Congratulations to SPL Director Mark Shaw on retirement this month after 35 years of dedication to the library!

Mark has guided SPL through many highs and lows, and we thank him for his steady leadership. Mark may be ending this chapter of his time at SPL, but he hopes the next chapter includes plenty of time to read and frequent the library as a patron. Read Mark's farewell below.


A Farewell from Director Mark Shaw

MShaw2016 cropWhen I came to Southwest Public Libraries in January 1986, it was then known as the Grove City Public Library. The Grove City Library was on Park Street across from the Grove City Police Station, and Westland Area Library was a tiny branch of 6,000 square feet known as the Prairie Branch Library.

My first job with SPL was Treasurer for the library system. In 1989, I added the title of Operations Manager with responsibility for technology and buildings. I became Director in 2002 upon the retirement of Frances Black. When I first came to SPL, I did not intend to stay long. My goal was to become a portfolio manager and financial analyst.

But I fell in love with the library. I love the concept of libraries connecting patrons with library materials and information and entertainment regardless of wealth or status. I love the fact that anyone can walk into a public library and access the whole universe of knowledge without spending one dime. I loved it so much that I made it my career and life’s work.

Many changes have occurred since 1986. Computers were just starting to become a force for libraries when I started but are now ubiquitous. The internet was a decade away but is now so entwined with daily life that we use it without thought. Patrons are no longer limited by what is on the shelf at Grove City or Westland. Millions of items, both paper and electronic, are a click away. In partnership with the City of Grove City, a new Grove City Library was opened on Broadway in 2016, shining today as one of Grove City’s jewels. The Westland Area Library has expanded from 6,000 square feet to 27,000 square feet, including a beautiful new Youth Services Department that was opened in 2019.

But these accomplishments are certainly not mine alone. Many people have worked hard to advance Southwest Public Libraries through the years. I have spent the last 35 years surrounded by talented and hardworking staff members who have worked with me as a team to continuously improve library service.

Dozens of community volunteers have served as library trustees and have volunteered thousands of hours towards the cultivation of SPL. Grove City resident Jeff Davis and his team of dedicated volunteers passed SPL’s first levy in 2010 and made the expansions of the last ten years possible. The determination and hard work of Grove City Mayor Richard L. “Ike” Stage and Grove City Administrator Chuck Boso enabled the new Grove City Library to come to fruition.

Finally, but not least, the support of our patrons and community has made SPL what it is today. Without you, we could not have passed our levy, and without you, it would not have been renewed in the middle of a worldwide pandemic. We are grateful.

SPL has not been without lows. During my tenure, there have been four major economic downturns which forced me to make painful cuts to staff and services. The Financial Crisis of 2008-2009 was particularly brutal and forced me to make the heartbreaking decision to lay off a sizable portion of the loyal and hardworking library staff to deal with budget cuts. That time was the low point of my career. Before passing a levy in 2010, we had failed seven levies in a row, which was a bitter disappointment. But with the support of our community, we have proved SPL is resilient.

In December 2017, I informed the Board of Trustees of my intention to retire in early 2021. Little did I know back then that my final year would be upended by a worldwide pandemic. I spent my entire career trying to make libraries more inviting, accessible, and user-friendly and yet in this past year have been forced to scale everything back in an effort to keep everyone safe. The past year has brought unprecedented disruption to library service, and I am grateful that our patrons have stuck with us as we have adapted service to respond to conditions we never thought we would experience.

I have pledged to the Board of Trustees to do whatever is necessary to ensure a smooth and successful transition to a new director. It has been an honor and a privilege to serve the SPL community over the last 35 years, and I extend heartfelt gratitude to all of those who have helped and supported me along the way. I will always love SPL.

 

With gratitude,

 


Mark M. Shaw


 “I am unsure where the library would be today without Mark’s financial acumen, keen ability to gather people in support of SPL, and all the sheer hard work and determination he put into promoting SPL’s value to the community...The work he has done here during his 35 years of service has had a major impact on the organization and will not be forgotten.”

