The Grandview Heights Public Library recently honored library board of trustees president Al Cincione with the unveiling of a portrait.

The Grandview Heights Public Library recently honored library board of trustees president Al Cincione with the unveiling of a portrait.

The portrait of Cincione was painted by former Grandview resident and library staff member Peggy Eagle.

The painting is temporarily on display by the elevator on the library's second floor. It will be moved later to its permanent location in the quiet reading room.

Cincione has served on the library board for 40 years and as the board's president since 1990.

"It's a very nice tribute and a great honor," he said. "I appreciate it very much."

It was particularly meaningful to have Eagle paint his portrait, Cincione said, because he and her husband were boyhood friends.

"I grew up in Grandview and I'm sure I must have spent a lot of time at the library as a kid," he said. "I know what an important role in this community the library plays. It's a pleasure to be able to serve on the board. I really enjoy it."

Cincione said he believes there are three pillars to a great community - good municipal government, a high-quality school district and an excellent library.

"In this community, we're blessed to have all three," he said.

It's not unusual for library board members to serve for many years, Cincione said.

"The appointment process is through the school board and there are no term limits," he said. "You can serve as long as you want. I think we all enjoy serving on the board. We have a good working relationship on the board."

When he was asked in 1971 if he would like to serve on the board, he was happy to say yes, Cincione said.

"It was a way to make a contribution to my community through the library," he said. "I was always impressed with our library" and that has not changed over the past four decades.

"We've been lucky to have wonderful library directors during my time on the board," Cincione said. "The stability on the board is a good thing. The library administration knows us and knows we are the voice of the community."

He has seen many changes at the library over the years, although the library's basic mission remains the same, he said.

Over the past four decades the library has gone from a card catalog to a computerized system and seen many changes and advancements in technology.

"We used to have record albums and VHS tapes, and now it's CDs and DVDs," Cincione said. "And the computer technology has continually advanced. We try to stay up to date and provide our patrons with what they need and want."

The library has had a number of building expansions and improvements during his tenure, he said.

Perhaps the most challenging issue facing the library has been the reduction in state funding, Cincione said.

Library executive director Mary Ludlum said it is reassuring to have someone with Cincione's knowledge and experience serving as board president.

"The words that come to mind when I think about Al is 'dedication to the community,'" Ludlum said. "To serve so many years on the board is to truly be dedicated to the community."

The library has been fortunate to have Cincione's leadership and stewardship during the many changes and challenges of the past four decades, she said.