05 10, 2021

Chapter Closes on the Read House Building

By |2021-05-10T08:00:05-04:00May 10, 2021|

The Read House building was demolished on Monday, May 10.

Some of its joists and beams were set aside for use by Cardinal Woodworking, a local carpenter who specializes in building with reclaimed lumber. Cardinal Woodworking is repurposing parts of the building to create unique furniture for the library that honors the history of the Read House.

The library will continue to use the surrounding green space extensively this summer for outdoor story times and other programs for families.

Previously, the Mentor Public Library Board of Trustees voted to enter into a contract with ProSupply Inc. for the abatement and demolition of the Read House building (located next door to our Main Branch at 8245 Mentor Ave.) CT Consultants – the architect on the project – recommended ProSupply as the lowest responsible bidder.

The contract was in the amount of $54,434, including a $5,000 contingency.

Corey of Cardinal Woodworking reclaims the poplar flooring that will be used to make unique furniture that honors the history of the Read House building

Corey of Cardinal Woodworking reclaims the poplar flooring that will be used to make unique furniture that honors the history of the Read House building

Before the building was demolished, many of its unique furnishings were reclaimed and repurposed. Cardinal Woodworking reclaimed some of the building’s poplar flooring.

Additionally, Lake History Center is preserving some of its interior furnishings, including doorknobs and light fixtures, for posterity.

And the Mentor Fire Department used the roof for vertical ventilation training.

A firefighter from Mentor Fire Department practices vertical ventilation training.

A firefighter from Mentor Fire Department practices vertical ventilation training.

Parts of the Read House were more than a century old, and the building would have needed extensive repairs if it were to continue being used by the public. While it’s difficult to guess how much renovation would cost because any repairs would require asbestos or lead-paint abatement, the library conservatively estimated in 2018 that it would require more than $200,000 for the building to meet public-safety standards. The cost would be even higher now.

The Read Property was purchased it in 2009. The Read House – the building specifically, not the property on which it stands – was available for purchase for 18 months. However, the library didn’t receive any offers. The library also contacted the Lake County History Center and Cleveland Restoration Society. While both organizations helpfully shared their expertise, neither were able to help find funds for renovation or were interested in procuring the building themselves.

HB4116The Read House lawn provides a unique opportunity to offer outdoor library programming. We’ve used its lawn and surrounding green space to host concerts, campfires, community art projects, story times, scavenger hunts, nature journaling programs, Summer Reading parties, and more. More than 11,000 of our patrons have attended programs there.

Meanwhile, the Read House building, built in 1868, has presented numerous challenges. Additions and repairs were made over a ten-year time period to try to make the private house more usable for the public, including:

  • Making the building’s first floor ADA compliant, including adding an entry ramp
  • Adding structural supports to the building’s basement so it could handle the increased foot traffic and weight once the private home was opened to the public
  • Lead paint and asbestos abatement was required during all previous repairs

Despite these renovations, it was still difficult to make a previously private home serve as a public building. The small rooms on the main floor could not be reconfigured because the walls are loadbearing. And the second floor does not have ADA access, nor can it structurally support anything more than light storage.

As a result, the use of the building has been limited. Book sales were held on the first floor and the front room was used for small group weekly children’s story time. Even then, the building’s small rooms and narrow halls presented obstacles to patrons, especially those with mobility issues.

Even before the pandemic, we’d moved all library programming and book sales from inside the Read House Building to our Main Branch.

Evaluation of the structure

In 2018, the library contracted with a construction company and an architect to assess how to make the house more usable to the public for library programming.

The company and architect recommended several repairs, including:

  • The front porch needed to be taken down and replaced.
  • The foundation required masonry repair work.
  • Cracking plaster in the walls and ceiling needed to be repaired.
  • Old and potentially leaking siding and windows needed to be replaced.

The library hired a specialist who confirmed that lead paint was present and asbestos was in the walls. Any potential structural repair inside the Read House building would require costly asbestos and lead paint abatement.

CT Consultants estimated the potential repairs would cost at least $117,000; Greater Cleveland Consultants estimated at least $134,500. Neither estimate includes contingencies, including asbestos or lead-paint abatement. We estimate the cost of repairs and needed contingencies and abatement at around $200,000 in 2018.

Before demolition, the value of the home was $49,270 according to the Lake County Auditor’s Office.

The library investigated possible funding sources – including reaching out to the state – to help pay for renovations, but none were found. Ultimately, it was deemed cost-prohibitive to renovate the building.

This left the library with two more options: sell the building or demolish it.

Without other options, the Board voted to contract with ProSupply Inc. for abatement and demolition of the Read House Building. The library will continue to use the surrounding property for outdoor programming.

05 3, 2019

Donations Drop-Off Box Moving at Mentor Library

By |2019-05-03T06:00:11-04:00May 3, 2019|

You can now drop off donations at our Main Branch.

You can now drop off donations at our Main Branch.