-Michele Lowe, Assistant Director Westland Area Library

 

"It’s not an overstatement to assert that Southwest Public Libraries exists in its current state primarily because of the expertise and stewardship of retiring director Mark Shaw. He played a major role in SPL’s operations in his first position as Clerk/Treasurer. After his promotion to Library Director in 2002, Mark guided the library through both the most difficult and successful periods in its history. His financial acumen and foresight during economic downturns and funding struggles allowed the library to continue operation. He made tough decisions that led to SPL’s very survival. The decisions he made in the hard times paved the way for a brighter future." 

-Bethanne Johnson, Assistant Director Grove City Library (Ret. Sep 2020)

The Southwest Public Library Board of Trustees has selected Meredith Wickham, most recently Director of First Regional Library located in northern Mississippi, to succeed Mark Shaw as SPL's next Director. Shaw is retiring at the end of January after 35 years at the library.

Grove City, Ohio—In late January, Southwest Public Libraries (SPL) will start a new chapter in its history as it bids farewell to current library Director Mark M. Shaw and welcomes new Director Meredith E. Wickham. Shaw is retiring at the end of January after 35 years at SPL, having served as Director since 2002. SPL’s Board of Trustees appointed Wickham as the next Director after conducting a nationwide search with the assistance of library executive search consultants Bradbury Miller Associates. Wickham will start January 25.

Meredith currently serves as Director of First Regional Library, overseeing operations for one of the largest public library systems in Mississippi. Previously, she served in public libraries in South Carolina and Mississippi as a Circulation Assistant, Young Adult Librarian, Branch Manager, and System Director. The American Library Association (ALA) named Meredith an Emerging Leader, and the Mississippi Library Association (MLA) granted her one of its most prestigious honors, the Peggy May Award.

Meredith received her Bachelor of Arts in French and German from Berry College in Rome, Georgia and her Master of Library and Information Studies from the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa. 

“Meredith is a seasoned professional who will lead us into the future. She is a fierce advocate for public libraries in the areas of youth literacy, staff development, and equity. She also has extensive experience lobbying for funding in her state, among other talents. We are excited to welcome her to Buckeye country,” says SPL’s Board of Trustees.

Shaw started as Treasurer for the library system in 1986 before quickly adding the title of Operations Manager and eventually Director. Holding both an MBA and MLIS, Shaw’s financial acumen and careful stewardship has helped SPL not only weather several major economic downturns and cuts to funding during his tenure but also grow exponentially. During his years as Director, SPL passed its first ever successful levy, which voters renewed this past April, built a new Grove City Library in partnership with the City of Grove City, and expanded Westland Area Library.

“I am unsure where the library would be today without Mark’s financial acumen, keen ability to gather people in support of SPL, and all the sheer hard work and determination he put into promoting SPL’s value to the community,” says Michele Lowe, Assistant Director of the Westland Area branch of SPL. “The work he has done here during his 35 years of service has had a major impact on the organization and will not be forgotten.”

Wickham will spend time with Shaw before his departure to ensure a smooth and successful transition.

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Stay tuned for farewell reflections from current Director Mark Shaw as well as an introduction from incoming Director Meredith Wickham.

Services and Hours Effective Monday, November 23

For the continued safety of our community, SPL will return to a revised, limited no-contact service model beginning Monday, November 23. 

There will be no building access except for no-contact services in the entryway. Patrons may still borrow items but through our revised no-contact holds pickup only. You no longer need to schedule a time to pick up holds, just call 15-20 minutes before you plan to arrive. Find more details below.

SPL has made this decision in light of exponentially surging COVID-19 cases and the newest health advisories from both the county and stateThe newest advisories mark severe exposure and spread wherein residents are strongly urged to only leave home for work, school, or essential needs.

No-Contact Services Available

  • No-Contact Holds Pickup (Easier than ever! You no longer need to schedule. Just call 15-20 min. before arrival. Details below.)
  • No-Contact Print, Copy, Scan, Fax
  • Returns
  • Grab & Go Bundles
  • Take & Make Kits
  • Virtual Programming
  • Digital Library 24/7

Hours of Service

  • Mon, Tue, Fri, & Sat: 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
  • Wed & Thu: 12:00 p.m. – 7 p.m.
  • Sun: Closed


***Masks that appropriately cover the mouth and nose are required for no-contact services. Thank you for helping us keep staff and others safe.***


No-Contact Holds Pickup (Revised. You spoke. We listened.)

