Heights Libraries opens local history room
Heights Libraries is pleased to announce the opening of its new Local History Room at the Lee Road branch.
Located on the building’s second floor, the room is the culmination of years of planning that began in 2016 with the library’s centennial celebration. That year, staff began pulling together photos and documents to create an online historical timeline for the Heights Libraries system.
“Once we had the library’s history documented, we decided to start looking at ways we could help community members learn more about the history of the area, and do their own research,” said Jessica Robinson, local history librarian. “First, we added local history resources to our website. Then we began figuring out where we could put a local history room.”
The Local History Room occupies the former Quiet Study Room, a large, glassed-in area that once provided a silent atmosphere for customers. After the small study rooms on the second floor became reservable a few years ago, use of the Quiet Study Room decreased, and the space was deemed the perfect size and location for the library’s local history collection. The space is large enough to accommodate a flatbed scanner, microfilm readers, a desk for the library’s local history librarian, and a work space for customers.
“This work is very meaningful for me, because building a local history collection is truly sacred and serious work,” Robinson said. “Archival repositories and the archivists who maintain them play a large role in determining cultural memory, because they choose whose histories are preserved through digitization and other methods. And in doing so, they also wind up determining who will have access to those stories in the future. In essence, those of us who work with historical material are writing tomorrow’s history today.”
The room’s materials include:
- City directories for Cleveland and its eastern suburbs
- Heights High Caldron yearbooks and alumni directories
- Local history reference books
- Sun Press and Cleveland Press microfilm
- Local history lectures and Cleveland Heights city council meetings on DVD
- Archival photographs, blueprints, and other documents chronicling the history of Heights Libraries
- Microfilm reader ScanPro 2200
- Book scanner KIC Bookeye 4v2
Library visitors can access the room most weekday afternoons, from 2 to 4 p.m., or can make a special appointment by e-mailing email@example.com.
Those who would like to borrow local history reference books, including city directories or yearbooks, can do so when the room is closed by requesting them from staff at the second-floor reference desk.
Sheryl Banks is the communications manager for the Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library System.