an honorable part of a man’s history.”
Top right: Bertram Woods Branch nears completion in 1960.
1st row, l-r: Summer readers with their award certificates in 1961; pet owners on the lawn after the
Children’s Pet Show, 1993; volunteers pose with the Friends Intergenerational Quilt, 1992; Young readers
in the Children’s Room, 1992; Christine Bretz and sons share a book in the Reading Garden, 1993.
2nd Row, l-r: Children get ready for school with Back-to-School Stories on the Bus, 2005; KeyBank volunteers
spiff up the Reading Garden, 2017; Dave Greene of the Friends presents author Susan Orlean with a photograph
of her favorite library, 2019; Cook the Book Club members after another tasty read, discuss and eat program, 2019.
– Henry Ward Beecher
WWW.SHAKER.LIFE | SPRING 2020 19
The Bertram Woods Branch building site was selected in part because Woods’
will stipulated that his bequest should be used for “the establishment or
maintenance of a public library at Warrensville Center,” and also because,
according to J. W. Main, then the clerk-treasurer of the Library, “It will attract many
new users, as it will serve an area from which few persons find their way to the Main
Library. Also, it will be near to three large private schools.”
In 1957, the Library board purchased land from the Shaker Heights Board of
Education and started planning construction, which began the next year. The building
was designed by the Cleveland architectural firm Fulton, DelaMotte, Larson, Nassau and
Associates. The Branch was completed in June 1960. Margaret Campbell, former U.S.
Army Librarian in France and Germany, served as the first Branch Librarian.
The community celebrated its opening day on June 6, 1960, by checking out 500
books. The Community Room was named the Dietz Room, to honor David Dietz,
Pulitzer-prize winning author and science editor of The Cleveland Press, who served on
the Library Board for 39 years.
Woods has enjoyed a dedicated clientele. The popularity of its growing fiction
collection necessitated an expansion in 1977. And as more families began to use
the Branch, more space was needed for a children’s area. In 1991, construction was
completed on an addition that added a
40-foot by 42-foot children’s wing, 3,200
feet of basement storage space, an Audio-
Visual room, a library office, and a new
heating and ventilating system.
In 1993, Woods Branch added a
Reading Garden made possible by a
bequest from the estate of Hazel D. Watt
and a significant contribution from Sally
Hopwood. Friends of the Shaker Library
and other library lovers contributed to
a capital campaign. The building was
refurbished between September 2002 and
May 2003. In the 2020s, following the
renovation of Main Library, Woods will
also be renovated.
Let’s celebrate a “little library
growing” through the years. SL