November 19, 2014

A tour of a historic public library after its controversial sale


The South Euclid Library, a branch of the Cuyahoga Library System in Cleveland Ohio, looks like a medieval castle or an English manor house. USA Today included the library on its list of “10 Great Places to Find a Nook and Read a Book” with an recommendation from librarian Nancy Pearl:

“Built in 1928, this library is the former residence of William Telling, a wealthy Ohioan,” Pearl says. “His mansion is like a dream of a library with beautiful leaded windows, a reading garden with a fountain and 26 different rooms.” Among them: a greenhouse, an aviary and a cozy study. “Although the past is very much alive here, the needs of present-day library users — for new books, Internet access, discussion groups and homework help — are not neglected.”

Its character and charm is part of the reason a committee to save the library has been fighting for two years against a decision by the city to sell the library. Even though a petition has been circulated with over 2,500 signatures, the situation looks dire — the property has already been purchased by Richard Barone, who plans to turn the space into The American Porcelain Museum.

Do you have an opinion about the future of this library? Do you know of a situation in your city where there is a similar fight for preservation of a library taking place? If so, please email [email protected].

Claire Kelley is the Director of Library and Academic Marketing at Melville House.