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Group Fights to Save Historic Library

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SOUTH EUCLID, Ohio – It's a beloved piece of history, bridging generations of families in northeast Ohio.

But now, a group of residents is doing everything to fight to save the South Euclid-Lyndhurst Library.

"It's hard, you know," said Kathy Schaefer, of South Euclid. “Here today, gone tomorrow. It would be a huge loss. I haven't talked to many people who say, 'I want it gone.'"

The Cuyahoga County Public Library recently announced its plans to move the South Euclid-Lyndhurst Branch from Telling Mansion to a soon-to-be constructed location near Notre Dame College.

Schaefer is one of a few residents spearheading an online campaign to keep the library at its current location on Mayfield Road.

They created an online petition on change.org, demanding the library reconsider the move.  At the time of this report, it had more than 1,000 signatures.

"This is the worst possible thing for the community," said Jane Kowall of South Euclid. “It's an amazing place to visit, period, but especially as a library because it's an atmosphere of unlimited possibility."

The mansion was built as a home in 1928, and the library moved in by 1952.

Sari Feldman, executive director of Cuyahoga County Public Library, said the location has become outdated for the demands of the community.

“It no longer functions properly as a library at the Telling Mansion,” Feldman said. “It’s inefficient to operate the building as well. It costs 82 percent more to circulate material out of that building because of the building design and the number of public service stations.”

Feldman said the decision to move didn’t come easy, but the library will do its best to find a new owner and make sure it will maintain its place on the National Historic Registry.

The new location will include state-of-the-art technology and be more handicap-accessible. Feldman said the new site is expected to cost about $12 million, whereas renovating the Telling Mansion would cost about $5.6 million. She said over time, the library will save money on the newer property because of efficiency and potential growth.

If things go as planned, the new building could be up and running by 2014.

But for Schaefer, she hopes those plans do not go forward and more people will join the campaign to give Telling Mansion a second chance.

“There's so many people that don't like this idea," Schaefer said. "We just want this looked into so we don't make a big mistake. This is $12 million when we have a new library, when we have something that ain't going to blow away and not going to fall down.”

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