//The Library’s Best Friends

The Library’s Best Friends

Everyone needs friends and the Shaker Heights Public Library is no exception.

Friends of Shaker Library group photo

(Left to Right) Nancy Ryan O’Connor; Pow Joshi; Margaret and Evelyn Greene; Julie Mizener; and Dave Greene.

If you have attended an author visit, a poetry reading, a book discussion, a knitting lesson, or children’s story time, you know how important the Friends of the Shaker Library is to the Shaker Heights Library. Support from the Friends makes all of these programs possible.

Every year, the Friends asks the Library for a wish list and then sets out to find ways to fund those requests. Some innovative projects have included a Festival of Chocolate, a What’s It Worth Antiques Roadshow event, an afterhours Literary Libations cocktail party, and of course, the Friends’ biannual book sales. Nancy Ryan O’Connor, the Friends president and digital marketing manager at PNC Bank, has led the organization for the past two years and looks forward to an exciting 2017-2018.

“As a longtime resident and frequent Library user, I am proud to play a role in the stewardship of my Library,” she says. “I enjoy managing our group of hard-working volunteers, who make my job easy. Our work supports Library programs for everyone. These programs help to make our Shaker Library a vital community cultural institution.”

Dave and Evelyn Greene have been loyal Friends’ supporters for many years. Now retired from his job as a sales executive, Dave has served as logistics guru for the Friends Book Sale and as a bartender at benefits. Evelyn, market research director at Falls Communications, serves as treasurer, managing the Friends’ finances. She brings the added benefit of her marketing talents to the table. She has moved the organization forward by enabling the Friends to accept credit card purchases. It’s now easier than ever to join the Friends online. They have even enlisted the help of their daughter, Margaret, who brings the next generation’s energy to the Friends.

“Volunteering with the Friends has connected us to the community in many wonderful ways,” Evelyn says. “Whether it’s watching young parents find bargains for their children at book sales, or working to sell books at an author event, we are pleased to help raise funds for the Library we love.”

Pow Joshi has used her organizational skills to maintain the Friends’ membership database and to reach out to new members. Friends welcomes two types of members: contributing members who write an annual check to support the Library, and active members who serve on the board and volunteer for Friends’ projects.

“I’m a scientist by profession,” said Pow, “and we spend most of our time working in laboratories. Volunteering with the Friends gave me a sense of community in Shaker. I got to communicate with different people through letters, meet some in person during book sales, and I had fun making origami bookmark name tags for the book sale preview night. I also enjoyed helping with our annual fund-raiser, Literary Libations. I feel Friends work is important in sustaining our libraries, furthering education, and building a strong, safe, vibrant community around us.”

Sussex resident Julie Mizener took a brief hiatus to give birth to her son, Mickey, but she is back on board as Recording Secretary. It’s a family affair as her husband, Dan, has served as a bartender at many Literary Libations.

“Dan and I have gotten so much out of volunteering with the Friends,” she says. “The Library is a center of activity for us and we value how important it will be for Mickey, who is already making new friends at story times and will enjoy other exciting children’s programs that the Friends support.”

New in town? Join the Friends to meet people and get to know the community. Or volunteering at the Book Sale might be for you. Are you the enterprising type? Sign on to help market the Friends. Are you a party planner? Literary Libations could use your energy. Every member in our community is invited to join. Membership envelopes are available online and at the Library’s service desks.

Originally published in Shaker Life, Fall 2017.