Lee Road Library Now Offering Café for Patrons
The main branch of the Cleveland Heights-University Heights Library has a new partnership with Phoenix Coffee
The Lee Road Library is now selling coffee and pastries from Phoenix Coffee Company.
It took about six years for the café concept to be realized, and it almost didn’t happen.
Sarah Wilson-Jones, owner of Phoenix Coffee, said that her company has wanted to set up a food area in the library since 2006. The library was also interested in Phoenix’s participation, but it wasn’t sure how to go about doing it. One of the earlier plans to add the company’s services to the library during its 2006 reconstruction never materialized.
“There was this idea of incorporating it into the renovations, which didn’t happen in that time line,” said Wilson-Jones.
But the company was persistent. And after years of keeping in touch with the library about the coffee catering concession stand, the local company received help from the FRIENDS of the Heights Libraries.
The FRIENDS offered Phoenix space to sell its goods in the new Harvey & FRIENDS Bookshop, located on the second floor of the Lee Road Library near the bridge entrance, which opened earlier this year.
But there wasn’t enough business to justify having a full-time staff person, said Wilson-Jones. And once again, the FRIENDS came to the rescue.
“The reason why it finally happened is because FRIENDS of the Heights stepped in and are now providing the volunteers (to handle food and coffee purchases),” said Wilson-Jones.
David Robbins, the lead volunteer, is currently putting together a campaign to encourage more people to volunteer in the bookshop.
“We can only do the café when we’re staffed” Robbins said. “And we try to be staffed for as many hours as the library is open.”
Heights Libraries Director Nancy Levin said that making coffee and baked goods available will be convenient for patrons and create a warmer atmosphere. She emphasized that this was made possible through the partnership between the FRIENDS and Phoenix.
Levin also said she is excited about the new bookstore.
Harvey & FRIENDS sells used books that have been donated either by the library or community members, said Joni London, who is a part of the volunteer staff. There is also a sitting area, three vending machines and a small children’s area.
“It makes for a great environment to be in," Levin said. "There are great open windows, there’s a nice area to sit in, and it attracts people to that corner of the library."