Former Heights Libraries Director Steve Wood Dies at 81

It is with a heavy heart that we share the sad news that our former Heights Libraries director Stephen D. Wood passed away last week in East Norriton, PA, at the age of 81. He had been fighting cancer.

Wood joined the staff in 1977 as supervisor of adult services. He planned and implemented the Heights Libraries’ successful on-line connection to the Cleveland Public Library’s new automated system, known today as CLEVNET. Heights Libraries was the first system to join CLEVNET.

In 1980, Wood was promoted to deputy director of the Heights Library System and served in that capacity until 1988, when then-Director Rachel Wayne Nelson retired. Wood was then named director, and served that role until his retirement in 2008, two years after the renovation of the Lee Road branch.

Wood served as president of the Ohio Library Association (now Ohio Library Council) from 1990-91. He chaired the Association’s Library Development Committee from 1986-88 and was named Librarian of the Year in 1998 by that organization.

Wood also served on the Cleveland Area Metropolitan Library System (CAMLS) Pilot Delivery Study Task Force, its Automated Circulation Task Force, Interlibrary Loan Policy Task Force and Strategic Planning Committee. CAMLS was absorbed into the North East Ohio Regional Library System where Wood served on its Board of Directors.

Steve Wood introduces young library customers to new technology in the 80s.

In 1995, Wood was one of the founding members of the Ohio Public Library Information Network (OPLIN), which provides telecommunications and electronic databases to all 251 public libraries in the state. Wood served on OPLIN’s board from its inception through May 1999. In addition, Wood served on the Cleveland Heights Visioning Committee and its Advisory Council for 211/First Call for Help, a United Way agency.

According to Wood’s obituary:

“He is survived by his beloved wife of 59 years, Peg, his children: Kristen Wood, of Charlotte, NC; Regan Wood-Nelson (E.Erich) of Audubon, PA, and Eric Wallace Wood of Guatemala, grandchildren and even great-grandchildren.

He is additionally survived by a brother-in-law, John A. “Jib” Ellis of Martha’s Vineyard, two nephews, Joe (Shannon) Ellis of Philadelphia and Tim (Donna) Ellis of Lebec, California, and was pre-deceased by one grandson, Conor Wood-Cattell.”

In lieu of flowers Wood’s family requests that contributions be made to the Fund for the Future of Heights Libraries.

2 comments on “Former Heights Libraries Director Steve Wood Dies at 81

  1. Sorry for your loss Peg and family. A lot of memories from the library.

  2. My condolences to Peg and Steve’s family. Steve was a great boss to work for: forward-thinking, he encouraged us to take chances, to learn from our mistakes, and to always see our library from our customers’ point of view. Although he held strong opinions, he was open to changing his mind when presented with new information, and despite his hard-working nature, he was always open to a good laugh and making the job fun. Once, in the name of the library’s support for the local community, he invited me to take a break and go sample the beer at a new brewery that had recently opened near the library. And so, besides being an outstanding boss to work for, he was a great friend to work with.

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