April 19, 2018

Carolyn Neal | Movers & Shakers 2007

Irresistible Force


Carolyn Neal has a reputation for being a hard person to say ‘no’ to. She also has a gift for collaboration and a way of instilling fun into her programs, says Visiting Nurse Association director Sheila Niles. Those qualities make her a perfect leader for major interagency projects.

As Cleveland Public Library’s (CPL) representative, Neal coordinated and planned Cleveland’s White House Conference on Aging event in 2005, bringing together local politicians, social workers, librarians, community leaders, and seniors. She now heads SeniorsConnect.org, a joint enterprise of the United Way, Cleveland Foundation, and CPL to provide online resources for seniors and caregivers. (Her work on the site was honored in 2004 with an American Library Association Diversity Fair Best of Show award.)

SeniorsConnect.org helps seniors access information and ‘connect to the tools and services that can enrich [their] lives,’ says Neal. It includes computer training, library services, local history, oral histories and essays by Cleveland seniors, discussion forums, live chats, and free email accounts. Neal’s devotion to demonstrating the web site has made it an increasingly valuable resource for caregivers, the medical community, and social service agencies. In the process, she also has increased community members’ awareness of the many ways Cleveland-area libraries can assist them.

Neal says SeniorsConnect.org has been the biggest challenge of her career, because ‘there was no dress rehearsal and virtually no guidance on how to make the project work.’ Yet she made it all come together.




CURRENT POSITION Librarian, Project Coordinator, Cleveland Public Library

DEGREES MSLS, Clark Atlanta University, 1999

WEB SITE SeniorsConnect.org

FORMER LIFE Was a U.S. Customs Service Inspector