CLEVELAND – The Cleveland Public Library is a city crown jewel, a respected institution for creativity and discovery. The People’s University will always be like this. However, when we approach ours Founder’s Day on February 17thWe are beginning a new era – an era in which we will all succeed. An era in which we work together, not in silos. An era when justice exists for all.
It’s been almost a year since COVID-19 changed the way we live, work, and play. The Cleveland Public Library had to get creative and adapt to the changing times to meet the needs of our community. The pandemic exposed the harsh realities of inequality in our city and our country. As a place for people built by people, People’s University decided that it could no longer remain neutral. We advocated change to create a better society.
Our commitment to the community went beyond books. We have partnered with organizations like PCs for People and Digital C to help establish digital equity. We’ve boosted our Wi-Fi signal outside of our buildings and added more hotspots to keep people connected and informed. The library created programs like Writers & readers Providing a platform for people to listen, learn, and interview thought leaders on social issues. The Cleveland Public Library aims to provide solution-oriented tools that benefit the neighborhoods we serve. Our common future as a community is a bright light of possibilities.
Amid a global pandemic, the death of George Floyd, the 2020 census, and one of the most controversial elections in our nation’s history, we refreshed the library’s strategic direction to evolve a new vision. Not just a vision for our library, but also for our city. Our vision for Cleveland is a city where opportunity is accessible to all, and the Cleveland Public Library is an empowered library. Our new priorities will ensure that we connect Clevelanders with critical services that meet basic needs. Build 21st century resources that create inclusive opportunities; cultivate a love of reading; Create space for important conversations; and inspire by discovering art and culture.
We will work with our partners on these priorities because they create opportunities and because it is our mission to be the People’s University, the center of learning in a diverse and inclusive community.
We have begun to keep our promise to Cleveland voters with ours Facilities master planThis describes our vision to transform every branch library in our system in the coming years. This spring, we will be laying the foundation for the first branch libraries, which will either be renovated or rebuilt to better serve our communities. Our future is really building. Finally we are ready to introduce a new branding: a new logo; Color palette; and visual identity for the library – all of this is part of our refreshed approach to a new year and the future.
We cannot predict how this global pandemic will continue to change our world in the months and years to come. Regardless, I am confident that together the Cleveland Public Library – our employees, our board of directors, our partners, and the community – is ready to stay strong and be part of a better, healthier future for all Clevelanders.
Felton Thomas Jr. is the executive director and CEO of the Cleveland Public Library.
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