You are still able to borrow items but through no-contact holds pickup only. You no longer need to call to schedule a pickup time, just call 15-20 minutes before you plan to arrive to pick up your holds. We’ve listened to your feedback about the difficulty of scheduled appointments and have made this adjustment to be more convenient yet still as safe as possible.

To borrow materials:

  • Place a hold request via the online catalog or by calling the library
  • Wait for a notification that your items are ready.
  • Call 15 – 20 minutes before you plan to arrive to pick up your holds so staff can then check out your items, bag them, and place them on the holds pick up tables just inside the entrance. You do not need to schedule a pickup time, just call 15 – 20 minutes before you plan to arrive.

    • Please be ready to provide your library card number when calling.
    • Bagged holds on the pickup table are already checked out; you may just grab your holds and go.
    • During busy times preparing your holds may take a bit longer. Thank you for your patience.
    • Please do not pick up holds if you or someone in your family is sick. Call us, and we will work with you to make sure your holds will still be there when you are well.

Grove City no-contact holds pickup: (614)-875-6716 x.501
Westland no-contact holds pickup: (614)-878-1301 x. 601


No-Contact Print, Copy, Scan, Fax

Limited no-contact printing, copying, scanning, and faxing will be available. Please call the library for details and assistance.
Grove City: 614-875-6716 ext. 503. Westland: 614-878-1301 ext. 603.


Returns

Returns are available during no-contact service hours only. Please use the outdoor bookdrop (Westland) or marked bins just inside the doors (Grove City). Returns are unavailable outside of service hours to prevent overflow.

Materials Quarantine
Returned items will be quarantined for at least 96 hours before being checked in and removed from a patron's account. This safety measure conforms with current results from the REALM project which is studying how long the COVID-19 virus lasts on common library, archives, and museum materials. SPL is fine free; patrons will not accrue overdue fines during the quarantine period.


Grab & Go, Take & Make, Virtual Programming

Grab & Go

Book Bundles and Storytime Kits are available for checkout.

  • Ask for a surprise book bundle available during service hours or request to have a personalized bundle put together just for you. Call the library (Grove City ext. 503, Westland ext. 603), request online (Kids, Teen/Adult), or fill out a form during no-contact hours.

  • Storytime Kits can be reserved online or by calling Youth Services, Grove City ext. 502, Westland ext. 602.

Take & Make Kits

Each week, we offer fun take-home craft & activity kits available for both youth and adults. Available for pickup during no-contact hours while supplies last. See what’s coming up via the website calendar, Facebook events, or in the Happenings Newsletter (find online version under the website ‘Calendar’ tab.)

Virtual Programming

Join us for your favorite youth and adult programs presented online via our Facebook and YouTube accounts. See what’s coming up via the website calendar, Facebook events, or in the Happenings Newsletter (find online version under the website ‘Calendar’ tab.)


Digital Library

Our digital library is open 24/7. Browse and borrow tens of thousands of titles anytime, anywhere from eBooks, eAudiobooks, and eMagazines to streaming music and movies and more, or explore one of the many research, DIY, and business databases available under the ‘Resource’ tab.


FAQs

Access: When will access expand?
Safety remains our priority. SPL will expand service and access cautiously as health and safety conditions allow.

Book Donations: Are you accepting book donations?
We are unable to accept book donations at this time.

Holds: Why are my holds taking so long?
We are working to get items to you as quickly as possible. Hold times may be longer due to transport and quarantine procedures. All items received from other libraries for holds will be quarantined for 96 hours before being made available for pickup. This four-day quarantine conforms with results from the REALM study conducted by Battelle which studied the longevity of the COVID-19 virus on common library materials. Thank you for your patience.

Hours: Why are hours limited?
Our hours are temporarily adjusted in order to be able to provide service safely within staffing, budget, and safety constraints.

We’ve re-worked our staffing so that should a staff member test positive for COVID-19, we can avoid quarantining the entire staff and disrupting service to patrons. We also require more time to thoroughly clean and disinfect each day to keep everyone safe.

