Upper Arlington News

Move forces Shy to leave Upper Arlington's library board

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Becoming an empty-nester recently led an Upper Arlington Public Library trustee to relocate and step down from his post, but his admiration for the community and library he served endures.

In January 2010, Upper Arlington Mayor Frank Ciotola appointed Mark Shy to a four-year term on the UAPL's board of trustees.

The appointment was made, in part, because Ciotola believed the construction expertise Shy could bring to the table as chief executive officer of Renovators Inc. in the Grandview area would serve the board well as it planned projects to upgrade library facilities.

But Ciotola also saw in Shy a person who loved books and libraries, and who sought an active role in improving his community.

"He was a very energetic person," Ciotola said. "He was very passionate. He was very passionate about the library and a successful small businessperson.

"With the library in need of some renovations and updates, I thought his skill set would be valuable for the board. He's just a great person with a very good skill set for the library."

Last November, the library board accepted Shy's resignation a year before his term was due to expire. The last of his three children had left for college and Shy and his wife decided to downsize from their Upper Arlington home to a condominium in the Hilliard area.

UAPL board rules prevent persons who live outside Upper Arlington from serving.

Shy called the decision to move "otherwise delightful," but noted it was bittersweet because it forced him to step down from his role with the library.

"I was certainly honored and still feel honored for the opportunity," Shy said. "It was really fun.

"We -- and I still say 'we' -- have a really good staff at the Upper Arlington Library. Everybody is well educated in the library sciences."

Former UAPL Director Ann Moore assigned Shy to the library board's operations committee so he could put his building knowledge to work on projects to improve facilities.

That work included renovations to the downstairs youth area of the UAPL's Lane Road Branch in 2011, when Shy not only helped plan the upgrades but also gave an in-kind gift to paint the youth area, doors and trim, which library officials said was valued at $3,800.

"Mark's expertise in construction was valuable to the library board and administration as we investigated, planned and completed facility upgrades," current UAPL Director Chris Taylor said. "Over the last couple years, we were doing a lot of long-range planning and he was very helpful to the board over those years.

"He also was very helpful to me as a new library director," Taylor added. "He was supportive and I'm grateful for that."

Shy said he donated supplies and services to the library because such activities are in line with his business' corporate vision of helping communities it works in and assisting those in need.

He also simply loves books and libraries, which is why he accepted the board post in the first place.

The infatuation budded after the Grove City-area native attended Defiance College and served as a student librarian at the school's Pilgrim Library, which sets near the confluence of the Auglaize and Maumee rivers.

"I still love going to the library by Fort Defiance," Shy said. "It's just a quiet place for me to go and reflect.

"I've also always been a bookish person, and I've always had a love of American history. So, I've just always had a love for libraries."

Before moving, Shy donated around 100 books from his personal collection to libraries in Grandview and Upper Arlington.

In recalling his past three years on the UAPL board, he named nearly every UAPL employee and board member in lauding the local library for its programs and resources. He said he also enjoyed planning a laundry list of improvement projects, which he said patrons likely will see in coming years.

"If they asked me to come in and be part of a subcommittee, I'd be happy to do it," he said. "You put a lot of smart people in a room and you have problems to solve.

"The reason you do it is you live and work in the community. It's where we make our living and I love the place where we make our living."

At its Dec. 18 meeting, the board approved a resolution recognizing Shy for his "outstanding and lasting contribution to the Upper Arlington Public Library and to the greater Upper Arlington community."

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