Sunday, January 8, 2017

Andrew Venable, Jr. (1944-2016): First African American Director of the Cleveland Public Library

Andrew Venable, Jr., a native of Staunton, Virginia, was the first African American director of the Cleveland Public Library in Cleveland, Ohio. He was born on November 11, 1944 to Andrew and Catherine Venable. Andrew Venable, Jr. was a graduate of Booker T. Washington High School (now Booker T. Washington Community Center) in Staunton, Virginia; a graduate of Virginia State University (formerly Virginia State College) in Petersburg, Virginia; and a graduate of the Case Western Reserve University School of Library Science (Note: In 1981 the library school's name was changed to the Matthew A. Baxter School of Information and Library Science; the library science program was in operation from 1903 until 1986).

Mr. Venable began his library career at the Cleveland Public Library in Cleveland, Ohio in 1970. He remained there for 13 years. In 1983, Mr. Venable left the Cleveland Public Library to become the director of the East Cleveland Public Library. He served there for five years. After leaving the East Cleveland Public Library, Mr. Venable served as the director of the Gary Public Library in Gary, Indiana from 1988 until 1992. After his tenure at the Gary Public Library, Mr. Venable became library director at the Ivy Tech Community College-Northwest Region (the college is also known as Ivy Tech). He served there from 1992 until 1993.

In 1993, Mr. Venable left Indiana and headed east to Washington, D.C. where he held the position of Deputy Director at the D.C. Public Library. Four years later, Mr. Venable returned to the place where he began his library career -- The Cleveland Public Library. He served as deputy director (1997-1999) and then director (1999-2008). He retired in 2008.

Andrew Venable, Jr. passed away on May 5, 2016 in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Highlights of Andrew Venable Jr.'s Career:

First African American director of the Cleveland Public Library

Named Librarian of the Year by the Ohio Library Council in 2001

Instrumental in the creation of the Greater Access Library Card

Awarded the Key to the City of Cleveland in 2008

Credited with describing public libraries as "The Peoples' University"

Awarded an honorary doctorate from Cleveland State University in 2007

A member of the fraternity Alpha Phi Alpha

Sources: Oder, Norman. "Q & A with Cleveland's Andrew Venable." Library Journal. 15 May 2008. Web. 10 Dec. 2010. ; "Andrew Venable Appointed Director of CPL." PR PR Newswire, 9 June 1999. Web. 20 Dec. 2010. ; Henson, Jane E. E. Libraries--Link to Learning. Final Report on the Indiana Governor's Conference on Libraries and Information Services (2nd, Indianapolis, Indiana, November 16-18, 1990). Indianapolis: State of Indiana, 1990. Print. ; Hanson, Debbie. "Andrew Venable: Leading the Peoples' University.", N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Dec. 2010. ; "Reading Recruiter Gary Library Chief Hustles to Bring in Customers." Post-Tribune (Ind.) 18 Feb. 1990. Highbeam Research. Web. 10 Dec. 2010. ; "City of Gary Says Farewell as Old Friend Tries Something New." Post-Tribune (Ind.) 6 Oct. 1993. Highbeam Research. Web. 2 Feb. 2011. ; "Venable Named Director of Cleveland Public Library." American Libraries. American Library Association, 14 June 1999. Web. 8 Jan. 2017. "Andrew Venable (1944-2016), Cleveland Library Director." Cleveland Public Library Archives. 9 May 2016. Web. 8 Jan. 2017. ; Kuehner, John C. "Andrew A. Venable Jr. Cleveland Public Library Leader Who Coined the Term 'The Peoples University': Black History Month." The Plain Dealer (Cleveland, Ohio) 13 Feb. 2013. Web. 8 Jan. 2017. ; "Cleveland Public Library." Encyclopedia of Cleveland History. Case Western Reserve University. 23 Sept. 2004. Web. 8 Jan. 2017. ; Marco, Guy A. "Cleveland Public Library." The American Public Library Handbook. Santa Barbara, CA: Libraries Unlimited, 2012. 94. Print. ; "The Schools of CRWU." University Archives. Case Western Reserve University. 2009. Web. 8 Jan. 2017. ; "Mr. Andrew Venable, Jr. (Obituary)." E.F. Boyd & Son Funeral Home and Crematory. 2016. Web. 8 Jan. 2017. ; "Cleveland Public Library to Open Circulating eBook Collection." Independent Publisher (Online). Jenkins Publishing Group, n.d. Web. 8 Jan. 2017. ; Rogers, Michael, and Norman Oder. "Venable Named Cleveland Director." Library Journal 124.12 (Jul. 1999): 18. Print. ; Gray, Lisa. "Balancing the Books: Budget Cuts Strike Deep at the D.C. Public Library." Washington City Paper (Washington, D.C.) 17 Feb . 1995. Web. 8 Jan. 2017. ; "Carnegie's Commemorative Grants to Urban Public Libraries." Carnegie Corporation of New York, 10 June 1999. Web. 8 Jan. 2017. ; Albanese, Andrew Richard. "Culture Keepers: ALA's Black Caucus Continues to Make a Critical Difference in Library Services." Library Journal. 15 Sept. 2002. Web. 8 Jan. 2017.

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