Sunday hours are currently cut due to cuts in Public Library Funding (PLF) from the state. The PLF provides the majority of SPL funding, and SPL has cut all staff hours by 10% and enacted a hiring freeze to help make up some of this deficit. Sunday hours will be restored once funding is restored.

Returns: When and where can I return my items?
You may return items during no-contact service hours. Please use the marked bins (Grove City) or outdoor bookdrops (Westland). Bookdrops are closed outside of service hours in order to make sure items do not overflow the return bins.

Returns: I returned my books. Why are they still on my account?
For safety, returned materials will be quarantined for at least 96 hours before being checked in, removed from a patron’s account, and made available to other patrons. SPL is fine-free, so patrons will not accrue overdue fines. This quarantine practice is in accordance with results from the REALM study conducted by Battelle which studied the longevity of the COVID-19 virus on common library materials.

Safety measures: What safety measures is the library taking to protect patrons’ health?
The safety and health of our patrons and staff remain our priority. SPL has implemented many measures including changing layouts and service practices to support social distancing and minimize contact, increasing sanitizing and disinfecting of high-contact areas, and following materials quarantine practices as recommended by results from the REALM study conducted by Battelle. Staff have been trained in proper sanitizing and disinfecting methods and are required to wear masks or face shields when working.

Virtual Author Talk Jason Reynolds
Sunday, January  24, 2021 at 4 p.m.

Register for this free event here: www.crowdcast.io/e/centralohioreads 

Join us for a free virtual talk with author Jason Reynolds on Sunday, January 24 at 4 p.m. featuring the book Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi. This event concludes our Let’s Talk About Race: One Book – One Community collaborative initiative with other central Ohio libraries. The talk will include a short, moderated Q & A and is suitable for ages middle school through adult.


Let’s Talk About Race: One Book – One Community is brought to you by Southwest Public Libraries in collaboration with Bexley Public Library, Columbus Metropolitan Library, Grandview Heights Public Library, London Public Library, Plain City Public Library, Upper Arlington Public Library, Westerville Public Library, and Worthington Libraries. 


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About the Book

Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You is an amazingly timely and stunningly accessible manifesto by bestselling author Jason Reynolds. While written for young people, this non-fiction remix of Stamped from the Beginning by Ibram X. Kendi is a timely read for people of all ages and is packed with relevant information that is poised to help promote dialogue and bridge the differences that divide us.

About Jason Reynolds
Jason Reynolds is an American New York Times best-selling author who writes novels and poetry for young adult and middle-grade audiences. Born in Washington, DC and raised in neighboring Oxon Hill, Maryland, Reynolds found inspiration in rap to begin writing poetry at nine years old. He focused on poetry for approximately the next two decades, only reading a novel cover to cover for the first time at age 17 and publishing several poetry collections before he published his own first novel, When I Was The Greatest, in 2014.

Reynolds is a Newbery Award Honoree, a Printz Award Honoree, National Book Award Honoree, a Kirkus Award winner, a two-time Walter Dean Myers Award winner, an NAACP Image Award Winner, and the recipient of multiple Coretta Scott King honors. His many books include When I Was the GreatestBoy in the Black SuitAll American Boys (cowritten with Brendan Kiely), As Brave as YouFor Every One, the Track series (Ghost, Patina, Sunny, and Lu), Long Way Down, which received both a Newbery Honor and a Printz Honor, and Look Both Ways. You can find his ramblings at JasonWritesBooks.com.

**Registration for the free virtual talk with author Jason Reynolds is now open! Register at www.crowdcast.io/e/centralohioreads**

 

SPL invites you to join us for this special One Book – One Community read and virtual author talk to reflect together about race, history, injustice, and a better future.

  • The Read: November 9, 2020 – January 24, 2021. Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Ibram X. Kendi and Jason Reynolds

  • Virtual Author Talk: January 24, 2021, 4 pm with author Jason Reynolds. Free event. Registration opens in early January.

  • Reserve a Copy: available in print, audio, and digital formats. Reserve through the catalog, in Overdrive or Libby apps, or by calling the library.
    Special thanks to the Friends of Southwest Public Libraries for their generous sponsorship of extra copies of this title.