If you have books that you wish to share, you can drop them off at the many Little Free Libraries throughout the community.*

We’ve moved our donation box to beside our Main Branch. The box had previously been outside our Read House property, which is next door to the Main Branch.

The move brings the donations closer to where they are stored in the Main Branch. Also, it will be more convenient for those of you who also want to come into the library.

We’re grateful for the books, DVDs and music that you donate.

The books help fill our many Little Free Libraries and Pop-Up Library. Some of the items are also sold during our book sales, which helps raise money for programs, projects and story times.

07 30, 2018

Wordplay Writing Club gets wild

By |2018-07-30T06:00:38-04:00July 30, 2018|

Sabine and Claire relax in the Read House backyard and write in their nature journals.

Sabine and Claire relax in the Read House backyard and write in their nature journals.

Sometimes the best place for a writer to find inspiration is outdoors. That’s where our Wordplay Writing Club went earlier this summer.

They visited our Read House yard and wrote in nature journals like John James Audubon, William Thoreau, and Walt Whitman.

Each month, the writers in our Wordplay Club finds different ways to boost their creativity. For example, sometimes they use randomly selected words to create a story or create poems with refrigerator magnets.

Our club is open to all writers in third through sixth grade.

Wordplay Creative Writing Club meets at 4:30 p.m. on the second Wednesday of (nearly) every month at our Main Branch. We took a brief hiatus in July and will return Aug. 8.

You can register your child for Wordplay online by calling us at (440) 255-8811 ext. 221.

John and Julian jot beneath a shady tree.

John and Julian jot beneath a shady tree.

08 12, 2017

Celebrating a stupendous summer with a prehistoric guest

By |2017-08-12T06:00:45-04:00August 12, 2017|

Roxie the Dinosaur gives one of our Super Readers a hug during our Summer Reading Finale Party.

Roxie the Dinosaur gives one of our Super Readers a hug during our Summer Reading Finale Party.

We celebrated the conclusion of our biggest Summer Reading program ever by inviting a dinosaur to the Read House yard.

About 300 kids and adults came to our Summer Reading Finale Party and met, touched, and learned about Roxie the Dinosaur—a not-quite living and breathing Tyrannosaurus from Imaginos Productions.

This summer, you helped us celebrated all the ways people can build a better future. You built forts and box villages and breathtaking Domino runs. You stretched your mind and body with Fairy Yoga and globe-hopped from the comfort of our Read House backyard.

More children than ever before—1,506, to be exact—signed up for oursummer reading program. And they read or were read to for 21,038 hours. (Also, a record high for us.)

Additionally, nearly 700 teens and adults signed up for summer reading, and they read more than 3,400 books.

While summer reading may be finished, there are always more programs and events coming at the library.

10 5, 2016

Former Read House resident returns as library volunteer

By |2016-10-05T06:00:03-04:00October 5, 2016|

Doug Reed helps shelve books in the house where he used to live. The Read House is now owned by Mentor Public Library.

Doug Reed helps shelve books in the house where he used to live. The Read House is now owned by Mentor Public Library.

William “Doug” Reed walked through the rooms of the house where he lived for 55 years.

On Sundays, he would play records here—big band music—before going to Mentor Methodist Church across the street, he reminisced.

Mentor Public Library purchased the house in 2009 and renamed it the Read House, keeping the homonym to honor the Reed family.

The library, whose Main Branch is next door, uses the Read House backyard for outdoor programs—everything from campfire story times to summer reading parties.

On Monday, Oct. 3, Reed surveyed the rooms where bookshelves had replaced the familiar trappings of home.

What do you think of the changes, someone asked him.

“Not too bad,” Reed said.

He then saw a book about American presidents that interested him and began thumbing through the pages.

Sharon Link, another volunteer from Deepwood's Willoughby Branch, helps shelve the books  in MPL's Read House.

Sharon Link, another volunteer from Deepwood’s Willoughby Branch, helps shelve the books in MPL’s Read House.

Reed, now 72, returned to the Read House as part of a volunteer group from Lake County Board of Developmental Disabilities/Deepwood’s Willoughby Branch.

The Deepwood clients helped shelve books that are given away from MPL’s Pop-Up and Little Free Libraries and sold during the Friends of the Mentor Public Library’s book sales. The money raised from those sales supports library programming and special events.

Judy Tsiros, a community integration professional at Deepwood’s Willoughby Branch, helped organize the volunteering with Mentor Public Library.

“The value for volunteering is almost immeasurable,” Tsiros said. “It really connects people to the community, and it expands their self-worth.”

By serendipity, Reed was one of the volunteers. He’s an enthusiastic reader with a particular interest in presidential history and baseball. He’d often pause to read a cover while shelving.

When finished, he asked if he could keep a couple of books. The library allowed it. After all, he’d been gracious enough to help the library and to share his house.

Martin Andersen likes one of the books he finds while volunteering in the Read House.

Martin Andersen likes one of the books he finds while volunteering in the Read House.

For more information about volunteer opportunities at Mentor Public Library, visit our Volunteer page.

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