On Wednesday morning, February 20th, we represented Margaret W. Wong & Associates, LLC at the Cleveland Public Library (CPL) 150th Anniversary Host Committee breakfast that took place at the Union Club on East 12th Street in Cleveland. Mr. Felton Thomas, the CPL Executive Director and CEO, talked about our library’s history as well as the very promising events planned for its 150th anniversary throughout 2019.
He mentioned that the Carnegie-West branch of the CPL, established in 1910, years ago acted as a bridge into the Cleveland community for people who immigrated to the United States from Hungary. As was the case with many immigrant groups, those from Hungary were initially regarded with suspicion but those in charge of Carnegie-West arranged to have a program in which the Hungarians would display their beautiful clothing and offer samplings of their delicious food. As a result, Clevelanders became more welcoming.
We also learned that Mr. Steve Potash, Founder and CEO of Rakuten OverDrive, who was seated at our table, was an important figure in the establishment of our library’s e-book system.
Most of all, Mr. Thomas was eager to share with us exciting programs planned for this year including a presentation of puppets from all over the world, visitations from renowned authors for the writers and readers series, a downtown street festival taking place this July; a “Book Ball Gala” in November; and a photographic exploration of Cleveland drawn from the 2 million photos that the CPL has in its archives.
The 150th anniversary celebration will conclude with the Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Ceremony on January 20th, 2020 in which the library will ‘honor 150 local grass-roots community leaders in the city of Cleveland who have made a difference in their own neighborhoods, families or libraries.”
The two honorary chairs for the 150th celebration are Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish, who unfortunately couldn’t join us at the Union Club due to a family emergency, and Cleveland Mayor Frank G. Jackson who was there with us.
Along with Mr. Thomas, we also heard from:
- Mr. Thomas Dewey, Medical Mutual Senior Vice President, People and Strategy and CPL Foundation Board Member, who delivered the welcoming remarks in which he referred to our library as one of Cleveland’s “most treasured and valued assets.”
- Mr. Aaron O’Brien, Principal at O’Brien Company Limited and CPL Foundation Board President, who talked about the CPL Foundation and its great value to our community.
- Ms. Samantha Joseph, Commercial Escrow Officer/Underwriter at Chicago Insurance Company and CPL Foundation Board President, who shared with us ways that we can become further involved with the 150th anniversary activities.
Before we left, we thanked Dr. Shenise Johnson Thomas and Ms. Marina Marquez, both from CPL External Relations and Development, for working so hard to organize such a beautiful event that motivated us to becoming more involved in the gatherings planned for the rest of 2019.