Lavetta Louise Price is a woman on a mission—to start a business, to strengthen her community, and, most of all, to help others. Thanks to the resources available to her at Cleveland Public Library’s East 131st Street Branch, she’s able to accomplish all these goals and more.
“This is a place where you have access to the world,” Price says. “There’s a peace in the library, a spirit of help. Anything you want to do, the staff here will help you.” While Price has patronized East 131st Street Branch since she was a child, it was only in recent years that she turned to the Library as a source of support and inspiration. Following a separation from her husband, and as her children grew older and began leaving for college, Price found herself feeling lonely and isolated at home. She sought out a place where she could be productive and interact with others in her community—and her beloved local library turned out to be a perfect fit.
“I’ve been made to feel comfortable here,” Price says. “There’s a positive energy. Elsewhere, people are in a hurry or impatient, but you can take your time at the library. There’s no attitude, no negativity. It’s really helping me toward my success.”
As Price defines it, “success” means serving others, and she has a long history of philanthropic work to back it up. Price established her own nonprofit organization, Love and Care Ministries, under which she ran the Gifted Hands Summer Camp to offer children instruction in sign language. She also created Put It Down, a women’s self-esteem program based around poetry. Through Put It Down, Price helped women struggling with homelessness, substance abuse, legal issues, or family complications by encouraging them to express themselves through writing.
In addition to this nonprofit work, Price has also volunteered widely, including collecting thousands of pounds of clothing for Easter Seals, feeding the homeless, and more. Currently, Price is working to launch Sadie’s Den: A Sober Club, which she envisions as an open, welcoming environment to help her fellow community members achieve and maintain sobriety. In order to support Sadie’s Den and her other endeavors, Price recently launched her own business for commercial and residential cleaning, A1 Moving and Clean Out Services. East 131st Branch proved instrumental in assisting Price as she filed for her LLC and got the business up and running. Marina Marquez, East 131st Branch Manager, helped Price navigate this process.
“She’s innovative,” Marquez says of Price. “She’s utilizing the Library and learning to use all the programs we offer to start her own business. And she’s also helping other patrons who come in, primarily women going through recovery or women who can’t get jobs because they have a record. Her whole life is dedicated to helping others. She leads with her heart.”
Price credits the East 131st Street Branch—particularly the guidance she’s received from Marquez, Library Assistant Rosa Simone, and other staff members— with helping turn her vision into reality. By visiting her local library branch, she’s gained computer skills, located forms and documents she needed for her business, and made connections with other members of the community.
“The Library is where I got my start,” Price says. “This is where you make it happen—everything is here.”