Filed Under Education

Noble Library

"If you've ever tried to find a cookbook at the Noble library and couldn't, I think we know why," said a Cleveland Heights police spokesman following the 1984 arrest of an unemployed insurance salesman. They nabbed the man, who spent at least eight hours a day at the Noble Library, who generally stole two books, two magazines, and two pamphlets each time. Following a tip, the cops found almost 4,000 library books stashed all over the man's house. When asked why he had not simply checked out the books, the man replied: "I never got a library card."

Unlike the book thief, thousands of patrons have used their library cards at the Noble branch of the Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library for nearly a century. The first libraries in the Cleveland Heights-University Heights system were installed in or very near school property. The first branch on Noble Road was housed in a small portable building erected in 1923 on the grounds of Noble Elementary School. After just two years, this first building was replaced with a larger portable building specifically designed for library use. It opened on May 9, 1925.

In 1937, the Cleveland Heights-University Heights system built its third permanent building at 2800 Noble Road, just across the street from the old location. The new Noble library building was designed in the Georgian style by noted Cleveland architects Frank Walker and Harry Weeks and cost about $57,000 to construct. The building was expanded in 1963 and renovated in 1994 and 2011.

Over the years the library has hosted reading programs, costume parties, magic shows, children's craft workshops, senior programs, musical performances, and a host of other community events. It continues to be a vital anchor in the Noble neighborhood.

Audio

"It Enfolded You" Barbara Wherley remembers the feel of the library with its old wood when she was a child. Source: Cleveland Regional Oral History Collection

Images

Parade Banner, 1985 Noble Library supporters proudly carried this banner in the Cleveland Heights Memorial Day Parade. Image courtesy of Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library
Noble Library, 1925 The second portable building for the Noble Library was designed specifically for library use. Image courtesy of Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library
Noble Library, 1966 The current library building was built in the Georgian style in 1937 and expanded in the 1960s. Image courtesy of Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library
Castle Model, 1963 These unidentified librarians pose with an elaborate castle model in Noble Library. Do you know the story behind the model? Image courtesy of Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library
Book Sale Poster, 1967 Book sales are popular fundraising events at libraries, and Noble Library is no exception. Image courtesy of Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library
Ventriloquist, 1973 The camera distracts children at Noble Library from Mark Merickel's ventriloquist act. Image courtesy of Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library
Craft Project, 1977 These children appear to be making animal crafts at Noble Library. Image courtesy of Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library
Jane Bossu with Children, 1983 Jane Bossu reads with a group of kids during a summer reading program held at Noble Library. Image courtesy of Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library
Black History Month Quilt, 1985 This quilt was part of a display of quilts with African American cultural themes at Noble Library during Black History Month. By 1985, Cleveland Heights had become a model of racial integration, with African Americans making up roughly one quarter of its population. Image courtesy of Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library
Children's Room, 1994 The Children's Room is shown here following the library's 1994 renovation. Image courtesy of Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library

Location

2800 Noble Rd, Cleveland Heights, OH 44121

Metadata

Mazie Adams, “Noble Library,” Cleveland Historical, accessed December 3, 2022, https://clevelandhistorical.org/items/show/497.