On October 20, members of the FRIENDS of the Heights Libraries gathered for the 2013 Annual Meeting.  The Business Meeting featured acceptance of the Revised and Amended Code of Regulations and a report from the Nominating Committee.  New Board members voted in were Bruce Feher, Jan H. Jones, Lamar Richardson, Russell Rucky and Cynthia Seaman-Ross.  Officers for the coming year were introduced.  Louisa Oliver will continue as President, Nancy Corey will serve as Vice President, Terri Oldham will continue as Secretary and Margaret Poutasse as Treasurer.


The Board marked the endings of the terms of Joni London and Sharon Richardson.  Joni played a critical role in setting up the Harvey & FRIENDS Bookshop on the second floor of the Lee Rd. Library.  Bringing a valuable background as a bookshop manager, her expertise helped the FRIENDS get their new venture off to a good start.  She also instituted the local celebration of the African-American Read In, a national event sponsored by the National Council of Teachers of English.  The FRIENDS have enjoyed hosting this event for the last several years.  We appreciate that Joni has agreed to continue helping organize this annual event.

Sharon Richardson also completed her term and an additional year as Past President and Advisor.  President Louisa Oliver recognized her many years of service to the FRIENDS, both locally and at the state level, and presented her with a lifetime membership in appreciation.  The text of her recognition can be found below.

The Program section of the meeting featured a slide display presented by Laura Taxel, co-author of Cleveland’s West Side Market: 100 Years and Still Cooking.  The meeting concluded with a reception, sales of Laura Taxel’s books and a book signing.

Laura Taxel, co-author of Cleveland’s West Side Market: 100 Years and Still Cooking


Text of the recognition of Sharon Richardson at the Annual Meeting  October 20, 2013

“This is a special occasion as Sharon Richardson, who has been involved with the FRIENDS since 1980, is leaving the Board.  She was President of the Board last year, but her story goes much further back.

Four Presidents Of FRIENDS (Left to Right) Adaora Schmiedl (2009-11), Louisa Oliver (2013-14),
Sharon Richardson (1986 & 2012-13), Anne Cook (1978-80)

She served on the Board of the FRIENDS from 1980 until 1986.  In 1986 she served as President and her extensive contributions were recognized that year with the Helen Sunshine Award for outstanding volunteer service.

From there, she followed previous FRIENDS president Anne Cook to the state level, and participated on the Board of the Ohio Friends of the Library from 1986 until 1992.  She wrote the state newsletter for two years and was President of the state organization from 1990 to 1991.  Under her leadership, Heights FRIENDS were very active across the state, leading meetings and visiting libraries to share ideas on making money, recruiting members, improving public relations and marketing, and advocating politically for the library. Also during her tenure at the Ohio Friends, she worked to help create new Friends organizations, notably for the Cleveland State University Library.

In 1995, she was named to serve on the Ohio Library Foundation.  The OLF promotes the study and research of library services and the dissemination of knowledge for the education of library trustees, administrators, staff, and students.  She was Secretary of the OLF during her last 4 years on the Board.

When Nancy Levin became Director of the Heights Libraries, Sharon answered her call for volunteers to help revive the local FRIENDS group that had become dormant during the Main Library reconstruction.  Once again, she found herself on the Heights FRIENDS’ board in 2009.   She served two years as Secretary, and again served as President in 2011-12. She also served as Scholarship Chair for four years, and organized mega book sales.  This past year, as past president and advisor, she has provided much knowledge and guidance to the group of relatively new Board members who have been recruited to carry on.

Those are the facts.  What they all add up to are years of commitment to supporting libraries at home and across the state.  Her husband David says that their children were raised under the tables at book sales.  Many, many miles were put on the car over the years as Sharon traveled back and forth to Columbus. 

David also shared with me Sharon’s love of Jane Austen.  Her first exposure to Austen came on a trip to her local library when she was quite young.  Sharon grew up on a farm in the unincorporated town of Judice, in Lafayette Parish, Louisiana.  Someone sent her to the Library with a recommendation written down on a piece of paper.  At the Library, Sharon carefully asked the Librarian for a copy of Pride and Pre-Judice!  Apparently, that was the beginning of a life-long attachment to Austen’s work and an appreciation of libraries!

Sharon, there is no way to adequately thank you for all you have meant to the FRIENDS, both in the Heights and across the state of Ohio.  You have already received the Sunshine Award for outstanding volunteer service!  So I hope you will enjoy these gifts and accept our true thanks.”

Louisa Oliver, President

FRIENDS are glad to support an award winning library system.
Visit http://www.heightslibrary.org/ for mind opening programming and fun!

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