stations are all in use? Want to use a library computer somewhere other than Electronic Services??We’ve got you covered. Thanks to funds awarded by North Coast Challenge, the library now has two notebook computers available for customer use in the library.

Notebooks can be checked out for in-library use for 2 hours, and can be used in most areas of the library, including the Reading Garden. They cannot be used in the Meeting Room wing and areas outside of the security gates.

Network cables are available if you prefer a wired connection to the Internet.
The notebook computers enable you to enjoy the same features of a library PC in many areas of the library, including:

  • Searching popular library research databases
  • Checking your e-mail
  • Working on your resume
  • Using the library website and catalog

You can also explore the Internet using Internet Explorer or Mozilla Firefox, and use the latest versions of Microsoft Office:

  • Microsoft Word 2007
  • Microsoft Excel 2007
  • Microsoft PowerPoint 2007
  • Microsoft Publisher 2007
  • Microsoft Access 2007

You can print from one of the borrowed notebooks just as you would from a PC in Electronic Services. Print to a black and white printer (.10 per page) or color printer (.25 per page) using your library card.
Just as with the PCs in Electronic Services, you should save your work to your own removable storage device. You will not be able to save material to the notebook. Also, you may want to keep an eye on the battery life left on the notebook and save your work before the battery is drained.
To check out a library notebook, just visit the Electronic Services Desk. Notebook borrowers must be over 18 and present their own library card and a valid photo ID.

Friends, Indeed!

A tireless and dedicated group of volunteers, the Friends of Porter Public Library members have worked countless hours and raised over $700,000 for the library.
Those funds underwrite special library programs and activities, including the Summer Reading Program, WestFest author visits, and library anniversary celebrations. The Friends also purchases special equipment and materials for the library such as vans for the Outreach program, furnishings for the Quiet Room and the Grandma’s Attic Imagination Station in Youth Services.

But the Friends of the Library is about more than fundraising. The group also sponsor programs designed to add to the social and cultural life of the community, including the annual Ice Cream Social, Books for Babies, and Sunday Sounds.

If you’re looking for a volunteer opportunity, you couldn’t find a better group to work with. The Friends offers several ways to volunteer:

Portables is a unique shop operated entirely by Friends volunteers. They are a member of the Museum Store Association, and carry a wide selection of reasonably priced merchandise. Scheduling of volunteer hours is flexible (most volunteers commit to at least three shifts a month).

The Book Nook is a used book store offering a wide selection of used books, DVDs, music CDs and more!

The Friends sell thousands of books every year and could use your help. Volunteers sell materials and sort and shelve incoming donations. This is a very flexible commitment.

Other events include the July Ice Cream Social and the Christmas tree and wreath decorating and auction. In addition, the Friends always needs bakers for the Ice Cream Social cake walk, Sunday Sounds programs and the Annual Used Book Sale.

Volunteers should be members of the Friends of Porter Public Library. If you’re interested, simply click here.

And remember, membership has perks, including admission to Preview Night at the Friends’ Annual Used Book Sale; 10% discounts at Dining with Panos, Dean’s Greenhouse and Portables Gift Shop; a coupon for 1 scoop of Mitchell’s Ice Cream and a $1.00 Used Book Buck for the Book Nook (2 coupons for Mitchell’s Ice Cream and the Book Nook with family membership).

Westfest 2009

Westfest 2009 was a rousing success! At left author Cinda Williams Chima discussed writer and reader interaction. Tess Gerritsen (center) shared the stories behind her novels, and Cynthia Lord (right) showed off the plaque commemorating her Newbery Honor Award. Thank you, Friends, for underwriting this wonderful series!