During the 1920s the population of Cleveland Heights soared, rising from 15,236 persons living within municipal city limits in 1920 to 53,309 in 1930. This was an increase of 250% overall and a school age increase of 268%. With this rapid expansion in population came a swelling of new city services and a great improvement upon what services had previously existed. The library was one such service as the body of library users grew from 10,618 patrons in 1921 to 115,080 in 1931. During the 1930s the figure rose again to include 146,010 patrons in 1939. Annual circulation rose from 69,511 items circulated in 1921 to 673,750 items in 1931 and 146,010 items in 1939. The per capita circulation was noted as “The second highest of all cities with a population of 35,000 and more, whose statistics are tabulated annually by the American Library Association.”

Interestingly, at this time the library also staffed the school libraries which they counted as branches, so in 1931 the Cleveland Heights system had 8 full “branches” including one in the high school! (See attached photos of displays at the high school branch from 1939 and 1941.) Library staff also grew during this time from 6 full time employees in 1921 to 43 in 1931. Library staff numbered 70 persons in 1941, a figure which included staff who had previously not been counted such as janitors, part time janitresses, clerical workers, and pages.

Today the city of Cleveland Heights has roughly 44,633 persons living within municipal city limits and University Heights has 13,126. In 2016 a grand total of 1,481,886 items were checked out, 867,110 visitors came through the library doors at our branches, and we hosted 5,711 library programs with 67,662 patrons attending. And as of December 31, 2016 there were 45,778 library cardholders registered at the library, patrons who can borrow items from anywhere within Clevnet. We currently have four beautiful branches, including University Heights which was recently renovated. For more detailed statistics, please see our Comprehensive Annual Financial Report from the end of 2016.

And please enjoy the attached statistics from our earliest days which include comparative figures showing use of the library, the population of Cleveland Heights, and an amazing write up from 1933 called A Founders Day Tableau that recollects the history of the first 30 years of the city. Many wonderful details are to be found therein, including information about the old plank road, the toll booth, and Mayor Cain’s dream.

If you want to see more photos and information like this, please visit our Ohio Memory page.

Heights High Book Week 1939

Heights High Book Displays in 1941

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