Lakewood OH

New library branch manager to pursue innovative programming

Jesse Sanders, manager of the Fairview Park Branch Library. (West Life photo by Kevin Kelley)

Jesse Sanders, manager of the Fairview Park Branch Library. (West Life photo by Kevin Kelley)

By Kevin Kelley
Fairview Park

Jesse Sanders, the new manager of the Fairview Park branch of the Cuyahoga County Public Library system, said he intends to offer more innovative programming at the Lorain Road building.

A $1-million renovation project, completed in the summer of 2012, included a new career center, a 16-terminal computer lab and renovations to the teen and children’s areas. So the branch is not in need of any drastic physical improvements.

By coincidence, the appointment of Sanders as branch manager this May was followed by turnover in a couple of department leader positions there. So Sanders is using it as an opportunity to brainstorm with his staff for new ideas and innovative ways of offering services.

Like many other libraries across the county, the Cuyahoga County Public Library system is looking to participate in the “maker movement,” a cultural and economic trend of individuals and groups using new technology to manufacture products. Some say the movement has the potential to do for manufacturing what the internet, inexpensive printers and desktop publishing software did to publishing.

In February, the system opened its first Innovation Center at its Garfield Heights branch. The center provides the public with free access to 3-D printers, laser engraving, vinyl cutting, a professional grade embroidery machine, and Mac and PC computer stations equipped with Adobe Creative Suite design software. Other innovation centers have been launched at the system’s Mayfield and Parma-Snow branches.

Although no plans exist to open an innovation center at the Fairview Park branch, Sanders said he hopes to offer maker-style programming there. He noted the Friends of the Fairview Park branch recently purchased a set of 15 Apple iPads which will be used for a variety of tech programming, including the design of 3-D objects.

Sanders hopes to attract the “tween” group of 8- to 14-year-olds with the maker-style tech programming.

“It grabs their attention and helps them develop a rapport with the library,” Sanders told West Life.

A native of Benton Harbor, Mich., Sanders said the branch will maintain its genealogy collection, which has long been one of its strengths.

Sanders, who received his master of library and information science degree from Kent State University, said he does not believe libraries face a conflict between offering access to traditional books versus digital forms of information.

“We’re in the business of providing access to information,” Sanders said. As newer collections of information become available in digital formats, Sanders believes libraries need to help people who have internet literacy or access challenges.

Sanders, who majored in English at Youngstown State University, said his chosen profession has turned out to be a good one for him.

“As a librarian, I have a million interests, so this is the best kind of job for me,” he told West Life.

Elaine Wilkinson

Elaine Wilkinson

Sanders has been with the county library system for eight years, the past six as the branch manager at the Warrensville Heights location. A West Park resident, Sanders is pleased his new job involves a much shorter commute.

Sanders succeeded Elaine Wilkinson, who retired in March after 17 years with the Cuyahoga County Public Library.

“Elaine and I are really good friends,” Sanders told West Life. He said they often share cooking recipes.



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