  • Resources: SPL will have resource kits available with materials for all ages to explore together to help facilitate conversations about race, racism, and equality.

  • Educator and Discussion Guides: Click for a free educator guide and a discussion guide from the publisher.

  • Hashtag: Share your photos, reflections, or resources with the social media hashtag #centralohioreads

LIBRARIES PARTNER ON ONE BOOK-ONE COMMUNITY INITIATIVE

SPL and partner libraries encourage discussion of race with community reading of Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Ibram X. Kendi and Jason Reynolds

Southwest Public Libraries is pleased to have partnered with eight other central Ohio library systems to promote a community read of Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Ibram X. Kendi and Jason Reynolds as part of a Let’s Talk About Race: One Book – One Community initiative that will conclude with a virtual author talk.

Let’s Talk About Race: One Book – One Community kicks off on Monday, November 9, 2020 and continues through Sunday, January 24, 2021 when SPL and partner libraries will host author Jason Reynolds in a free virtual discussion of the book at 4 pm.

Geared towards both teens (grades 7 and up) and adults, the initiative is designed to cultivate dialogue and better understanding about race and social justice through shared reading experience and discussion. During the 11-week program, each library will continue to work with local schools and other community partners to promote reading and discussion of the book.

Registration for the free virtual event with Jason Reynolds, which will include a moderated Q & A, will begin in early January. More details will be provided at a later date.

SPL and partner libraries have purchased hundreds of additional copies of Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You as well as prepared various programs and resources to support this community read. The title is available in print, audio, and digital formats and can be reserved through the web catalog, on Overdrive or Libby, or by calling the library.

To help families begin conversations on race, racism, and equality, SPL will offer resource kits with materials for all ages that parents, children, teens, and young adults can explore together. Kits will include curated books, book lists for further reading, conversation guides, educational materials written by experts, as well as reader and book club guides for Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You.

Through this initiative, SPL hopes readers will find opportunity to come together, listen, learn, and join in common purpose to strengthen our community.


About the Book
Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You is an amazingly timely and stunningly accessible manifesto by bestselling author Jason Reynolds. While written for young people, this non-fiction remix of Stamped from the Beginning by Ibram X. Kendi is a timely read for people of all ages and is packed with relevant information that is poised to help promote dialogue and bridge the differences that divide us.

About Jason Reynolds
Jason Reynolds is an American New York Times best-selling author who writes novels and poetry for young adult and middle-grade audiences. Born in Washington, DC and raised in neighboring Oxon Hill, Maryland, Reynolds found inspiration in rap to begin writing poetry at nine years old. He focused on poetry for approximately the next two decades, only reading a novel cover to cover for the first time at age 17 and publishing several poetry collections before he published his own first novel, When I Was The Greatest, in 2014.

Reynolds is a Newbery Award Honoree, a Printz Award Honoree, National Book Award Honoree, a Kirkus Award winner, a two-time Walter Dean Myers Award winner, an NAACP Image Award Winner, and the recipient of multiple Coretta Scott King honors. His many books include When I Was the Greatest, Boy in the Black Suit, All American Boys (cowritten with Brendan Kiely), As Brave as You, For Every One, the Track series (Ghost, Patina, Sunny, and Lu), Long Way Down, which received both a Newbery Honor and a Printz Honor, and Look Both Ways. You can find his ramblings at JasonWritesBooks.com.

About This Partnership
In addition to sharing resources, central Ohio libraries have a history of collaboration. A discussion that began in July 2020 of how to work together to increase community understanding and promote constructive dialogue on the topic of race in America resulted in this One Book – One Community program, which encourages friends, families and neighbors to share their personal experience while reading the same book. Participating libraries are: Bexley Public Library, Columbus Metropolitan Library, Grandview Heights Public Library, London Public Library, Plain City Public Library, Southwest Public Libraries, Upper Arlington Public Library, Westerville Public Library and Worthington Libraries.


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Library Hours

Sun: Closed
Mon, Tue, Fri, Sat      10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Wed-Thur 12:00 PM - 7:00 PM

 

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Grove City Library

3959 Broadway
Grove City, OH 43123
(614)-875-6716

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Westland Area Library

4740 West Broad Street
Columbus, OH 43228
(614)-878-1301

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